Josh Harty @Green Note 06/04/16
Come on London, you can do better than this. The lovely team at Green Note put on an eclectic bill of excellent Americana diaspora for a measly seven oncers and the room isn’t even half full; even I can do the maths on that one. Eighty people; that’s all it takes to fill the upstairs room at Green Note; sort yourself out London. To be fair, the audience was attentive, but it’s nice to have a full house. End of rant.
London-based Robert Chaney opened the show with a lovely set of introspective, off beat and melancholy songs. He has a superb voice which was offset perfectly by the harmonies of Laura Tenschert, who joined Robert three songs into the set. There wasn’t a bad song in the set, and “The Cyclist”, “Corazones Amarillos” and “(Broken) Beyond Repair” stood out as highlights.
Next up, string band Tildon Krautz injected some fun into the evening. With a traditional Appalachian line-up of double bass, mandolin and fiddle and guitar and banjo, the trio treated Green Note to some superb musicianship and lots of random gags between songs. “Adele Koslovsky” was a standout song and Gabi’s slap double bass playing was a joy to hear.
Josh Harty was touring in support of his new album “Holding On”, although the early part of the set focused mainly on older material, including “Round and Round”, “On my Mind” and the beautiful “Whisky and Morphine” and was laced with anecdotes about his hometown of Fargo and his preacher father. When the new material was introduced towards the end of the set, Josh’s picking and percussive guitar style added a power that the album, with its full band arrangements never quite achieved; “Holding On”, “The Kind” and “English Rain” all worked superbly in the one voice/one guitar format. And Josh did his tribute to Merle Haggard, whose death was announced that day, with his version of “Mama Tried”.
In just a few hours we were taken from surreal melancholy through manic multinational ensemble playing to a set of high octane acoustic songs. You couldn’t fault this line-up on quality or variety; shame about all those people who stayed at home and missed it. The great music’s still there, you just have to get off your butt and go out and find it.