Review: The Willows, The Malt Cross
Folk musicians remain a close-knit community. Stu Hanna, here only last weekend, returned by proxy, so to speak – as co-producer of the full-length debut album The Willows are featuring on a tour called Sowing The Seeds.
The quintet hail from Cambridge, and rootsy images loom large in their output. Worker's War amounts to a full-blown protest song.
Stylistically, central vocalist Jade Rhiannon's persona stretched from traditional folk lass to a first cousin of Florence and the Machine. Her elasticity was matched by her companions, all squeezing themselves into a crow's nest of a performing area.
Husband Cliff Ward, playing guitar and banjo, and his violinist sister Prue Ward flanked their lead singer to vibrant effect. Further tone colours were supplied by guitarist Ben Savage, his dobro nudging the band towards Nashville terrain. Percussionist Stephen MacLachlan made resourceful use of minimal space.
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The tour takes in established concert venues with paying audiences. But at the Malt Cross, entry was free – the down side being a buzz of conversation that overlaid the five's more subtle touches.
The Willows deserve another hearing in town. They would certainly not disgrace the Glee Club.