Well the festival has just finished. Eddi Reader comes to the end of her 90 minute set, looks at the clock and says ”I'm supposed to be off in 5 minutes, but I can't be bothered with all that going off and coming back on stuff ", she consults her set list and says " I've got 6 more numbers, if that's OK with you, no one got
a bus to catch, eh" and does an extra 30 minutes. A two hour set, without an interval in a very hot auditorium.
Brava, Eddi, Brava!!
She finishes with a comedy routine about her family parties with all the relatives singing which culminates in her singing Moon River. A great ending to the set and the lyrics give me the name of the next blog: ”Two drifters, off to see the world" (there's such a lot of world to see). It's funny though how a lot of acts in the modern folk circuit borrow very heavily from what might in the past have been labeled "lounge music"
One song that certainly wouldn't be hotel lounge material was San Jose sung by the duet Barlow Cree. About the 2010 Chilean mining disaster where 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days it is the single most haunting song I've heard in a very long time. I heard them do it last year but they've changed it and added some electronics to provide echoes to the chilling cries of "Hear Me". It is moving and disturbing.
One thing this festival does which is a bit different is it has a " Meet the artist " session. This is in an intimate, small, folk club style room where the artists get questions thrown at them and hopefully also add a few songs into the mix. Jez Lowe and his 3 Bad Pennies played an extra half set this way, of stuff the audience requested. Pretty impressive considering just how huge Jez's repertoire is. At least 2 of the songs, the newest member of the band, the bass player had never played before, so was winging it. In fact one request Jez said he couldn't play because of not having the instruments and 2 out of the 3 backup musicians didn't know it. He obviously spent part of the afternoon transposing it and readjusted his official set especially to include it, again my sort of musician.
Flossie Malaville had a different approach to the Meet session and spent most of the hour amusing us with her life story in a very charming French/Geordie accent. She's got a great voice though and I'm quite sad I missed most of her main set (we were just about to leave for it when 3 delegations wandered over and wanted tours of the van!).