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Review: Lucy Ward/Chris Elliot Band @ Wade Street Church

Lichfield Arts started their fourth Roots and Folk Festival with an award-winning traditional singer and a popular band from the local circuit.

Chris Elliot, a local favourite on the Open Mic scene played a set of his own music, which featured Nick Dewhurst on trumpet.

Playing songs that danced on the edges of pop/folk/bluegrass and jazz, with a vocal style that at times showed the influence of John Martyn, Nick Drake and a number of more modern singers, his set included the bluegrass strum of The Better Man, which featured banjo and melodic trumpet, the dark and brooding Loud Noises at 4am, the war song Honour the Day, which was sensitively performed by the band, the bluesy Black and Chrome and the jazz inflected Don’t Laugh at Me.

This is a band that are well worth seeing, with musical talent and charisma to spare.

Radio 2 Folk award winner Lucy Ward started her set with an acapella reading of The Fairy Boy, before picking up her guitar for the self-penned Alice in the Bacon Box.

A folk reading of Pulp’s Common People had the audience joining in, while a new song I Cannot Say I Will Not Speak was the young singer’s protest song.

Maids When You Are Young allowed for some audience participation and was dating advice in song form, while F for Love was a song of lost love written from the singer’s perspective, and first set closer The Canny Lads offered more of the same.

The second set started with another acapella song in the form of the brooding Mr Fox which was a suitable topic for Halloween week.

Narrative story telling was the order for the rest of the concert, with A Stitch in Time being a revenge song, For the Dead Men an effective protest song, and Bricks and Love being about grief, and the revealing power that songs can have.

A ukulele powered Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian closed the set, while The King of Rome provided the encore.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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