Thursday, 6 March 2008


No, I'm not being rude to you. We've just got back from a gig/party with the amusingly-acronymed Southern Tenant Folk Union, to launch their second album, Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs, at The King and Queen in Fitzrovia.  Apparently Bob Dylan played here once.

Ah, country music, something, along with folk, to strike fear into the hearts of trendies everywhere. God forbid we cool kids should listen to anything with a banjo! Well sorry, clearly I'm only masquerading as a hip young thing, as I'm very partial to such things, from time to time. Good examples of what I really like are Uncle TupeloWilco, Vigilantes of Love, Emmylou Harris and of course Gram Parsons. Music with heart and an emphasis on brilliant musicianship. Whyever is this not cool?

STFU are a thoroughly good example of the kind of music that should be heard live. Not that they're bad on record, not at all, but this kind of thing is meant to be played in the upstairs room of a pub to a crowd of enthusiasts with access to good beer, better still candlelit as tonight's show was. They're a six piece, as you can see in this rather poor photo (candles being excellent for ambience but a bugger for photography):

This gives a line-up of harmonica, two guitars, a banjo, a mandolin, a double bass and our lovely contact Fran on violin (or is it "fiddle" in such circles?), and a variety of people on singing duty. They have an incredible warmth to their sound, and are really good songwriters. To hear them play, you wouldn't think they weren't authentic down-home country boys (and girl) from the good ol' US of A. Isn't it funny how people don't seem to have regional accents when they sing?

But no, I don't like Shania Twain, who is quite possibly the devil incarnate.

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