Words: Richard Mackman
Photos: Fi Stimpson
We didn’t quite know what to expect from from what turned out to be a very personal and intimate gig this evening – a small gathering of around a hundred or so enthused and genuinely fascinated souls, many of which clearly owned the new Pledge-released album and knew the material.
Wright & Hamilton’s voices pair and blend with a natural compatibility. Wright’s deeper and very English northern inflections compliment Hamilton’s higher and southerly American accented phrasings.
Standout songs from this pot pourri collection (there was NO setlist, just a tatty collection of notes, lyrics and scribblings propped up on two music stands) include the rambunctious “Family Tradition”, “Whiskey River”, the cover of Jagger & Richard’s “Wild Horses” and the best ever version of “Jolene” – never much cared for the original but Tony’s interpretation brought a genuine emotion to the whole thing.
Ryan’s genuinely endearing smile and warmth of personality comes through constantly during this show; being a performer, an artist, a gifted musician is something he is, not just that he does. In contrast, Tony’s pithy, brash northern and sarcastic British jocularity makes for a brilliant double act between the pair – an unusual acoustic country mutation – Yorkshire meets Texas! And you know what, it fucking works!
Inter-song banter is a series of hilarious punchlines; these two are clearly very good buddies and feel very comfortable in each other’s company.
To quote the words of Mr Hamilton himself – “music is togetherness” – and in those moments, in that place, this evening we had a ton of that.
You can buy Grand Ole Otley on iTunes.