Saturday, 5 November 2016

Katy Rose Bennett Band - St.George's Hall, Bewdley. Friday 4th November 2016

It’s been a resurgent year for the music of Katy Rose Bennett. Her long awaited new album emerged in April and had a successful launch show at the Kitchen Garden Café in her hometown of Birmingham. To complete the year she re-united her band and headed into the rural confines of Worcestershire to play a headline gig in the emerging musical hotbed of Bewdley. Seriously though, the guys behind the Music in Hall monthly shows have done a grand job bringing a series of international and British artists to a town not particularly noted for its touring scene; all this under the Americana/country/folk banner promoting quality original music itching to get more deserved coverage.

In line with their usual schedule, a couple of support artists with a local connection played a pair of sets leading up to the 9:30 slot when the headliner appears. Unfortunately only one of these acts was seen, but it wasn’t too difficult to latch onto the positive vibes radiating from the three-piece combo Son of John. Not to be confused with the American band of a similar style Sons of Bill, this trio had strong Bewdley roots and have hit on a sultry evocative style of folk-Americana, tinted with an appealing dark undercurrent. Their set of original material certainly caught the ear with a guitar trinity of bass, electric twang and driving acoustic combining well to form an atmospheric sound. They have a new album titled AUTUMN’S HYMN out and it would interest music fans enthused by a deep vocal style amidst a swathe of emotive strings.

Like her recent opening slot for Austin Lucas and The Dreaming Spires, Katy launched her set with the upbeat Americana tilted number ‘Rusted Ring’. This has surfaced as the main song from the new album with potential radio credentials, although its focal point status opens the door to a strong selection of numbers representing the breadth of her song writing repertoire. Over the duration of the eighty minute Katy and the band member’s time on stage, all but one of the twelve tracks from SONGS OF THE RIVER REA was played and the record was given a whole new
perspective with its near entire exposure in a live format.

This evening the four piece band consisted of Katy (guitar, vocals), Sam Frankie Fox (backing vocals), Lydia Glanville (percussion) and Laura Mattison (violin). The band format was utilised well during the set with Katy reverting to duo and solo status for a couple of selective moments.

Throughout the show Katy shared many of the songs’ origins and held the non-musical parts with a warm assuredness. We even had the benefit of two brand new songs hot off the writing notebook with both ‘Box in the Attic’ and ‘Moon’ standing out in their own spheres. The first was almost a poetic piece based on family recollections lifted from three old photos, while the second was a more melodic offering in the style of old time country, jazz, blues.

On three occasions Katy stepped back in time to offer songs from her previous albums which were issued under her initial recording name KTB. The best of these on the night was ‘Bluebird’, the title track of an old release and beautifully sung with Sam. From the new record, ‘Soul in the Soil’ was the track to raise its profile the most from album listening especially with Katy filling in details of the subject content. ‘My Friend’ seems set as the rousing show closer, although it was joined enthusiastically in the audience participation category by ‘We’ll Keep Trying’. On top of these, initial favourites from the album including ‘Jack and Ivy’, ‘Counting Kettles’ and ‘Cold November Day’ continue to show Katy at her song writing best; a great exponent of kitchen sink contemporary folk.

Katy Rose Bennett rose to the challenge of this extended headline show in grand style and another impressive Bewdley turnout justified the smart decision to add her to the growing list of quality artists to play the venue in this context; incidentally one which contains her brothers, Joe and Robin from The Dreaming Spires. Katy’s prominent return to the local music scene, mainly in the guise of the new album, has been one of the successes of the year and fingers crossed for a similar upwards trajectory in forthcoming years. 

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