Written by Ian Aspinall, photos courtesy of Colin Jones.
A show in conjunction with Talentbanq at the Camden Chapel in the London Irish Centre; a venue I’ve not been to before but I had seen that some shows had guests sat on the floor. Imagine my relief when I saw actual seats. I believe Colin, Country Lowdown’s photographer extraordinaire, also breathed a sigh of relief at this sight. Followers of Country Lowdown will be aware I recently reviewed Lucy’s most recent single I Won’t and I’ve been looking forward to seeing her live with accompaniment since her appearance at Tennessee Fields festival in July.
Opening the show was Tom Wright who has performed with Lucy a few times now. Tom is an excellent guitarist and artist in his own right and has released a few songs over the last few years.
He started off with an old school rock and roll styled song Same Old Story that was an excellent way to start the show. It is available online and was wonderful to hear live. I Hate Missing You followed, a melodic ballad evolving to some energetic guitar and was an excellent follow up.
A tuneful vocal song called Two More Bottles of Wine in a similar rock and roll style to the opener was next and showed more of Tom’s guitar skills. Tom admitted to having some issues with his voice, so when he attempted to sing Mr Telecaster, a song he released a couple of years ago, he admitted it might be ambitious. It’s an upbeat funky tune about being a rockstar and is a good listen. His penultimate song was Drown – a tune he put as a demo on social media. Inspired by a bad breakup at the beginning of lockdown and meeting his current girlfriend. It has powerful lyrics and is well worthy of becoming a fully mixed and released song.
Tom explained he is a big fan of Australian guitar player Tom Emanuel and this last track; a cover of Merle Travis’ 9 Pound Hammer is his attempt to emulate him. This was an example of Tom’s excellent guitar playing with some really good riffs with him using both the body and the neck of the guitar. Check Tom out on all the regular music providing services.
After a brief break we were treated to Lucy’s headline slot. She was accompanied by Tom Goble on guitar, Tom Wright on double bass and the ever-present Jack McGinn on guitar and banjo. I am lucky enough to have seen Lucy live on a number of occasions, on her own, just with one guitarist as accompanying musician, or her full band set at Tennessee fields. I am therefore very familiar with her music, and she is an excellent live performer, so I knew this show was going to be special, and she did not disappoint.
Lucy opened with one of her standards, Row Your Own, a song she released in 2019 and is always a crowd favourite. Following this with Ready to be Lonely, the post breakup tearjerker that was perfectly accompanied.
Lucy had told me before the show she had a couple of different things planned and the next song was one of them. Worse than Whiskey was a single Lucy released in 2018 around C2C. For tonight’s show we were treated to a bluegrass take on the song with a heavy bass line provided by Tom W. This was an excellent take on one of Lucy’s older and lesser played tunes, and I hope it makes a reappearance at her future shows. We were then played another of the different things she’d promised. Jack switched to the banjo for No Scrubs, originally an R’n’B track by TLC, and with the guitar and bass of Tom’s and Lucy’s powerful vocals, this was a very different take on the popular 90s song, and arguably better than the original!
Shine was next, a song about someone being not very nice. This is a classic country belter and is always welcome in any set. Rock Salt and Nails is a classic bluegrass song, and Lucy has released her cover of it. Jack’s banjo playing was excellent and complemented Lucy’s singing.
The crowd were then treated to a couple of new songs she performed with Jack. Having had some writers block, what she had started to come up with was quite melancholy. The first was She, all about the powerlessness you feel when you’ve broken up with someone and they are with someone new. This was haunting, and yes, melancholy, but a very accurate representation of what most, if not all, of us have been through. The next, which is as yet unnamed, was about being the person people always come to, being the strong person in the group and who you go to when you need strength from somewhere. This was a melodic rhythmic tune with lyrics that were a heartfelt plea for that support. I’m really looking forward to hearing more of both of these tunes. The third song, before the Toms returned, was Surrender. Whilst not technically new it’s not normally been accompanied by a guitar. This is set for release later this year and is like the ultimate ballad of the broken heart healing to allow someone back in.
With the return of the Toms, By The Way was next. This was track 1 of Lucy’s first EP and always welcome in a live set, especially with a guitarist of Tom G’s calibre on the stage. This was followed by one of Lucy’s two love songs, All This Time. Dedicated to her parents on their anniversary, this song always gets me right in the feels, and Lucy’s vocals were absolutely on point tonight. Lucy’s other love song was next – Bonnie and Clyde. A true country love song that the crowd loved (as it always does!).
Only Just Begun is an uplifting tune about following dreams and was the title track to Lucy’s EP released a couple of weeks before the first lockdown in 2020.
One of the classic country themes – a friend scorned by a lover was the subject of the next song, Bulletproof. Known by long time fans of Lucy’s as Mr Liar this is an upbeat banger that has a dark edge.
I Won’t was the last official song of the set. This was reviewed by yours truly as Lucy’s most recent release and live is even better. It was a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the song about that lost friendship we all have.
Tequila Made Me Do It was the encore – this sassy drinking party song always gets the crowd in a good mood and tonight, in a small chapel in North London, it was no different.
I’m really glad live music is back, and really happy that young women like Lucy are striving to make excellent music and put on live shows that showcase their own talent and those of the musicians around them, and I cannot recommend getting out to see Lucy live the next time she’s in your neck of the woods.