A handful of harmonicas, an array of effects pedals, a button accordion and an acoustic guitar were all the critically acclaimed and award winning duo of Brendan Power and Tim Edey needed to fill the Guildhall as they opened Lichfield Arts’ Autumn 2012 season.
They started with a radical reworking of the well known Celtic piece The Rites of Man which segued into a number of upbeat jigs and reels. Employing a looping pedal to provide the droning backing, the duo investigated Chinese tonalities on The Jasmine Flower whilst the bluesy The Old Neptune was a tour-de-force for Brendan Power, his layered harmonica, beat boxing percussion and vocals all produced a sound akin to a full band.
They further investigated the blues on Bullfrog Blues, which allowed Tim Edey the chance to indulge in some deft acoustic playing, which was further showcased in the touching ballad Wind and Weather Permitting.
During the second half, they played more music from their collective bag of tricks, with the instrumental Farewell to Muswell Hill being a piece for Harmonica, and beat box, whilst also allowing for some good support from Edey, whose own composition Little Bird – which was written for his sometime employer Sharon Shannon – cast a spell over the small, but attentive audience.
A love song to the joys of Satellite Navigation was provided with Lady of the Road. The slow ballad Lake Ainslie was a master class in sensitive acoustic guitar playing, whilst Lament for the 21st Century was an atonal harmonica study, full of wailing, pensive notes, and no proper resolution.
A version of Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean A Thing helped to change the mood, whilst set closer Celtic Thunder showed that the accordion is an instrument of series intent when in the hands of a talented player/composer. The encores of Didgeri Blues paid homage to Brendan Power’s roots, whilst the reworked She Moved Through The Fair was a fine study in giving an old tune some new colours.