Brighton Fringe 2014
The Union Music Store present an Evening of Americana Music
The Union Music Store in Lewes, East Sussex, is the brain-child of Jamie and Stevie Freeman. As well as selling a range of music in the Americana, folk and blues style, they also put on one-off events both in-store and at other venues.
This well-attended event, hosted by Union at the Spiegeltent as part of the Brighton Fringe festival and expertly compered by Jamie Freeman, featured three bands – Lucas and King, the Self Help Group and Martha Tilston & the Scientists.
First up was local country – folk duo Lucas and King. They are signed to Union’s own label and have their first album release due later this year. They captivated the audience with their heartfelt ballads, featuring outstandingly accomplished vocals and slide guitar, and their songwriting was very finely crafted. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and the audience was visibly moved by the beauty of many of their songs – this is definitely an act to watch as they are still young and have a made a big impression already.
The second act was the Self Help Group, another local act and also on Union’s own label, featuring tracks from their 2013 debut album ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’. Opening with a number featuring two glockenspiels, the group proceeded to play an accomplished set with varying instrumentation including melodica and banjo. There were a few early- on intonation problems with the guitars, but from then on the sound was folky, mellow and wistful with incredibly rich vocal harmonies overlaying the intricate melodies. They finished off with a more upbeat number, which featured some fine and uplifting drumming.
The headline act was Martha Tilston and the Scientists. Formerly one half of the folk duo ‘Mouse’, Martha was the act that many of the audience members had been waiting for. Wearing a spider –themed dress, she launched into her number ‘Survival Guide for Widow Spiders’ and set about wowing the audience with a full set of both crowd pleasers and traditional folk numbers. With her classic folky/soulful vocals she captivated the crowd with tales of such diverse subjects as drowning fishermen to office life. Martha has an impressive discography with a true creative independence, and has been quoted as saying "I feel strongly about not getting stuck in any one scene; I try to weave my music through the world without becoming ingratiated to any one group.’’ This attitude certainly showed in this evening’s performance, which was both electrifying and delicate.
If you are a fan of Folk, Americana and Country, this gig testified to the fact that Union music are doing a good job of picking fine acts both established and upcoming.