Alt-Country / Country / Gig Reviews / Photos / Soul

REVIEW & PHOTOS: Dan Waters & The Wildflowers, Emma Swift, Bell St Delays @ Petersham Bowling Club

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Dan Waters @ The Wildflowers – photo by Chris Familton

Last night the wonderful Mother Hen Touring presented a great triple bill at the Petersham Bowling Club in Sydney’s inner west.

Bell St Delays are the wife and husband duo of Tracy McNeil and Luke Sinclair (Raised By Eagles) and they played a beautiful set that gently dipped into country and folk styles while staying fully focused on delivering symbiotic harmonies and wonderfully heartfelt lyrics about family, friends and life’s experiences. So far there is only this live clip of them online with a promise of an album being planned.

Bell St Delays - photo by Chris Familton

Bell St Delays – photo by Chris Familton

Emma Swift legged it up from a gig at the Seymour Centre just in time to set-up and play her always great selection of songs that never fail to slow the heart rate and draw in the audience with her country ache of a voice. She played a mix of originals such as ‘Woodland St’ and ‘Bittersweet’ from her 2014 release plus some covers including a devastating take on Ryan Adams’ ‘Come Pick Me Up’. Good friend and Portland, Oregon native Shelley Short was invited to the stage during Swift’s set to give us a brief introduction to her music and a Roger Miller cover before the pair left us with a duet.

Emma Swift & Shelley Stone - photo by Chris Familton

Emma Swift & Shelley Stone – photo by Chris Familton

Dan Waters has been backed on this tour by local duo The Wildflowers (bass & drums) and they augmented Waters’ traditional outlaw country sound with subtle and highly effective backing. Nothing distracted one’s attention away from Waters astute observations on people and states of mind, delivered in a style that had hints of Kinky Freidman and Merle Haggard. He imbues his songs with a beautifully dark streak of humour that at it’s root is bitingly true yet his songwriting ability presents it in such a manner that it never tips over into parody or comedy at the expense of the music or his clever lyrical rhyming and cadence. He rounded up all the performers for a couple of songs that were a perfect summation of a great evening built on the communal celebration of song.

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