This was billed as The Wild Wild Inner West Revue featuring a lineup of local Americana flavoured acts curated by musician and producer Michael Carpenter. Not Good With Horses opened the night and showed a commanding presence on stage with their mostly slow and atmospheric country soul. They mixed up originals with covers of Townes Van Zandt and George Jones, all greatly enhanced by the sultry ache and gentle twang of singer Brielle Davis.
Amber Rae Slade and partner/producer/musician Matt Fell (The Mighty Big Noise) have been gathering steam in recent times and their live show showed the real energy and musicality the pair share. Slade switched between percussion, trumpet and guitar and even though she was battling winter bugs she nailed the songs with grit and grace over the strong rhythmic grooves the duo created.
The Bob Corbett Band were down from Newcastle and added a different slant to the evening with their country/folk bluegrass sound. A percussion-less quartet, they instead relied on a brisk energy in their songs though the highlights came when they slowed things down and allowed more of an emotional connectivity to shine through and quieten the chatty bar.
Michael Carpenter is raising funds to complete his recordings as a solo musician before he retires from from the stage to focus on production. It’s a shame as he showed what a consummate player, singer and bandleader he is. The humble appreciation of the audience was genuine and heartfelt and The Cuban Heels played with great spirit and a shared sense of on-stage fun. There’s a touch of Gram Parsons and 70s power pop in Carpenter’s voice which took his songs to an interesting place, removed from any hint of traditional cowboy impersonation. Their set rounded out a fine evening of music for a satiated and appreciative audience.