Review – Folk Concert

Review – Folk Concert

Act:Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage
Date: Friday 30 Sep 2016
Reviewer: Romy Alford

The sandstone arches of The Atkinson welcome me in from the September chills that are starting to wind their way down the Victorian streets of Southport. There’s a notable buzz amongst the patrons of the folk night being held in the studio, the anticipation built between trips to the amply stocked bar and candle lit, club style tables that fill the studio space. The atmosphere is relaxed and akin to laid back ideology of folk music, Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage have wound their way around the UK this month across a plethora of artisan venues, so their visit to Southport comes as no surprise. A simple staging and acoustic set up sets the scene for the focus of the music: uncluttered, uncompromising and totally unconventional for this genre.

David Bentley & The Draught warm up the crowd with their haunting and emotional vocals, their soulful strumming and dulcet tones perfectly set the tone for the main event. Hannah and Ben’s music is like the name of their act, no frills, just simple appreciation for quality singing and excellent guitar playing. Hannah’s ethereal voice rings through the studio, transporting you to a place outside of yourself and Ben compliments her through his well-pitched falsetto vocals. Their performance is perfectly honed, faultlessly presented and demonstrates that they are clearly a match made in musical heaven. The songs are filled with messages of hope and promise, all delivered in a stripped down sound which takes you on a journey into the minds of this duo. Even making death sound attractive with their rendition of ‘Ribbons and Bows’, the pair’s synchronicity made the viewing even more engaging. The dynamic between the duo is electric and their eclectic mix of music is refreshing, we were treated to new tracks from their album (recorded in Toronto, ‘Before The Sun’) as well as their own favourites.

Hannah, who spent her childhood in a converted school bus decorated with Laura Ashley furniture, expertly communicates the stories and hidden messages in the songs through her vocals. She has a way of managing to draw the audience in to every performance, though most songs are not longer than a minute. The most engaging aspect is the duo themselves, their history as artists and their own relationship on stage. They clearly love each song and its place in the canon of folk music, their total belief is palpable and infectious. I would recommend listening to their album on a moonlit night, sitting in a field around a bonfire, preferably with a good glass of ale. The Atkinson’s studio space enhanced the quality of the performance and delivered perfect technical and audio support throughout. The evening was a perfect introduction to folk novices as well as life-long fans, I will definitely be purchasing Hannah and Ben’s album in anticipation of the next full moon.

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage’s album ‘Before The Sun’ was out on 16 September 2016.

Posted on 4 October 2016 under Review

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