Reviews 2014

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Kim Lowings and The Greenwood

Les Jones 24 January 2014

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It has been some eighteen months since Kim Lowings and the Greenwood have performed at the Woodman as a band. At that time they were a trio; Kim herself (vocals, Appalachian mountain dulcimer and shruti box); Andrew “Jarv” – no I don’t know either – Lowings (Acoustic guitars, bouzouki and bodhran) and Tim Rogers (Cajon). Last night, however, their number had expanded to include two new members in the line up; Dave Sutherland (Double bass) and Ami Oprenova (Fiddle and harmony vocals). They sounded good before but now they have added depth from the Dave and Tim combination as well as some interesting overlays from Ami that has changed the overall sound in very much a good way.

The evening began with an excellent support slot from Dick Woodhouse, who sang his version of the Norfolk traditional song “Lovely Joan” and played two carefully crafted open tuned guitar pieces. He was followed by Woodman favourites Velvet Green who gave us a wonderfully polished rendering of both “Crying in Your Sleep” and the Glyn Hughes song “Come Day Go Day/Whiskey on a Sunday” The latter became one of the discussion points of the evening. Exactly what is “Buttermilk”?

The whole evening was as always ably compered by the inimitable Mr Bryn Phillips who also treated us to two of his self-penned songs after the interval – "Running to and From" and "Spring-heeled Jack".

Everything was set for a wonderful night of traditional and self penned music from Kim and the Greenwood – we were not to be disappointed.

The band played ten songs in each half and it would be no exaggeration to say that everyone was well worth the listen. Not even a hint of a “filler “amongst them. I do not have the space to mention all of them so I will restrict myself to some of the highlights. Many of the songs including the self penned “Drifting Point”; “This Life”; “Deepest Darkest Night” and the traditional “The Begging Song” and “Devil and the Ploughman”; were from either of their two EPs “Drifting Point” and “Deepest Darkest Night” or the full album “This Life”. The themes for several of the songs have been taken from old fables and legends in particular “The Flounder” a tale from the brothers Grimm, in which we were entreated “Don’t trust a fish that can speak” I can assure you I was not going to. “Cruel Mother” a traditional song was given an extra haunting feel by the inclusion of Kim’s famed shruti box played in conjunction with Ami’s fiddle. “Phoenix” – the bird not the insurance company – provided some beautiful harmonies between Kim and Ami. “Shady Grove” an American song it should be pointed out gave a whole new outlook and produced the very best from the infamous Woodman percussionists situated all around the room. “The Allotment” which Kim sang for her Nan was a piece in two parts concluding with a lovely round effect.

Normally I would have said “The Parting Glass” a solo from Kim, would be the perfect ending to any evening but no, there was an encore. “The Littlest Birds” by the Be Good Tanyas was a complete departure from the previous material and featured some of the most amazing pizzicato bluegrass fiddle from Ami. I swear she was bending the strings at one point.

I cannot end without mentioning the three brand new songs which they have been perfecting over the last few months. “Willow” a song about reaching out to a troubled friend; “Dark Eyed Sailor” about a dark eyed sailor I think, were both worth waiting for. As was “Monsoon” written about Kim’s student visit to Singapore (All Part of her studies she reckons) which evoked a true feel of the Far East as well as the very wet weather it brought with it. The change in timing between the beginning and end of the song was truly wonderful. Each song was superb and we should hope to hear them on a CD at sometime in the future.

So that was it another wonderful Woodman evening and

“A Wonderful Time Was Had By All”.