Reviews 2013

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

The Red Dirt Skinners

Bryn Phillips 11 October 2013

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Every now and then we get an act at the club which goes the extra mile to put on a show. The Red Dirt Skinners were such an act. They arrived a couple of hours early and then got busy sorting their equipment out. They had their own PA with two huge speakers, wireless mics and other impressive kit including an  iPad as a mixer control. They set up a black carpet on the stage, a backcloth with decal behind them and then filled the stage with drum kit and cymbals. They had everything ready to go well before the start of the evening - an impressive effort. With all of this equipment there was no room on stage for the local artists and so we were grateful to Bob Bignall, who in Derry's absence, set up a couple of mics in front of the stage with his own deck patched into the main sound system.

The Red Dirt Skinners are Rob and Sarah Skinner, and they take their name from the type of music they play which has been likened to Red Dirt Music from Oklahoma. Rob plays guitar and drums (pedal only) and Sarah plays Soprano Saxophone, harmonica and percussion. This gives a very full sound with a powerful insistent rhythm. They started off with a blues number, Brownie McGhee's "Cornbread, Peas and Molasses", and interestingly finished with another blues number, "They're Red Hot", a Robert Johnson classic. The rest of the evening fitted into this blues sandwich perfectly. We had a couple more blues numbers including an incredible rendition of "I've Got My Mojo Working" which featured Sarah providing some very energetic vocals. But they weren't a blues band. They also performed some high octane country numbers and quite a few self penned songs, predominantly from their new album, including an excellent rendition of the sensitive "Just 18". The variety of their music was impressive, as were the moods created by the different styles of music and themes.

Their music was a mixture of blues, jazz and country old and new, with an extra dimension brought about by the Soprano Sax, which Sarah played with evident enthusiasm. At one point she walked around the audience playing it, aided by a wireless mic fixed to the end of the instrument. It was impressive. If they really represent the Red Dirt Music genre, I'll be looking out for more.

However technically good a band is what really matters is the entertainment value, as people primarily go out to enjoy themselves. They didn't let us down. They were a great act to watch, and everyone had a good time, including the act themselves. Rob and Sarah threw themselves into the performance and were clearly having as good a time as the rest of us. It makes all the difference - it was a great night.

Support for the evening was provided by Velvet Green, the newly formed "Less Than Nothing", and yours truly.