Live Acoustic Special Loughborough – Oxjam – 12 April 2016
a short review by Tiki Black
photos (the nice ones) and captions by Howard Coleman
2012 was the last time I went to Loughborough for a music night. The Live Acoustic Special has been around for a long time, organised by music aficionado Howard Coleman and this night was not going to be an exception in the long line of eclectic and enjoyable sounds he had been lining up for listeners. I was one of 4 acts, the three others being Folk songstress Louise Jordan, inspired guitar and harp-guitar performer Tommy Loose and accomplished Bluegrass/Americana musicians from band Carbon Creek.
Live Acoustic Special Loughborough – Howard Coleman
A live acoustic special Loughborough would not be what it is without the introductory input of the orchestrator or maybe rather maître d’oeuvre himself, Howard Coleman. The organiser introduced the sets by performing a few covers of ‘older’ songs as he jokingly specified, easing the musicians and the audience into the wonderfully prepared atmosphere.
Live Acoustic Special Loughborough – Louise Jordan
What happens when a dedicated, passionate and resolutely feminist History Teacher, also writes and performs music? Well, the fusion makes up for four fabulous Folk songs in a great pitch about women in history and a cover of a poem set to a traditional Irish melody, intercalated with contextual stories taking the audience back to times when some wonderful heroes made a great difference.
- Siul a ruin – the singer opened up in traditional Celtic style with this cover.
- Lovey Warne – the story of this somewhat heroically daring female smuggler was set in music by Jordan who got everyone to sing along.
- Those words
- Salley gardens – A poem by W B. Yeats set to an Irish tune
Live Acoustic Special Loughborough – Tommy Loose
Musician Tommy Loose starts with an instrumental showing off great guitar work. “My teacher wrote that song”, he tells the public, ” I’m glad he’s not here”. Well, I for one, thinks that if his teacher, Mike Dawes, if names should be named, is half as talented as the musical piece Boogie Shred suggests, there are reasons to believe that he would also recognise the talent of his pupil, this very music artist: he’d enjoyed his performance. Loose continues with his own song, Change You (from his second album), a lovely tune with lyrics too (the instrumental almost made me forget he had a voice) always adding some lovely guitar work. His voice is simple and soothing which nicely accompanies a quiet but eloquent set.
What if magpies were shiny? follows, an instrumental from his first album with some really nice finger work. Loose then renders Murder in the city, a much loved classic by the Avett Brothers. His interpretation is a lovely, lovely thing with that uncomplicated voice and smooth guitar rift. When he then puts his guitar down, he picks up an instrument that looks like two really. The musician calls it a harp guitar and with it, takes to a quiet imaginary world via a Disney medley! The parent’s touch shows right through and there is no doubt that with such a quiet and bbeeaauuttiful instrumental version of A brand new world and Beauty and the Beast which is sure to have taken any child to the enchanted world it suggests, the time it takes for a good night sleep. For the last song, Loose is back on the guitar and chooses to close with Iron Maiden’s “Wasted years”, completing his set with the rather introspective lyric.
Live Acoustic Special Loughborough – Tiki Black
My set followed a five minutes break. I will not review it (!) except to say how brilliant the audience have been, not just for my music but for every single performer. This audience truly made you feel the privilege that is being a musician and performing for them and for that I am extremely grateful. I played Listen, Out of the Black, an a cappella version of A Ghost of Me (I am not sure what got into me… 😉 ), Powder Masks and closed with Free Like Smoke.
Live Acoustic Special Loughborough – Carbon Creek
The final set belonged to the band Carbon Creek. Four great musicians playing Bluegrass but most importantly truly entertaining the audience both with musicianship and humour. While most music guests were on a tour, this group was finishing their tour. The band lead introduces them and also summarises what has happened thus far “ladies and gentlemen, you’ve had the soulfulness and tenderness of Tiki, the musicianship of Tommy, the voice and finger-picking of Louise, now you get us!”. Unlike what their words would have you believe, they are not just “strong in numbers” as the light and friendly ambiance they continue to set is contagious and the public is soon taken into a suite of toe-tapping songs. a number of songs were played (list below), my favourite (mostly because of its introduction) being Highway of pain, a song dedicated to all haemorrhoids sufferers. As the lead singer says “haemorrhoid sufferers are not to be sniffed at”. It doesn’t take me that much to laugh in such a great atmosphere. The band displayed such expert musicianship that every song
and performance felt second nature to every band member: practice does make perfect. A ‘solo’ banjo highlight there, a mandolin support there, some backing vocals from some to all of the other members were a few of the attention of the details that the musicians showed while seamlessly playing. They would have ended their set with a sad note with the a cover of the song “If it hadn’t been for love” (made popular by Adele) if it hadn’t been for the manner of an encore that was thrown at them: in their enjoyment, the public did not realise that it was already the end! So the obliging group decided to do a last more uplifting song, unplanned mind you, and didn’t disappoint. A nice little banjo highlight.
Carbon Creek are:
- Guitar and Lead Vocals – Dave Streeting
- Banjo – Gordon Orr
- Double bass – Pete Tomlyn
- Mandolin – Luan Le Ngoc
- Nine Pound Hammer
- Speed of the Sound
- East Virginia Blues
- Highway of pain – the hemorrhoids song 😉
- If it hadn’t been for love
- Can’t you hear me calling (first encore)
- Wonder where you are tonight (second encore)