Review: The Mastersons, The Maze, by Peter Palmer
Virginia Bell, a lady once met on a Charleston street, might never achieve the same renown as the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, but her name drew a resonant song from Chris Masterson.
Chris is the taller half of a Brooklyn-based duo very much on the way up. They've sold all available copies of their first joint CD on the continental leg of their tour.
And touring is something they know plenty about. They visited Britain as members of alt-country ace Steve Earle's band before city promoters Cosmic American added them to a roster of notable solo acts.
Chris earned his spurs as a Houston blues guitarist. Partner Eleanor Whitmore played violin from an early age – while her peach of a voice must owe something to a mum who sings opera.
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Effective though The Mastersons sounded individually, those pieces that were always intended for the two together shone the brightest. Succinct lyrics, exuberant delivery and first-rate musicianship make them a force to reckon with.
Enterprising British songwriter Sadie Jemmett opened the evening, ranging from a theatre song via Camden market to the powerful ballad of The Blacksmith's Girl.