Live photos and review by Chaz Brooks
Singer-songwriter Martin Longstaff from Sunderland of The Lake Poets laid his soul bare with a compelling, emotional and at times disturbing opening set.
With quiet determination Longstaff gave an intensely personal performance of his wistful songs including To The Lighthouse, Scratch and Black and Blue which was inspired by a little girl who showed Longstaff her bruises whilst in his job as a primary school teacher.
Your Face closed this remarkable set. Longstaff left the audience stunned and impressed.
The Rogers sisters took to the simply lit stage of their “favorite venue in the world” and began with Tennessee River Runs Low from their fine new album You Don’t Own Me Anymore.
The sisters had no band to accompany them, sharing one acoustic guitar. The duo delivered strong and perfect harmonies developed over many years, perfectly complimenting the splendid acoustics of this most magical of venues.
With hilarious quick-fire repartee the siblings could take up a career as a comedy double act. Laura delivers most of the lines, many self-deprecating, and Lydia the sharp and instantaneous put downs.
Mississippi was followed by Black And Blue, sounding like the Everly Brothers, fortunately not from the dark subject matter of Martin Longstaff’s earlier song of the same name, and a gorgeous cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Kathy’s Song.
Then a surreal song introduction from Laura who said “We’re two little redneck girls from Alabama who were asked to complete a song by Bob Dylan.”
In 1984 Dylan had begun a song called Dirty Lie but never finished it. Thirty years later when the sisters were recording their album Put Your Needle Down the producer said that Dylan, who was a fan of the girls’ music, had “sent over some demos for you and wants you to choose one of them to finish.” The resulting track was performed beautifully by the sisters and worthy of Dylan’s confidence in their ability.
A gorgeous slow version of the Everly’s Let It Be Me had wonderful harmonies. Bad Habit brought more amazing vocals and rapturous applause. Introducing Flee As A Bird Laura said “We grew up on gospel as well as bluegrass.”
The highlight of the set was a scintillating version of You Don’t Own Me Anymore. Delivered with passion and vitriol in equal measure, one thing is for sure, you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of these two.
The girls finished with an amazing a cappella version of Tonight You Belong To Me. Let’s hope they are back at their favourite venue again soon.
Purchase You Don’t Own Me Anymore by The Secret Sisters here