First on stage at this sold out show was Kezia Gill; with her strong vocals and witty lyrics she won the audience over playing her opening track ‘Country Song’, featured on her 2021 EP ( reviewed here). From the tender reminiscence of ‘Local Man’s Star’ to the partying ‘Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman’, Kezia was a shining opening act.
From the USA, Eric Paslay has an impressive CV of collaborations, hit songs and awards. Tonight his engaging performance of these carefully crafted tracks brought the listeners into his world of subtle disquiet and emotional celebration.
It has been a long delay before headliners The Shires arrived in Cambridge for this tour but tonight’s show made up for the wait. The duo were supported by a spot-on band for a set that alternated rockers (‘Lightning Strikes’), grand ballads (recent single ‘I See Stars’), and the emotional pull of very personal statements (not a dry eye in the house for ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’). Ben and Crissie are an instantly likeable pair, with the great strength that the two individual vocals can carry a song brilliantly but the combined harmonies of both voices are on another quite magical plane.
In a show of many highlights, by the time we reached the big finish of ‘A Thousand Hallelujahs’ the combined hands of the audience were definitely waving up to the heavens…
A new EP from Kezia Gill. a force to be reckoned with in UK country rock..
The Mess I Made. Bold, brilliant vocal from Kezia on this stately rocker framed by searing pedal steel from guest Sarah Jory. An epic track on every level.
All Of Me. Initially the calm after the fireworks of track 1, but soon expands into a glorious slow blues, again filled by the stormy voice and the barely contained restraint of the band.
Country Song. The narrative takes us on a journey ‘…straight into a country song…’. A knowing, fun take on lyrical genre themes, with an upbeat likeable optimism.
Live It Up. Mid-paced rocker with addictive chorus and a clear message ‘…don’t waste another second…live it up like we’ve only got tonight…’
Bad For Me. Probably my favourite on the collection; starting as a piano waltz it all gets a bit dark before the huge chorus delivers the emotional heft. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better a soaring guitar solo duels with Kezia’s rich vocals before the ending drifts away…
The Adventures Of A Travelling Mind. Recorded ‘as live’ this is a raw and dusty blues, the band keeping it tight and tense as the vocal steers the song through the reassuring chord structure, creating a big road movie soundscape…