Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt may have sold more records when they got together for their TRIO project and The Highwaymen were certainly more advanced with their careers, but surely there cannot have been a purer collaboration of three independent artists than the one witnessed this evening at Biddulph Town Hall. Born from an impromptu performance at Telluride Bluegrass Festival last year, the combination of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins represents the cream of 2015 traditional revivalists, easily finding common ground to share their natural ability to sing, play and make beautiful music. Billed as the ‘I’m With Her Tour’, this celestial choir showed a glimpse of roots heaven in a 90 minute sonic shower free of any musical impurity.
In consecutive years all three have added an elegant sparkle to the Transatlantic Sessions roadshow, an effect magnified to sublime proportion when taking full possession of the centre stage. The slick manoeuvre between solo, duo and trio was blessed with magical harmonies and an innate knack of wonderfully blending the stunning vibes from fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. All three solo careers were celebrated alongside a preview of the future and a respectful nod to the past.
Sarah Jarosz is still riding the crest of a wave from her recent Grammy nominated album which formed the basis of her hugely successful UK tour last year. Her prodigious talent has produced many column inches buoyed by the banjo and mandolin prowess flavouring a wealth of beauteous songs. ‘Build Me Up From Bones’, ‘Runaway’ and ‘Fuell the Fire’ were amongst her offerings this evening, all served with classical undertones adding finesse to popular tunes.
Sara Watkins nonchalantly overcame brief technical difficulties to just unplug the fiddle and play it with a composed charm. Her increasing reputation as a prime fiddle player, both in solo projects and as a member of Nickel Creek, is well deserved and being positioned so close to such a breath taking demonstration was a joy to behold. Songs primarily sourced from Sara’s lead contribution included ‘You and Me’, ‘Be There’ and ‘Long Hot Summer Days’, all leading the way in popular attraction. Of course the essential instrumentals were filtered in periodically and Sara delivered her tune ‘The Ward Accord’ in fine style.