I've been to plenty of album launches over the years but an album preview is a new one. In this case the album release date is early October and there isn't even a facility yet to pre-order. However, as a concept it works well, the advance publicity generated gets people talking before the physical album is available and you get a chance to both hear the performer and then explore their music.
Rebecca Riedtmann is one of that growing number of singers who are classed as Americana, which is becoming a crowded field, but she stands out due to the range of work which includes some delicate lyrics. There's plenty of soulful blues on display as well. The title of the album reflects people who are exploring the world around them without a definite destination, but are clear that they want to do things their way.
With several singles being released or planned from the album already we can get a good indication of what's on offer. "Closer" will be the second single and explores that situation we've all been in when you have to decide how much to open up to people and that sometimes mean bringing people in without knowing if they'll be friend or enemy. Already out "Eyes On Me" is a sultry blues number with rather dark undertones but there are also the upbeat numbers like "Whiskey & Wine" which has a more traditional country love song feel to it. This mix of tempos and emotions, and the exchange of band members, gave the set a dynamism which kept it flowing. Rebecca presented the songs well and found a new fan base amongst those members of the good audience who'd not seen her before. As is so important in music at this level she engaged and gave plenty of credit to the excellent band (Tom Moth, David Rothon, Shemeck Fraczek, Tim Doble, Keiron Marshall, Ed Jordan and Hannah White) she had around her. As a début album it's full of promise and should be the start of something good.
Mention has to be made of the two excellent support acts on the night. Peter Donegan (http://www.peterdonegan.com/) has both the advantage and disadvantage of being the son of Lonnie Donegan, a hard act to follow. Peter has steered a intelligent course. As he showed he's a very good songwriter and singer himself who again can mix up the tempos from punchy Americana to slower numbers but he also covers some of Lonnie's songs and does that very well too. He's a class act and one worth catching if you get the chance.
My Girl The River (http://www.supertinyrecords.com/) are an Americana duo with lead singer and guitarist Kris Wilkinson Hughes actually hailing from Louisiana whilst bassist husband Joe is English. On the night they were accompanied by their daughter on backing vocals and ukulele. The family feeling extends to the music, too, with homespun songs about the small town American south that are written form experience and the heart. It gives their music not only a sense of place but an integrity which added enormously to their performance.
Tony Birch words and picture
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