At a time when acoustic based music sessions seem to be in a state of flux, either moving locations or packing up altogether as pubs decide that music has no business currency anymore, it is pleasing to know that one of the longest established sessions is still going strong. The Lazy Sunday Afternoon Sessions at The Arts Centre Café not only seems to be weathering the storm well, it is also managing to retain an amazingly high standard of bookings as this, their second compilation will attest to.
The music ranges from the delicate and wonderfully understated pop roots piano of Alice Offley, whose Save Me is a gorgeous journey through the fragility of music and a heart felt lyric to the fuller and more sumptuous folk harmonies of Fieldfare’s Forget About Me.
Bands are well represented by auralcandy doing a neat line in mellow, late night bluesy balladry and soulful reflection, The Portraits, a string driven folk sound layered with choir like vocals and of course the session hosts, Mr Love and Justice with their trade mark mix of sharp acoustica and historical content.
Usually known for a more driven delivery, Bateleurs are represented by one of their more mellow moments, The Hurricane, a song that offers up old time Americana imagery and a tune that The Band would have loved to get their hands on.
The Solo acts found here prove that acoustic players don’t automatically have to sound like Ellie Goulding or Ed Sheeran. Minnie Birch for example uses imagery on Settled akin to the more fanciful end of Suzanne Vega and a lovelorn, melancholic delivery that is mesmerising. There is something elemental about Drew Bryant’s music both in form and message, a classic example being Singing Love at The Wind, Pete Taylor’s picked fret work and crystal clear vocal style is both elegant and eloquent and one of my favourite local artists, Nick Felix, provides the usual mix of world weariness and total positivity, as always a total joy to listen to.
As an advertisement for the standard and style of the monthly sessions, this is a brilliant calling card. So buy the album from http://homegroundrecords.com (and at £5 it is 50p per track – cheaper than most downloads!) and get along to one of their shows and experience it in all its glory.