by Chris Familton
Fanny Lumsden is one of those personalities for whom the phrase ‘born entertainer’ was created. Boundless energy, a warm and endearingly funny stage persona and a stellar voice are what made her set so appealing. Her band of country/folk players played a critical role in presenting Lumsden’s songs making her the real deal and bound for bigger things. Achoo! Bless You are less country and more folk and though hindered by some early sound issues they too showed they can build a strong rapport with an audience. A Rilo Kiley cover showed they draw on both roots and indie influences and their use of additional musicians to gave their sound some necessary structure and depth.
Touring his new solo album of duets (Expecting Company), Henry Wagons roped in the rhythm section of his day band plus two members of The Nymphs as his duet partners. Striding onstage looking like a cross between Elvis and mid-70s Waylon Jennings he set about creating an entertaining set high on humour, drama and music of the highest quality. As a frontman Wagons is up there with the best, casting out vacant-eyed, slack jawed stares before flipping a coin and leaping around the stage like a kid playing air guitar on a tennis racket. The new songs were delivered with spit and swagger and when required, a sweet lonesome country feel. A Hangman’s Work Is Never Done saw Wagons stalking the bar drawing death screams from the audience while a surprise appearance by Robert Forster on I Still Can’t Find Her was an obvious treat for Wagons himself. Closing out the set with a cover of Islands in the Stream highlighted the line Wagons walks between pastiche and originality yet his balance was near perfect.
this review was first published in The Drum Media