Transatlantic Sessions – Sage Gateshead (Gateshead, UK – February 5, 2014)
This was my first time at Transatlantic Sessions. I’ve been tempted in the past but I thought it would be a little too traditional for me and I’ve always been impressed with the music and the different singers on the TV show. I have started getting more into traditional music recently so I thought it was time to give it a go.
Needless to say, the band are amazing. And it is they who are the true stars of the show. With between 1 and 17 people playing on-stage at any one time, including vocalists, with a fabulous array of instruments – double bass, drums, piano, accordion, guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, lap steel, fiddle, pipes, flute, tin whistle, tenor guitar, harmonium – it was music (and instrument) heaven.
The band played the perfect mix of traditional folk and Americana, with amazing performances from everyone. I loved a new air written by Phil Cunningham, a version of ‘Shady Grove’ led by Bruce Molsky, and a Jerry Douglas solo performance.
By their on-stage interaction, you got the impression that they all love playing together. This good humour and bonhomie was felt by the crowd too.
The vocalists were all excellent. Kris Drever and Sarah Jarosz, both of whom I’m familiar with having seeing them perform in Lau (Kris) and solo (Sarah) in the past, were brilliant – completely different ends of the traditional or Americana continuum. I thought Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott were excellent too and I will be checking out them out further. I’d seen Shawn Colvin before too and I liked her tunes.
But the find of the evening for me was Julie Fowlis. Her voice was incredible, irrespective of the language she sang in. There was an awesome Gaelic version of ‘Blackbird’ and a Gaelic “mouth music” song – probably the most traditional-sounding song of the evening – that I enjoyed too. Again, I will be checking out her albums soon.
I’ll definitely go again next year, and the year after, and after…