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Rod Picott and Amanda Shires, Leadenhall Market, July 7th 2010

July 15, 2010

The inaugural Leadenhall Market Americana Festival was an all-dayer on Saturday July 10th, but I couldn’t make that, so I settled for second best – going to one of the lunchtime and post-work ‘curtain raisers’ during the week before. I decided on Rod Picott and Amanda Shires, as their brand of country-folk balladry very much appeals.

I hotfooted it from work to get there for 5.30, dived into the lovely Lamb Tavern, where I saw Gig Mike waiting at the bar. Having strong-armed him into buying me a pint, I settled in front of the stage as the City suits enjoyed a few pints after spending the day crippling the world’s finances and lining their own Italian silk pockets with filthy lucre.

Rod and Amanda took the stage, said hello and started off with Rod singing Gone from his 2004 album Girl From Arkansas, followed by Broke Down from his fine (and recently rereleased) 2001 album Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues. The song was co-written with one of my favourite singer-songwriters, Slaid Cleaves, who grew up with Rod in South Berwick, Maine.

During the song, a confused-looking ‘street person’ holding a red balloon crossed in front of the stage, scowling. He turned to Rod, who was singing away, and slowly raised his middle finger to him. He then wandered off but quickly came back and started yelling garbled extracts from 99 Red Balloons. Rod and Amanda could barely keep a straight face. After the song, Rod said that he’d grown used to dealing with critics…

Then both of them sang Gettin’ To Me from Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues before Amanda sang a lovely version of Angels And Acrobats from Rod’s Stray Dogs album and also also her West Cross Timbers CD. Their manner is easy, though it belies some seriously good talent, with Rod on guitar and Amanda on fiddle. Their voices work well together and Rod’s songs are superficially simple, but there’s a fine artistry at work in constructing such straightforward but effective ballads. And Rod’s voice improved after a kindly audience member bought him a pint.

They romped through the excellent River Runs and Gun Shy Dog before Rod introduced a new song he’d co-written with Slaid, possibly called Some Things You’re Born To. It was good. Alas, at this point I had to leave, but I’d enjoyed Rod and Amanda’s company, the beer and the prospect of listening to some more of their stuff in future.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Queen of Herts permalink
    July 16, 2010 9:51 am

    Nice sounds! .. found lots on you tube. let me know when you go and see them again πŸ™‚

  2. brandnewguy permalink*
    July 16, 2010 11:17 am

    Glad you liked it, Queenie πŸ™‚ Not sure when they’re back on these shores, but you can download a free (and legit) live concert at:
    [audio src="" /]
    Go down to Individual Files / Whole Item / then right click on the 194.6MB to download πŸ™‚

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