Review: Dan Donnelly and Ben Paley @ Lichfield Guildhall

Lichfield Arts bought something new and original to the stage when the musical duo of Dan Donnelly and Ben Paley made their debut at the Guildhall.

Dan Donnelly and Ben Paley

Dan Donnelly and Ben Paley

With a Catholic approach to their repertoire, the guitar and violin player tackled any number of genres, from fiddle-fronted Bluegrass and Appalachian tunes to gypsy jazz, and a number of choice cover versions.

As well as their instruments, and the distinct celtic vocals of Dan Donnelly, they also used live looping pedals to build up chords, bass and drum parts into a sonic assault on the ears.

The first set started with the lilting instrumental of Julianne Johnson and the protest song of Running, before the waltz rhythm of Break Even unveiled a song about the financial woes of being a live musician.

One More Night/One More Show looked at the prospects of travelling through America, with no clear road map, or exit strategy.

A couple of covers were also featured, with Paul Simon’s Cecillia and Paradise City by Guns ‘n’ Roses being played in respectful, but very different ways.

The second half was started with Dan Donnelly showing his talent as a song-writer, with the divorce song Emergency Brake and Shine being particularly well received, with the latter song morphing into Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain with the looping pedal being well and truly tested.

Inching Along was a slow paced violin instrumental, while the closing instrumental of Sandy Boys was a showcase for the fleet-fingered Ben Paley.