Thursday, 13 June 2013

Eve Selis - Robin 2 Bilston Wednesday 12th June 2013

Americana UK 2012
For a decade now, Eve Selis has had a regular touring presence in the UK. The appeal to leave the sunshine of San Diego behind can’t be in the British weather but the warmth of the reception the UK fans give her more than compensates for this, almost making it a home from home. The Robin 2 and Eve have been good to each other over the years and to reward the loyalty of the sizeable midweek turnout, this evening’s performance was as good has been witnessed over the years.

Without the advertised presence of a supporting act, there was the added bonus of a longer performance by Eve and her band with a pair of sets spanning over two hours. Having just flown in from a date in the North Atlantic outpost of the Faroe Isles, there was no rustiness on this opening night of the UK leg with Eve hitting her stride straight from the off with the excellent rendition of the Lori McKenna tune ‘Witness to your Life’. Although the band line up was one down from last year’s visit, the core guitar maestros Marc ‘Twang’ Intravaia and ‘Cactus’ Jim Soldi continue to excel including a majestic duel in the mid section of Johnny Cash’s ‘Passing Through’ which just preceded the interval. It would be discourteous at this point not mention the bass of Rick Nash providing the essential rhythm for the lead duo.

With a key life milestone approaching, there is absolutely no let up in the energetic charisma that defines an Eve Selis stage performance, although she admitted the recovery may take a touch longer. A review once described her voice as bruised from the excessive dose of early year’s rock, although a more accurate observation is its rounded maturity that rises to the challenge of powering the fabulous songs from her back catalogue. Most of the old favourites were belted out in a country rock/roadhouse blues style from the nostalgic ‘Russellville’ to the rousing ghost inspired ‘Ballad of Kate Morgan’ with the usual vocal contribution from drummer Larry Grano.

Maverick Festival 2012
There was still a bias towards material from her most accomplished album to date FAMILY TREE which is fine by me including the country hit that never was ‘Don’t You Feel Lonesome’ and the storming ‘Stop the Train’ which brought the second set to a scintillating close. While Eve and Marc have been the architects of an abundance of fine songs over the years, many containing memorable hooks, they don’t refrain from paying respect to some of the past’s great tunes. Two regular fixtures in their set have become ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘Hallelujah’, the latter crowning the finale with a spine tingling version climaxing to a crescendo – truly heavenly stuff.

Like all independent acts, the search for the next record is always a challenge and this evening saw the band preview a couple of songs from the EP they have recorded with fellow San Diego residents Berkley Hart. This duo provided the support  on last year’s tour and their recent collaboration with Eve and Marc led to two songs which made this evening’s set cut ‘Just Don’t’ and ‘Nothing But a Burning Light’. Both are available on the evolutionary Band Camp platform and sounded really good.

We really are spoilt by the annual early summer appearance of Eve Selis and long may this continue. She holds a special place in the hearts of her fans over here and has established a niche on the UK Americana circuit. If you haven’t been caught by the bug of the effervescent Eve yet, then seeking her out must be made a priority. 

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