Grace Fuisz - This evening's entertainment starts out with the basic solo singer songwriter on vocals and guitar. It is electric, however, so that is a slight twist and the added oomph in the sound is helpful as the playing is pretty much worked around basic chords, delivered quickly. Her voice is more the star with a decent range and tone. The songs are good and a couple stand out from the pack, so all in all, it is a pretty respectable set and a good way to start off the show.
Bailen - And now the full band portion of the evening begins with a family band from New York. We have a rhythm section manned by twins with their sister on acoustic guitar and vocals. They also add harmony and occasional lead vocals, which are quite amazing. Sure the family connection may help with years of experience, but they are quite a force when together. Somehow their parents let them down in sibling quantity, so they had to recruit an unrelated keyboardist who adds some subtlety to their music. And their music is not as quiet as I first thought it may be as they take their pop forms with a touch of Americana and really push it forward into a strong folk rock sound. This musical thrust pushes the vocals even higher and they prove they are up to the task as they really cut loose. But pull back they do, especially on a solo bass song and vocals (well they lied, there is a bit of harmonica, too). The crowd really got into the set more and more as it unfolded and I can see this band doing quite well with a wide variety of supporting artists. And with good stage patter, personality, and humor, they should continue to win a lot of support along the way.
AJ Smith - Also from New York comes singer songwriter AJ Smith with a band that has the same approach as the last band instrumentally with three voices, although the harmonies are more subtle here. Not a bad thing as Smith has a set of pipes that will rattle the framework. He also has a nice fingerstyle at work on his guitar, which he showed off solo for the first half of his opening cut before the band sped on to build the sound. The songs are attractive with a strong accessibility but enough to chew on if you want to delve into them. The crowd trends young and is quite appreciative and enthusiastic and I see nothing to fault there. Again with a positive personality, good songs, exceptional skills, this is the formula for a fine night out in the clubs.
Facebook Grab of the night: Richard Thompson posted this of his good pal, Pentangle's Danny Thompson getting an honorary doctorate from the University of the West of England. Danny's comment... 'well it took me 60 years but I saved thirty thousand tuition.'