Review: Gettin’ Down Home In Deepest Brum
Symphony Hall/ Birmingham
from Richard Lutz
Forget the plush seats, fancy setting and the internationally renowned acoustics (and the prices) of The Symphony Hall
This is back porch music at its best. Seventeen musicians explore the roots of Americana and Scots reels and show how they blend and mold together through folk, blues, rock and roll and sweet Appalachian music. It’s enchanting happy stuff.
And who’d have thought that this impeccable blend of music and voice would ever become a sell out feature? It may have to do with the success of the musicians- such as Ali Bain and dobro player Jerry Douglas- who developed and nurtured it on their long stint on late night tv bringing the best of US musicians to sit in with their Celtic counterparts in remote Highland manor houses. It always made for good tv.
So, you get a transatlantic supergroup. But thankfully one with the flexibility to let everyone do their thing. It does work.
Eric Bibb was a treat to the eye and aforesaid Ali Bain was per usual a great fiddler.
Scots folk singer Emily Smith – seven months pregnant- left fellow women singers Mary Chapin Carpenter and Aoife O’Donovan in the shade with her own songs and her end-show sing-along of Down At The Twist and Shout. She has a voice as pretty as the Dumfries hills she hails from.
Hats off to dobro/slide guitar master Douglas for more or less fronting it. And a nod too to tech director Chris Xavier Palmer for bringing plangent sound to the night.