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Live Review: The Morrisons, Ruby Boots, Jenny Queen

28 April 2015 | 10:20 am | Chris Familton

"The Morrisons are omnipresent at bars, pubs and clubs around Sydney and tonight showed why their appeal is so strong."

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Lost Highway Records are slowly but surely building a roster around some key artists and this evening was another in their continuing series of gigs showcasing that burgeoning roster, now based at The Basement.

Jenny Queen was backed by honky-tonk and Western swing outfit Cruisin’ Deuces and across the empty dance-floor to the busier bar she played a selection of songs from her 2014 album, Small Town Misfits, including Blood Meridian and Let Her Go. She also debuted a brand new song with just acoustic guitar accompaniment that showed her ability to dial into rawer emotion. Though Queen never looked completely relaxed on-stage, her voice conveyed her brand of melancholic country pop with character and depth.

Ruby Boots is finally releasing her debut album this week and was in a celebratory mood, as much relief as joy, using that energy to deliver a revelatory set, again backed by Cruisin’ Deuces, who played the perfect backing band role by wonderfully enhancing Bex Chilcott’s songs yet never overshadowing her as the star of the show. Her voice soared and ached, filled with equal amounts of sass and sorrow on songs such as Middle Of Nowhere, Ruby Blue and the single, Wrap Me In A Fever, and though it was a short showcase set she showed why many are championing her on the local Americana scene.

The Morrisons are omnipresent at bars, pubs and clubs around Sydney and tonight showed why their appeal is so strong with the six of them gathered centre-stage around a single microphone, performing a consummate set of bluegrass music. Solos were aplenty and all band members showed their ability to shine in the spotlight before pulling their instrument back into the cohesive and brisk pluck and strum of their collective sound. At times their songs blended into one another, partly due to the background bar chatter that distracted from what was happening on stage, but they silenced the room with a closing sublime a cappella rendition of Paul Kelly’s Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air.

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