Review: The Jaywalkers and Claret at the Lichfield Guildhall

Two trios of talented musicians played to an appreciative audience when The Jaywalkers and Claret appeared at Lichfield Guildhall.

Folk favourites Claret started the evening. Stalwarts of the local folk and roots scene, Sandra and Tim Robinson between them play guitar, mandolin, accordion, bodhran and flute, and also feature bassist, acoustic guitarist and percussionist Bryan Widdowson.

Their lively on-stage banter and individual ways with older songs from the folk music canon gave a lively and distinctive jazz tinge to such well-worn favourites as Raggle Taggle Gypsies and set closer Mingulay Boat Song.

The Jaywalkers consist of singer, guitarist and mandolinist Mike Giverin, bassist Lucille Williams and violinist, guitarist, and singer Jay Bradberry.

The Jaywalkers

The Jaywalkers

Their set consisted of their own bluesgrass-influenced songs and instrumentals as well as better known songs performed in a new way, so we had songs made famous by such disparate performers as Soft Cell, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

The set started with Big River, with its harmony vocals and pin-sharp ensemble musicianship, before the delicate ballad Weave showed a more touching side to their sound.

The rambunctious instrumental Tuney Mctuneface featured finger-twisting mandolin and violin parts, while Jack Go Sell The Fiddle was a showcase for the sweetly keening vocals of Jay Bradberry. Set closer Tainted Love featured the solid bass of the hit version by Soft Cell married to a bluegrass swing rhythm.

The second half of the concert started with Jay Bradberry’s two playful instrumentals Halominations and Camembert Despair, before another Johnny Cash song – Delia’s Gone – featured more of the trio’s harmony vocals.

Bow-down was a fiddle-led piece, while The Mountain Chicken was another showcase in instrumental virtuosity and ensemble playing.

Hank Williams’ Your Cheating Heart and the bluegrass/blues desolation of Sleeping With One Eye Open showed the full pedigree of this talented trio off to its best advantage.

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