A charming evening this was. A low key gig at J2, with no support act and costing only £10. Lucy and Johnny are quirte recent graduates of the folk music degree course at Newcastle University: Lucy plays violin (sometines plucked), viola and Spear & Jackson saw, Johnny plays guitar. They are unaffected to the point of being thoroughly disorganised. They didn't have a set list, or even a watch. We witnessed their discussions about what number to do next. Their banter was completely unpolished: often they would start a topic, then decide it wasn't right, and stop. Are they always like this? Johnny - very untrendily dressed - admitted to being very tired; indeed, singing with his eyes shut, he did look as if he was about to drop off. During Lucy's a cappella solo number, he lay down on the floor. Perhaps he should have had his sleeping bag with him. He also confessed that, after eating fry-ups for breakfast on every morning of the tour, his head was full of grease. Their attitude to all this wasn't quite unapologetic, but certainly unembarassed. Did one warm to them in consequence? Undoubtedly.
Their musical style is fittingly laid-back. Their songs all have a quiet, unostentatious character, and a wonderfully lazy pace. Yet, within the musical performances, they do get it together. Johnny is actually a sensitive and interesting songwriter, both play their instruments appealingly, Lucy is a brilliant singer, and the combination of the two voices is superb. The songs came mostly from their recent album Kite, and their 2009 mini-album The North Farm Sessions.The three traditional numbers - Down In Adairsville, Hares On The Mountain and Peggy Gordon were highlights. I also particularly enjoyed Dixon Street, Johnny's account of living in digs owned by Kathryn Tickell's father, in a particularly unattractive and dangerous part of Newcastle.
Yes, a great occasion. Ingenuous, soothing and delightful.
Writer: Rychard Carrington