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The Hanging Stars – live review ****

The Hanging Stars are the latest signing to Loose Music, and they certainly live up to the big reputation the label has for signing quality acts.

Channelling the sounds of The Byrds, Big Star and The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Hanging Stars mainline the dying embers of the early 70s psychedelic folk and cosmic country scenes. The band is songwriter, singer and guitarist Richard OlsonSam Ferman on bass, Paulie Cobra on drums, Patrick Ralla on banjo, guitar and keyboards, and Joe Harvey-Whyte on pedal steel.

The band’s tour to support their album A New Kind Of Sky was scuppered in 2020 for obvious reasons and so they have set out on a short run of dates to rectify the situation. Having recently played the Red Rooster festival the next stop was the music room of the Star in Guildford.

“I actually can’t tell you how happy we are to be here today. Thanks for coming out to see us” said frontman Olson.

The charismatic and flamboyant Olsen is a superb frontman for the group. Bedecked in denim on denim he strutted around the stage, playing a guitar often held up high. The rest of the band are accomplished musicians, and the result is a fabulously tight, flowing sound.

The hypnotic opener Ava set the tone for the show. Dreamy yet with an edge. Crippled Shining Blues from the band’s debut 2016 album and (I’ve seen) The Summer in Her Eyes took you to the West Coast and dreamy summer days.

Standout tracks included Heavy Blue, For You My Blue Eyed Son, I’m No Good Without You and Black Light Night from the forthcoming album.

The bouncy, catchy I Will Please You sounded like a classic hot of a bygone era andwent like two express trains. The rollicking Mother of Earth brought a fabulous show to a close.

With a new album in the can for 2022 release this band is one to catch if you can.

Words and Live photo: Chaz Brooks

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