A chocolate box mixture

We hadn’t been to the Grey Lady for a while, but three prompts sent us there last night. It proved to be well worth it, as we had an evening like a random box of chocolates, featuring experimentation, new sounds, new songs and a little gem. I would have wrapped them in orange, coffee, gold and purple.

In the orange wrapper, a variation on an old theme, were “Hearth & Moonlight”, this being Flash Hearth from The Orange Circus Band, with his partner Jessie, who have spent the last year living in Italy, where as well as working, they have been playing acoustic gigs. Last night Jessie sang and played banjo, while Flash sang and played guitar, and they were joined after a couple of songs by former members of The Orange Circus Band, until the stage got rather crowded with five of them!

Talking of crowded, lots of people were arriving for the coffee wrapper, the one that you hadn’t tried before but is quite nice. “The Alamo” were playing their last gig before going off to universities, and lots of friends and family had come to cheer them on their way. An acoustic three piece (Jack, Ben and Max) they had some very interesting lyrics, and Jack has an incredibly strong voice. They have promised to return to play again in their uni Christmas holidays.

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Our gold wrapper goes to David Mumford, accompanied by Henry Willard on double bass, here was the smooth caramel, but with some new songs. David had played them over the Local & Live weekend, but we’d missed him then, so it was good to hear a mix of old and new. Both David and Henry put so much emotion into their performances, it makes it hard to take a photo, and I was determined to get a photo during the first song and then sit down and enjoy the rest of the set.

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Now we approached the anticipated gem of a purple wrapper, “Little Rach” who, isn’t local… but had played several folk festivals and has been touring all year, with her début album ‘If You Go’ released in June 2014. Rach thought Tunbridge Wells could have been her furtherest south gig (or maybe Wimbourne) (I’ve looked on a map, and it seems to be Wimbourne), she comes from ‘somewhere between Liverpool and Manchester’ and had made the mistake of booking her accommodation for the night in … TONBRIDGE… (see last blog) (I sense a geography theme here after all the touring); she also chatted about her heroine Brandi Carlile, biscuits and the M6. So you can probably guess how diverse her lyrics are, sung in a clear, folky voice, reminisant of Joni Mitchell; there was a brilliant cover of ‘You’re the one that I want’ and an excellent finish with her song ‘made to love music’. Little Rach has also promised to come back at Christmas…. last night we had quite an intimate atmosphere, including a little acapella, busking style song in amongst the audience, although I can’t promise that if Little Rach returns.

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Whether or not they all play again at Christmas, we didn’t really know what to expect last night, despite three invites from the artists or their friends, and at the end it had been quite a delicious evening. So, again, worth a gamble, Grey Lady entry on a Paul Dunton and Guests night is still only £5.00, and hopefully you’ll get a lovely mixture as well…

A thanks to Glenn from The Antelopes for the heads up with Little Rach.

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