Concert Review – Jaywalkers/Claret

Review and photography by Ben Macnair

Two trios of talented musicians played to an appreciative audience when The Jaywalkers and Claret appeared at Lichfield Guildhall on Friday 28th April.

Local folk favourites Claret started the evening. Stalwarts of the local folk and roots scene, Sandra and Tim Robinson between them play guitar, mandolin, accordion, bodhran and flute, and also feature bassist, acoustic guitarist and percussionist Bryan Widdowson. Their lively on-stage banter and individual ways with older songs from the folk music canon gave a lively and distinctive jazz tinge to such well-worn favourites as Raggle Taggle Gypsies and set closer Mingulay Boat Song.

The Jaywalkers consist of singer, guitarist and mandolinist Mike Giverin, bassist Lucille Williams and violinist, guitarist, and singer Jay Bradberry. Their set consisted of their own bluesgrass influenced songs and instrumentals, as well as better known songs, performed in a new way, so we had songs made famous by such disparate performers as Soft Cell, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

The set started with the Johnny Cash song Big River, with its harmony vocals, and pin-sharp ensemble musicianship, and the delicate ballad Weave showed a more touching side to the ensembles sound. The rambunctious instrumental Tuney Mctuneface featured finger-twisting mandolin and violin parts, whilst Jack Go Sell The Fiddle was a showcase for the sweetly keening vocals of Jay Bradberry, and set closer, Tainted Love featured the solid bass of the hit version by Soft Cell, married to a bluegrass swing rhythm.

The second half of the concert started with Jay Bradberry’s two playful instrumentals Halominations and Camembert Despair, whilst another Johnny Cash song Delia’s Gone featured more of the trio’s harmony vocals. Bow-down was a fiddle led piece, whilst The Mountain Chicken was another showcase in instrumental virtuosity and ensemble playing. Hank William’s Your Cheating Heart and the bluegrass/blues desolation of Sleeping With One Eye Open showed the full pedigree of this talented trio of to its best advantage.

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