Loamlands - From the fertile vallies of North Carolina comes this quintet of guitars, bass, and drums. The vocals are supplied from two women, the lead vocalist bringing a balanced Americana twist to an otherwise Fairport Convention styled folk-rock. I hear a tad of backing for a bit, but mostly it is ringing guitars over a nimble rhythm section that keeps it rocking, but not too hard. There is no Richard Thompson here, but this is a welcome sound from a band who has enough songs to create a fine opening set tonight.
Natalie Prass - This is the finish of nearly a year's worth of traveling and touring and Natalie Prass is a bit giddy about it all and having a great time interacting with the large crowd tonight. Oh yeah, she and her band play some fine music, too. She has a soft quiet voice, but has a great range of expression within and can push it just right to pull you in to her songs. The band starts off in the usual folk-rock manner, but works lounge into the style early on and then varies the template over the course of the set. Natalie Prass adds some rhythm guitar while other times focusing just on the vocals, almost as a quieter Louise Forestier. It was all bright and smart with the rock moves as well as the jazzier bits. Her cover of 'Sounds of Silence' from a forthcoming EP was released today, so it earned a spot in the set. The lounge rock of the band prompted a friend to ask me if this was a cover or some kind of merger. The vocals were clean and it is quite appropriate to play with the backing as Simon and Garfunkel had released it as vocals and acoustic guitar. After doing nothing, the label got a band in to add a light rock backing and it became a monster hit. So Natalie Prass brought a playfulness to this serious song in the same manner she did with her original numbers. The crowd dug it and it was a fine closing night for Ms. Prass.
Quote of the Night: from Natalie Prass (who would amend her quote if she had been at the Vashti Bunyan show here a few years back)... "Sorry guys, I have like the quietest voice ever--I should have been a mime."