Live Review: Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, Ben Salter

30 November 2015 | 1:04 pm | Michael Prebeg

"Williams has talent beyond his years and his distinctive old-soul vocals are on par with some of the musical greats well before his time."

More Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders More Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders

Marlon Williams takes centre stage beneath the spotlight with his acoustic guitar cradled in his arms. He begins to sing the heartwarming folk song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and from the very first note we melt, captivated by his angelic voice.

He slowly starts to introduce members of his band, The Yarra Benders, beginning with the beautiful Aldous Harding. Standing cheek-to-cheek and staring lovingly into each other's eyes, the charming pair performs a perfectly harmonised duet of Lonely Side Of Her.

The rest of the gang is welcomed aboard to join in to sing a few bluegrass numbers including the Stanley Brothers classics I've Just Seen The Rock Of Ages and the aggressive high-energy folk ditty Nobody's Love Is Like Mine. The mandolin and fiddle fire up and the place is alive and ready for a hoedown.

Williams tells us how he took a break from the tour last night to attend his first ARIA Music Awards. Despite not winning in his nominated category for Best Blues & Roots Album he was overwhelmed to be a part of the night of nights alongside some of his fellow musical friends.

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To break the ice we play a quick game of "Would I lie to you?" as each band member says a different interesting fact for us to guess which is true or false. We're soon totally confused by sea rats, broken grapes and Italian cities banning people from using spherical bowls for their pet goldfish.

Jokes aside, they get right back into the music, continuing to dip in and out of different rock genres to tell some hauntingly beautiful stories that showcase Williams' versatile and timeless voice.

Ben Salter joins in for a duet of Dark Child as they jam together with their jangly tambourines and trilling guitars before the whole band bang out the high speed rocker Hello Miss Lonesome. A yellow spotlight flickers out across the room, which becomes completely silent and still for the entire performance of When I Was A Girl. We watch and listen in awe of Williams nailing one hell of a note with his bold performance chops.

The Yarra Benders join in for one last song as each vocalist crowds around Williams and the single microphone to perform a trio of harmonies with undeniable chemistry. Williams has talent beyond his years and his distinctive old-soul vocals are on par with some of the musical greats well before his time.