Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts – Gig Review
Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts
Gateshead Town Hall (Apr 15th)
To say that my knowledge of current folk music is limited is an understatement. I really enjoy listening to Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts, otherwise any knowledge I have is locked in the days of Fairport Convention, Nic Jones and the like. I read somewhere that Jamie Roberts was Kathryn’s little brother and that this duo were making waves in the folk world (being nominated for a BBC 2 Folk Award) and had recently received rave reviews when supporting the current Fairports’ line up on a national tour. So this tempted me into going along to see what the fuss was about.
Katriona & Jamie were appearing with Scottish singer and guitar virtuoso Kris Drever at Gateshead Old Town Hall in a Jumping Hot Club double header. The auspices were not too great when I arrived, to be told that the council run hall had a week long computer break down, which meant zero ticket sales for that week!
When the couple took to the stage it was to warm welcoming applause from the fifty people who had managed to get tickets. Appearing a little nervous Katriona started by playing a mournful introduction on violin before being joined by Jamie, unusually playing his guitar resting on his knees in the style of the late Jeff Healy, who brought the song to life with some fluid picked notes and accompanying percussive effects from striking the guitar body, as he sang. The song from their recently released album UP FROM THE DEEP was All I’ve known a tale that mentions ..’Southern Comfort and Coconuts …’ all wrapped in a traditional folk melody which rolled along at a fair pace, as Katriona showed that she knows her way around a violin. Interspersing the set with humour and concentrating on material from their recent album the couple quickly settled into the show. They certainly have a big sound on stage and their confident and vibrant playing easily filled a large hall. Highlights were; Travelling In Time a haunting and affectionate song about the effects a stroke had on a relative, sung with some emotion and feeling by Katriona, Fleetwood Fair, a song in the style of ‘Tam Linn’ that has a witchy/spooky feel relating to a girl going to a Fair that may or may not exist, and The Letter which closed the set was a gripping story about a Swedish woman and censored letters during the Second World War (I think! – it was a great song anyway!).
Katriona and Jamie definitely add a contemporary edge to the folk world and are breathing new life into an old art. It was just a pity there were not more people in the hall to see them.