Carrick at Leamington Food Festival

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Carrick at Leamington Food Festival

Review

Unfortunately, life intruded and my plans to attend both days of Leamington Food Festival turned into just seeing Carrick perform on Leamington Bandstand in the hot sun. However not only did this favour quality over any other factor, I am delighted to be able to share our first live report of this talented folk duo: I reviewed their excellent album 'Ghosts in the Lens' in February 2022 and the single from that, "Stay At Home" a year earlier (yes: it's a lockdown song). It also features on 'Hot Music LIve Presents Volume Five'.

Caroline Dyson & Rich Howell are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and, despite the relative brevity of their slot, deployed five different ones to keep the diversity of the sound going. They are also tasteful players: they served the songs with their talents rather than grandstanding. Factor in two excellent voices to deploy separately or in harmony, and the options they had to bring to each song were many.

I quite understand why the circumstances required them to lean towards their extensive covers repertoire (which seems to be highly popular over a very wide area), though afterwards we had a long chat about finding opportunities to perform the originals they have put so much effort & love into: so if any promoter or venue reading this is interested?

The covers were nicely chosen: nothing too ubiquitous in there but not so obscure that a crowd unfamiliar with their work would not know at least some. That kept it fresh as did their obvious diligence in re-arranging the songs. Those with (for example) signature fiddle parts retained them, but otherwise tracks were looked at from different angles. Some, I prefered to the original: always a good test.

Having watched a documentary on Steve Earle only the day before, their inclusion of "Galway Girl" was serendipitous & appreciated.

This is a fine act & I urge you to catch them: hopefully my next review will be of one where their own songs take centre stage.

It saddens me to finish with another report of a band having to transcend unacceptably poor sound, but I feel out of respect to local musicians I do need to raise it on their behalf until promoters take more notice. It wasn't a music event as such, but if you book high calibre artists, you ought to invest in a professional sound engineer to help their artistry be heard properly. On this occasion, even very basic issues were not addressed to a standard musicians, audiences or reviewers can let pass.

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