St David’s Hall bringing Acoustic Delights
Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro
Once again we were the Third Level courtesy of Roots Unearthed; St David’s Hall, Cardiff bringing Acoustic Delights Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro a duo playing roots music with style. The roots are twisted and twirled as blues meets country and folk tales are re-told in new exciting arrangements.
The duo set the scene, opening with a haunting instrumental Sweet & Low with Martin Harley playing his signature Weissenbom, a traditional Hawaiian acoustic lap guitar and the deep melodic chords from Daniel Kimbro’s Double Bass whether by bow or plucked creating an atmosphere where the music dominated.
The evening was replete with tracks from Static in the Wires, released earlier this year and Live At Southern Ground. The slide work created a palate of tones reflecting the lyrics, sad and reflective as the lyrics unfurled with Martins vocals adding emotional layers into the mix. The acoustic guitars changed and the music flowed with Sweet & Low and This Little Bird full of imagery bringing the numbers alive via the double bass under the skilful guidance of Daniel Kimbro. There can be no argument tonight we are in the presence of two artists who have deep understanding of the essence and power of roots music. This is why blues is so infectious connecting with the listener with its musical pictures of doom and gloom we all have discovered at various times in our lives. Yes, the musicianship was superb, Daniel’s bass playing is divine he makes the large and cumbersome instrument talk from a whisper to a deep and mournful groan, combined with Martin’s dexterous manipulation of the six strings, making the acoustic sing in harmony with the lyrics. The added magic tonight was the warm interplay between Martin and Daniel, with wry observations of life on the road, and humorous anecdotes. One leading neatly into I Need A Fried introduced by Martin and a quick quip from Daniel.
The styles change a hint of country and swell of a dance and the country bluegrass of Dancing on the Rocks. Then One Horse Town reflecting leaving the city for a small town and wondering why you changed your environment. Interspersed between the Harley/Kimbro originals were two re-arranged classics made new. Goodnight Irene, origins unknown but via Leadbelly was desolately dark. The other classic with a whole new setting was the closing number Nobody’s Fault But Mine, a truly innovative and compelling listening of a blues classic. Before the last song we had a wide array of numbers including the beautiful Winter Coat with the harmonies between Daniel and Martin having a gentle resonating power. Daniel, then put down his Bass and picked up one of Martin’s acoustics and we had a lesson in the pronunciation of Appalachian as he shared the common experience of having villages submerged in water. Along with guitar Daniel took over the vocals for a number that described the drowning of the village a background to the community that was changed forever as was the landscape.
This was a night where the blues sparkled and the audience was spellbound by the performance of two troubadours one from Hertfordshire the other Tennessee who found a unifying force through roots music.
Once again Roots Unearthed in Cardiff provided an evening of entertaining music with St David’s Hall bringing Acoustic Delights Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro.