Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London – August 13th 2013

Last week I got a friend request on Facebook from someone in Nashville who I didn’t recognise, and as I’m fussy about who I accept as a friend on Facebook I didn’t accept straight away. I did the natural next thing, and Googled this person, only to find they work for a music management company who represent, amongst others, Kacey Musgraves. My immediate thought was that they must have read my review of her record store gig in April and maybe I will be involved in something for her upcoming tour in October? Might sound crazy but I was contacted by Lady Antebellum’s PR company to review their latest album after I reviewed their Own The Night World Tour Blu-ray.

With this in mind I accepted the request and within minutes had a message to say that as a fan of Kacey’s they had some news for me, and could I email them. At this stage in the proceedings I was on my laptop and saw there was an earlier message from said individual, but when you are not friends the private messages get logged in other, which the app version of Facebook doesn’t show you. Thank goodness I accepted that friend request, as it turned out the news was me, and a couple of friends, being invited to a secret gig in London taking place yesterday, August 13th. The secrecy was emphasised and we were not to talk about it or mention it on social media until after the gig. I of course adhered to that – why would I jeopardise the opportunity to see one of my favourite singers live, and in such an exclusive setting.

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

It wasn’t until 3.30pm on the day that I got an email telling me the venue, which turned out to be The Arts Club on Dover Street, spitting distance from The Ritz. Don’t worry, I’m theorising, I didn’t put it to the test. It was a press event put on by Decca Records to introduce Kacey to the music press here in the UK, and she wanted some of her fans present as well. Once inside, what was one of the more upmarket venues I’ve had the pleasure of watching a performer, I made a beeline for the table at the very front. It was actually the only table in front of the stage, but my reasons for choosing that were twofold: Selfsihly I wanted to be as close as possible, who wouldn’t? But performing in front of a room made largely of the press, I thought it would be nice for Kacey to see some fans, who knew her and her music. Okay, so it was mostly for the selfish reasons, but there was a dose of altruism too.

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Unlike the aforementioned record store gig, Kacey had her full band with her, which consisted of a drummer, 3 guitarists and a lap steel guitarist. We were welcome by the guy from Decca Records, who introduced Kacey Musgraves, who the New York Times earlier in the year called The Next Big Thing From Nashville. She looked slightly nervous, but you wouldn’t know that from her voice and guitar playing, which as always were audio perfection. It took less than one song for Kacey to kick off her high heels and carry on barefoot, and looked much more comfortable for it. The nerves soon disappeared, and who can blame for having them in the first place – she was playing to a room of UK journalists, and this particular area of London couldn’t be more different to Nashville.

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

I declined the chance to take a photo of the set list which was taped to the floor before the gig started, and as I try to recall what she played I’m thinking that may have been wise. The highlight for me was Follow Your Arrow, which is not only my favourite song on her album Same Trailer Different Park, but has also become one of my favourite songs full stop, much like her whole album. Kacey smiled when we sung the parts that the crowd generally do during that song, and when I say we I mean my little group as well as other fans in attendance. Kacey gave the story behind each song, with honest and often humble delivery.

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Kacey Musgraves Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Us fans lapped up her set, and the applause from the press certainly sounded more than just polite, and at times I had to remind myself that this wasn’t just a normal gig with everyone there as followers of her music. After songs like Silver Lining, Merry Go Round, Same Trailer Different Park and Step Off, the set was rounded off with a very energetic version of My House which saw the whole band having fun on the stage which was only just big enough to contain them all. Looks like I didn’t need that set list after all, though I may have missed one and in what order they were sung I can’t be sure.

I’d be very surprised if the invited journalists weren’t as enchanted by Kacey as I have been since I first heard her album at the beginning of the year. She combines a beautiful voice with songs about real life, that you don’t have to be from Nashville to relate to. I got to chat to Kacey after the gig, and she was as charming as always, especially when I gave her the picture my 5 year old son had drawn for her. He’d wanted to come to the gig after seeing her back in April, but being 13 years below the age limit a picture would have to do.

Me with Kacey Musgraves at  Her Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

Me with Kacey Musgraves at Her Secret Gig in London, August 13th 2013

It was fantastic to see Kacey and her band perform live, and I’m grateful to both Katie for inviting me, and Kacey for coming over and playing in the middle of her US tour. I feel slightly guilty in that I’ve seen Kacey play live twice now, and both times I’ve not had to pay. I have bought tickets to her October UK tour and will be seeing her at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. I also bought her album on both CD and Vinyl, and being vocal about her talent to people I meet, I think I’m on the positive side of the balance sheet.

On her album she’s great and live she’s great, if you hadn’t figured it out already I’m urging you to check out Kacey Musgraves. If you know her already then you’ll be nodding in agreement. I do agree with the New York Times, though we can leave out the Nashville part, she’s simply the next big thing.

Gig Review: Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo at David’s Music, Letchworth – July 25th 2013

There can be no doubt, David’s Music is my absolute favourite shop in the world. As a lover of vinyl, the vast selection they have enthralls me every time I visit. Add in music in other formats, a book shop joined to the music shop and a cafe at the back, and what we have is pretty much what I say I’d open in one of those what would you do if you won the lottery conversations.

They regularly have musicians performing at David’s Music, but this was the first I was able to attend, being annoyingly double booked for the appearance of the Duckworth Lewis Method 3 weeks ago. Emily Barker and her intriguingly named band, The Red Clay Halo, were the feature of my first after hours musical treat at this local Mecca of music I could quite happily call home. I will admit that I hadn’t heard of Emily before reading about her appearance on the shop’s Facebook page, but seeing her music described as heartfelt songwriting… bridging the gap between folk, country and Fleetwood Mac by The Times, I knew she’d be someone I’d want to see perform.

The gig was actually free entry, and it’s verging on rude to turn down any opportunity to see live music at no cost. I went with a friend and we managed to get a seat in the second to last row of about 7 rows of chairs laid out in the coffee shop area of the store. We weren’t sitting long before the 4 ladies took their place and after an introduction, kicked off with the first song of the evening, which just happened to also be the first song on their new album Dear River, called uncannily, Dear River.

From that very first song I knew the decision to attend had been a wise one, as Emily sung with her beautiful and hypnotic voice, accompanied by very talented band members. This was a true acoustic gig, as in no microphone what so ever – just their own natural voices, unaltered in any way. With each song Emily told us the story behind it, with the tale of her Grandfather during World War II being the one that stands out the most, and gave us the song Letters. Emily’s voice has a haunting quality that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and tugs at your heartstrings with each passing line.

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo at David's Music, Letchworth, July 25th 2013

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo at David’s Music, Letchworth, July 25th 2013

Due to where I was sat I couldn’t unfortunately see Gill Sandell on accordion and flute, though her presence was most certainly heard and appreciated. I could however, clearly see Jo Silverston on the cello and Anna Jenkins on violin and viola, and I’ve not previously had the opportunity to see these instruments played at such close quarters. I was mesmerised watching their fingers flying around with such dexterity and grace, as they alternated between using their bows and plucking the strings like a guitar, something I’ve never seen done on a violin. The wannabee guitarist in me was both jealous and inspired, and hopefully the latter leads to something. Speaking of guitar, as well as singing lead vocals Emily was also playing guitar, and when it called for it, harmonica too. An incredibly musical group of young ladies, to say the least.

They sang 6 or 7 songs, from both the latest album and from their previous albums too. The combination of sublime vocals, expert instrumentation and a bond between band members combines to offer something very special indeed. This was real music, constructed from the heart and played with passion and joy. It’s the kind of music that I can imagine playing whilst lying in a field on a sunny evening with my eyes closed and letting it drift over and consume me. Whether that will ever happen or not is another matter, but it sounds good in theory.

After they had delighted the crowd, the 4 ladies signed records, CDs and posters and chatted to us because they wanted to, and not just because it’s the done thing. I treated myself to the deluxe version of Dear River which is packaged in lovely hard back book style and comes with a second CD of the album containing acoustic versions. This acoustic CD is brilliantly titled the The Dog House Sessions, which brings up all kinds of weird and wonderful images! I also bought their 3rd album, Almanac, on vinyl because I liked the songs played from that album during their set and I can’t go into David’s Music without buying a vinyl record of some description! I also got given a postcard with a code to download 2 bonus tracks. The postcard itself is number 83 of a set of 88 that Emily had made especially for this record store tour and feature photos taken by Emily herself.

Almanac Vinyl & Dear River CD by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

Almanac Vinyl & Dear River CD by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

Almanac Vinyl & Dear River CD by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

Almanac Vinyl & Dear River CD by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

I got to meet Emily, Jo, Gill and Anna after they had played and they happily signed both my purchases, while we chatted about the tour, and Twitter! I then had to queue up again as I’d forgotten to get a photo – as is the staple of any gig review on this blog, where opportunity presents itself.

With Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo (Emily, Jo, Me, Gill, Anna) at David's Music, Letchworth, July 25th 2013

With Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo (Emily, Jo, Me, Gill, Anna) at David’s Music, Letchworth, July 25th 2013

As I write this I am listening to Dear River and bit sounds wonderful, so it wasn’t just the thrill of seeing live music, it really as a great album made by a great bunch of very talented people who I shall hopefully see live again in the not too distant future. Emily & The Red Clay Halo will be touring all over the UK in October and November, and you can see those dates here along with the few remaining stops on their record store tour and a couple of festival appearances too. If you can, go along – you won’t be disappointed.

Website: emilybarker.com/
Emily on Facebook: facebook.com/EmilyBarkerHalo
Emily on Twitter: @emilybarkerhalo
The Red Clay halo on Twitter: @_TheRedClayHalo

Review: Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap

I’m an occasional wearer of caps unless it’s hot weather and I’m outside, then the slight thinning on top of one’s head requires me to cover up. I have a few caps already but when a friend introduced me to Lucky Seven custom cap builders I knew I was in the market for another. Lucky Seven custom make caps in a variety of styles and colours, with patches on that, for the most part, reference something from films that have a cult following, or a huge mainstream following in the case of a few. What makes them stand out is that the things they reference are not so obvious to the everyday person, but will be recognised immediately to the more discerning fan. Yes, you’re absolutely right, they are geeky references for geeks, and worn with pride.

I was torn between a Karate Kid patch and a Star Wars patch, but in the end went for the Mos Eisley Port Authority, Tatooine patch. This design was apparently made somewhat famous by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, though that had no bearing on my decision. If I’m honest then I wasn’t so keen on having crests on the rim, but Lucky Seven don’t make caps without crests, it’s one of the signature parts of their custom creations. I went for bright yellow crests to match the colour of the stars in the patch.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Design Process

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Design Process

Though I’ve known about Lucky Seven for a few months, at £30 plus £5 shipping they are at the expensive end for caps, at least for my cap budget anyway. This past weekend they ran a 30% off sale, which brought the price down to just £26, so I took the plunge and ordered my chosen combination on a chocolate brown cloth trucker cap.

I made my order just before midnight on Saturday night, so imagine my shock and delight when it was delivered today, the following Tuesday. Unless the exact combination of style, colour, patch and crests is popular and in stock in their warehouse, then they made it and sent it out in the shortest time they possibly could. That’s one hell of a positive first impression. The package itself came in packaging with Lucky Seven branded tape securing it.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Outer Packaging

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Outer Packaging

I was in two minds about this. On the one hand it’s a nice attention to detail and it certainly got me excited that my order had arrived, knowing instantly what it was. On the other hand was it also advertising to anyone who may see the package before it’s in my hands that there is an expensive cap inside? No, that’s over cynical and untrusting, I’m going with the first assessment.

Once inside the outer packaging the cap is packed inside a Lucky Seven branded box, which was rigid so as to prevent any damage to the cap.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Box

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Box

Inside the box the cap was wrapped in tissue paper – yet another measure to make sure the cap isn’t damaged en route.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Inner Packaging

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Inner Packaging

My first impression of the cap is that the colour is pretty damn close to what is represented on the website, which was a relief. I did also get a bit of giddy geek excitement at seeing the Star Wars referenced patch. Most people will probably not give it a second glance, but other Star Wars aficionados will appreciate the nod to the greatest film franchise in history. As for the crests, they seemed to fit the style of the cap and brought out the colour of stars even more than I had imagined they would.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap

The cap size is altered with the plastic fasteners you associate with trucker caps, hence the style name of the cap, naturally. Just to the side of that is the Lucky Seven text logo stitched into the cap, in a lighter brown than the cap so that it is visible but not blatantly so. I guess this not only advertises the brand but is a badge of honour for other Lucky Seven fans.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Back

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Back

There’s also a two sided tag displaying both the text and graphical logos for Lucky Seven, with washing instructions and website information inside the cap. It’s hand wash only as you might imagine – I know from the aforementioned friend that machine washing the cap can cause the crests to peel away. However that’s something that can then be fixed using fabric glue, apparently.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Tag

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap Tag

The colours and designs ticked the boxes, but how did it fit? Well, without needing to adjust it, the cap fit like a glove, or a cap as the case may be. I must have an average sized head for the cap fit at default size setting. It’s extremely comfortable and I love the way it looks, crests included.

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap

Star Wars Lucky Seven Cap

My overall impression of Lucky Seven is that they make excellent quality caps, with original and appealing patch designs, all bundled with unrivaled service. I know that I will without a doubt be ordering more caps with some more great patch designs. Now that I have my Lucky Seven cap in hand I don’t consider the usual price expensive – it’s a quality piece of apparel with a design that appeals strongly to me and is not available elsewhere. With 30% off it’s somewhat of a bargain, and it’s worth remembering that with any order of 2 or more caps you don’t pay any shipping.

I have a feeling that owning Lucky Seven caps could lead to me wearing caps more often than I did before.

Restaurant Review: Breakfast at Frankie & Benny’s

This past Sunday we did something we’ve been meaning to do for quite some time, have breakfast in Frankie & Benny’s. It’s a particular favourite of ours already, with their vast menu, great atmosphere with good music and really good customer service. It made sense then, after an early morning vinyl record hunt of the local car boot, to head over and try something from their £5 breakfast menu.

There was another reason for going to Frankie & Benny’s, and that’s my desire to try Eggs Benedict, a quest that has unsuccessfully been going on for a few years now. A combination of muffin, poached eggs, ham and Hollandiase sauce sounds amazing, and it’s something I have seen people order in films on quite a few occasions – adding to my desire to try it. Did I stop there? Of course not, thinking that for £5 I wouldn’t be getting a very big breakfast I ordered sides of both hash browns and mushrooms. Well why not, it’s not often we go our for breakfast.

Eggs Benedict in Frankie & Benny's

Eggs Benedict in Frankie & Benny’s

When my Eggs Benedict arrived, not only did it look delicious, but it became very clear that my side dishes were not necessary. Thankfully I was there with my wife and 5 year old son, so they got polished off no problem. As for the Eggs Benedict, it was every bit as scrumptious as it looked, and was worth the wait. The ham they used was so tender and tasty, and doused in egg yoke and Hollandiase sauce, well it was culinary heaven on earth. Pushing the boat out we finished off our morning of gluttony with pancakes and chocolate sauce, with ice cream. They were damn fine too, and had I known I’d be writing this review you’d be looking at a photo of our breakfast dessert right now.

As always, in the Stevenage branch of Frankie & Benny’s we were served with both efficiency and warmth, a staple of our many visits and part of the reason we keep going back. The breakfast was really yummy, and great value for money. I can heartily recommend Frankie & Benny’s to anyone who wakes up hungry and can’t be bothered to cook, and do try the Eggs Benedict – fantastic.

TV Review: House of Cards – Season 1 Episode 1

House of Cards was recommended to me a few months ago and it’s taken me until this past weekend to get the box set on Blu-ray, and then this evening to actually watch the pilot episode. The show never even registered on my radar until the aforementioned friend used it as one of the main reasons to advocate signing up to Netflix, on which it was broadcast rather than a television network, as is the more traditional method of transmission.

It only takes a matter of minutes before we are introduced to Kevin Spacey’s character Frank, and his dialogue with us, the audience. I wasn’t sure at first, could a show with such a serious tone break the fourth wall in a way we are more familiar recently with shows such as Mrs Brown’s Boys? The answer to that soon becomes very clear, and it’s a definite yes.

Spacey is superb in his role as the show’s main protagonist and would be Secretary of State, if not for a broken promise from the new President. He is supported by a fantastic cast, not least of all Robin Wright as his wife and Kate Mara as the young reporter Zoe Barnes. I love how ruthless and calculating Frank is, but at the same time how composed he is, most of the time. His mutually beneficial relationship with his wife reminds me of The Boss, the huge difference being that Frank and Claire actually do seem to love each other, passionately.

In this one episode we got a pretty good look at all the main characters, enough to get to grips with their personalities and what motivates them. This is something not even the mighty Sopranos could do in it’s pilot episode, so hats off to everyone on and off screen.

House of Cards

House of Cards

Not only do we delve into what makes the characters tick, but the plot roared along at such a pace that everyone has a storyline they are involved in and big things have happened already. This leaves me salivating at the prospect of the next episode, always an indication of a good quality show.

So we have great characters portrayed well and story arcs that enthrall. Couldn’t ask for more, but there is. It looks magnificent, especially on high definition Blu-ray, and is shot beautifully. The look is complimented to the same high level with music that fits the show like a glove.

House of Cards really does have it all, and more than anything I care about each and every character, and am excited at the prospect of seeing them develop. It’s just possible that I could have found a show to fill the West Wing shaped hole in my life. Praise doesn’t come any higher than that, not here. I mean, who wouldn’t love that final scenes of Frank eating ribs, outside in the freezing cold…for breakfast?

Photos: Bees With A FujiFilm X10

Back to the same bush I went bee snapping yesterday, but this time with my Fujifilm X10, but no tripod. It became clear pretty quickly that I need to familiarise myself with the camera more to get the best out of it, as I was flitting between modes to see which one gave the best result. I should maybe enable burst mode next time to get as many shots as possible to choose from. Those bees do tend to hop from flower to flower so it’s not always easy to get a good photo with one shot alone. Here are two of the better captures, with lots of room for improvement.

Bee Photo Taken With FujiFilm X10

Bee Photo Taken With FujiFilm X10

Bee Photo Taken With FujiFilm X10

Bee Photo Taken With FujiFilm X10

Photos: The Bees Are Back

We all have our favourite bushes, right? Mine is a thistle bush a short walk from where I work, and has over the past few years been the nectar grazing place of choice for bees. Imagine my anguish when I saw a few months ago that it had been cut down, and I mean right down, to the ground. Well thanks to a wet spring with intermittent spurts of sunshine, the bush is back to it’s former glory, and the bees are back too. So intent on gathering nectar are these bees, that I can get relatively close without them flying off, and that means half decent shots from my Panasonic Lumix TZ10. It does have me thinking I should have a go with my Fujifilm X10 and a tripod. Maybe next time.

Bee on a Thistle Flower

Bee on a Thistle Flower

Bee on a Thistle Flower

Bee on a Thistle Flower

Bee on a Thistle Flower

Bee on a Thistle Flower

Photos: Caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth?

When you get a call that the guy in the warehouse where you work has found two big hairy caterpillars two things come to mind: 1) You are known as that chap who likes taking photos of bugs, and 2) I’d better get down there and take some photos, which I did.

The first thing I noticed was how fast they were, one in particular was moving more rapidly than I ever thought possible of a caterpillar, let alone one covered with so many hairs and bristles in this hot weather. They were so fast that I had trouble getting decent shots of them as they motored around the undergrowth. It was only when one of them climbed onto a twig that I was able to get a half decent picture, and even then I’m not sure if I got the front or back.

Caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth

Caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth

I managed to get just one photo of the same caterpillar moving along the ground, but it’s far from a clear sharp shot.

Caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth

Caterpillar of Garden Tiger Moth

A few minutes on Google and I think I’ve identified these guys as caterpillars of the Garden Tiger Moth, and according to this article are sometimes called woolly bears, naturally.

Photos: A Bee and Black & White

I’m sorry to say that I gave up on my Photography Project 365. Most of my days are spent going to work and then returning home, and to be completely honest I was getting a bored of trying to find something new to photograph in those same limited locations. It all started to feel very forced and that’s not what photography is all about. So I’m back to taking photos as and when I feel like it, and on this occasion it was in the bushes of the work car park. A little ironic maybe.

The bee photo could be a lot sharper but he was moving around a lot and I was using my Panasonic TZ10 rather than my FujiFilm X10. The second photo had an overly crowded background, so I decided to make it black and white leaving only the flower in colour so as to make them it out more. I did the same for the third photo, though the background was less busy, just a little dull. The power of Photoshop.

Bee in the Bushes

Bee in the Bushes

Flower with Black & White Background

Flower with Black & White Background

Red Feature with Black & White Background

Red Feature with Black & White Background

Gig Review: Gretchen Peters & Ben Glover at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex – June 25th 2013

Last night I had the pleasure of going to see some live music at maybe the most amazing venue I’ve ever been to; The High Barn in Great Bardfield, Essex. The name is self explanatory and it is a barn, with a high roof, that provides the setting for the music gigs they put on. The building dates back over 800 years and was a sight for sore eyes when I finally arrived on a lovely summer’s evening after my sat nav took me on a 40 minute detour around some of the smallest lanes I’ve ever driven along.

The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. Photo Credit: The High Barn

The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. Photo Credit: The High Barn

I was there to see Gretchen Peters, but before she took the stage it was the turn of Ben Glover, an Irish singer who spends 7-8 months a year over in Nashville. What became very clear straight away is how much the music means to Ben, as he put his heart and soul into every second of his time performing for us. His songs tell stories, his voice exudes passion and he himself is immersed in his craft which he has honed to absolute perfection. From wistful ballads to energised belters, Ben Glover is someone I hadn’t heard of 24 hours ago, but is someone I will be keeping a close eye on and I came away from the gig with a copy of his 3rd album, Do We Burn The Boats?. Chatting to Ben after his set, he told me that quite a few of the songs he’d played were for his next album, and one I particularly liked had only been finished last week. From first hand experience, I can tell you that that next album is going to be absolutely brilliant and I can recommend Ben as a recording artist and most defnitely as a live act. Not only is he vocally brilliant but he’s a masterful guitar player too. Look out for his multi purchase CD bargains – they are live night specials ;)

Now was the turn of Gretchen Peters, someone who I had heard very little of, but was a favourite of my friend John, from whom the invite to the gig came from. She started off quite sedately, but by the third song I was hooked – that didn’t take long. A veteran of the music scene, Gretchen seemed not just at ease on stage, but as if there is nowhere she’d rather be. As a member of the paying audience there’s no greater compliment than having a performer give you everything, and for the second time that night, that’s exactly what we were getting.

Gretchen Peters, Barry Walsh & Christine Bougie at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. June 25th 2013

Gretchen Peters, Barry Walsh & Christine Bougie at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. June 25th 2013

Gretchen has one of those voices that captivates you, and several times during her set I found myself oblivious to everything around me, lost in those wonderful moments of musical bliss. As equally brilliant during poignant ballads as faster numbers, Gretchen’s set was a great collection of moments from her life and her career, accompanied by tales of what they meant to her. I particularly liked The Secret of Life, which she wrote and released back in 1997, and doesn’t sound even a tiny bit out of place being sung 16 years later.

Gretchen Peters, Ben Glover, Barry Walsh & Christine Bougie at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. June 25th 2013

Gretchen Peters, Ben Glover, Barry Walsh & Christine Bougie at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. June 25th 2013

An accomplished guitar player herself, Gretchen was joined on stage by her long time musical partner and husband of 2+ years Barry Walsh, who is a stupendous piano player who also can turn his hand to the accordian when needed, and the odd tune on the xylophone too. On electric guitar, drums and lap steel, was the ever so slightly mysterious Christine Bougie, who seems like one of those people who can pick up and play any instrument she chooses to. I was particularly taken by her lap steel wizardry, an instrument that she used to to make an unfathomable range of sounds. Barry and Christine showcased their musical prowess during the instrumental Paradiso, a song that could transport you to a world of serenity and relaxation.

Gretchen Peters & I at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. June 25th 2013

Gretchen Peters & I at The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Essex. June 25th 2013

Gretchen and band were joined on stage a couple of times by Ben Glover, and they all brought the evening to a close with a cover of The Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses, a song I am ashamed to say for many years I thought belonged to The Sundays. I met Gretchen after the gig and she was absolutely charming, warm and funny. I bought an incredible Woman On The Wheel Live CD/DVD of hers which is packaged in a beautiful hardback book full of photos, thoughts and lyrics – signed, it makes an amazing memento from the gig. The whole night, from the music, to the setting, was just spectacular. I now have some new artists (to me) whose music I will listen to and progress I will chart, and a venue in The High Barn that am keen to return to. One of my favourite nights of live music.

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