“It’s a long time since we’ve been in England, it’s good to be back” says James Wilson, frontman for Americana group Sons of Bill. “Everyone’s been so friendly, except that nasty woman in the Toby Carvery” he adds dryly.
The band’s London headline show was at Omeara, perhaps the best mid-sized venue in London, wholly appropriate for the group’s sumptuous sound and rich harmonies.
Touring Europe to promote their latest album, the very fine Oh God Ma’am, the three Wilson brothers, James on lead vocals and acoustic/electric guitar, Abe on keyboards and Sam on electric guitar, were supported by bass and drums.
Kicking off with three numbers from the latest album, Good Mourning, Firebird ’85 and Green To Blue, the band was warmly welcomed back by the audience of new fans and old.
Sons of Bill produce an immersive Americana wall of sound, some tracks seeming anthemic. The excellent Brand New Paradigm saw Sam Wilson showing his guitar prowess with a tremendous solo. For a couple of numbers the Wilson trio dispensed with bass and drums, including for Fishing Song about which James Wilson said “when I wrote this song in my twenties it was about suicide and now I’m in my thirties it’s just a song about fishing.”
Perhaps the standout song of the night was Road to Canaan with Sam Wilson swapping his Fender electric for a gorgeous Fender acoustic and taking lead vocals.
With a theme common to US artists, James Wilson told the audience “You’re wonderful, that’s why the English make such good rock and roll, you actually listen to it.”
The group finished the main set with the beautiful Santa Ana Winds. The encore was an acoustic cover of the Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years with a rousing Virginia Calling closing the show.
Words and Live Photos by Chaz Brooks