Lost Highway Records continue to showcase the best new and established acts spanning folk, alt. country and rock n roll. William Crighton and his band the Circus Men had opening honours and filled the room with their soulful and ragged country rock. There was a nod to one of the genre’s icons with their cover of Neil Young’s ‘Powderfinger’ amid an impressive selection of Crighton’s own songs. The opener ‘Woman Like You’ was a particular highlight with Crighton blending strong melody with his brooding intensity. They felt like a band hitting their straps, playing with momentum and passion.
Back from a stint touring the USA and, as she announced to the audience, making a long term move to Canada later in the year Caitlin Harnett graced the stage with guitarist sidekick Casey Atkins. He provided perfectly tempered solos and six-string textures, complimenting Harnett’s songs taken from her album of last year plus a couple of brand new ones. Sad songs can descend into dirge if not handled with a degree of colour and drama and Harnett has the great skill to raise soaring choruses out of tear-soaked verses as she strummed guitar, plucked her banjo and blew that harp. A great line in banter turned those tears into ones of laughter as she talked pizza, ripped stockings and digital pen-pals but it was the music that shone the brightest.
Green Mohair Suits filled the closing spot and though the crowd had thinned they played a strong set. Now a six-piece they seemed to be having a ball having not played in a while and a blooding new drummer on the night. As players they all hold their own and more with lap steel and bass solos drawing applause but their ensemble playing was spot on, whether it was the quiet, lilting songs or the brisk and brittle bluegrass workouts. These aren’t indie kids playing mountain music, they’re the real deal, the icing on the cake of another session of wonderful Americana music.