True North Music’s first gig as promoter was a huge success, with Cahalen Morrison and Eli West playing to a sell-out crowd in the Backroom at The Greystones. This Sheffield venue is always a good setting for intimate concerts of this nature, and the audience was particularly receptive to the lads’ particular brand of down-home picking and glorious harmony singing. The night began with a short set from my own Americana band, True North, and we were lucky to receive a great reception from the gig-goers. It was gratifying to get so many compliments and kind words, both on our music and on the whole event.
Once Cahalen and Eli hit the stage, we were treated to the usual masterclass in understated musicianship. Quality runs through everything these guys do, from the songwriting to their instrumental prowess, vocal harmonies to their interpretations of others’ songs. The two sets featured a wide range of material from their three studio albums, with highlights for me including Stone to Sand, the old-style country lilt of Larry Sparks’ Natural Thing to Do and the atmospheric paean to the American south-west, Down in the Lonesome Draw. We also got to hear a couple of as-yet-untitled new songs by Cahalen, including this stonking number:
There’s a great review of the gig by Allan Wilkinson over at Northern Sky Magazine. He’d obviously been keenly anticipating Cahalen & Eli’s first visit to Sheffield; you can check out his write-up here. Fans of the duo will be glad to hear that Morrison & West will be returning to the UK in just a few months. They’ll be playing another short run of dates in late April/early May which will include the Shetland Folk Festival. Check out their tour page here, and catch them if you can!