The long low rays of spring sunshine lanced their way through open curtains, illuminating dust sprites as they danced and dallied on the ebbs and flows of the evening breeze. Every string had been tuned, thrummed and its waveforms gracefully finessed by science in preparation for the hoe-down. The patrons, regular and irregular, had chosen their pews with care lest cruel Apollo scorch their features and damn their eyes. Drapes were adjusted, tipples gained and the days cares lost as the time of merriment drew nigh.
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? Why, none other than erstwhile Letham Nights favourites and top chums, The Coaltown Daisies! Back where they belong after a long absence brought about by gypsy curses and terrifying diary clashes, it was like Vivienne and Linzy had never been away. Except now they have more songs. They like to mix it up a bit too. Vivienne opens up with her own ‘The Brave One’, with Lynzy backing up with box-hitting and backing vocals. Later Lynzy gets her turn with her beautiful tribute to her mate, ‘Little Jane’.
The dynamics continue in their vocal interplay with both of them capable of low soulful notes or soaring operatics, with the other plugging the gaps in between like songful silicon sealant. A cracking Mary Chapin Carpenter cover gets toes tapping, ‘The Whisky Song’ rounds things off boozily and the #bantz, is bang on. We love you, Daisies!
The Coal Porters are self-described as alt-bluegrass but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the authentic chops and bona fides. Oh, yes indeedy, Sid Griffin and his band of merry pranksters can forward roll, backward roll, strum, flatpick, pluck and fiddle with the finest of their non-alt counterparts. With four part harmonies and forty eight strings stretched across eight instruments you’d better believe these guys keep themselves busy.
As the personnel rotate like a Swiss timepiece at the stroke of the hour, such instant classics as ‘Salad Days’ and ‘Dancing on The Courthouse Lawn’ trip from their apparatus and plant smiles on the faithful below. A cover of Average White Band classic ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ keeps the purists happy whilst their dirgy cover of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ carries a much heavier slice of poignancy than the last time we heard it (damn you, 2016!).
Come the second set and the tunes keep a coming, the toes keep tapping and dancing ensues. Songs about prison breaks and sitting in jail-houses sit perfectly alongside covers by Adele and The Only Ones and the whole shebang comes shuddering to a gleeful conclusion with the band on the dancefloor giving an acoustic rendition of ‘Teenage Kicks’. What a season, what a night, what a band.
Check out The Coal Porters here
Check out The Coaltown Daisies here