Blood Harmonies

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Due to popular demand, father & son team Steve & John Dagleish performed an extra Blood Harmonies gig on Tuesday night – and, thanks to Room One, I was a privileged member of the audience.

The show was a folk-lover’s heaven. Steve is a musician by trade, so the set list was a clever interweaving of traditionals with some of his own material – as well as the obligatory, and legendary, Dylan. The gig was primarily a celebration of New York’s Greenwich Village folk scene, though it also served as the beginning of Steve’s 2016 spring tour to showcase new material and his ‘Only Losers Write On Bridges‘ album. And, in case you’re unaware, John is an actor most recently seen in Kenneth Branagh’s productions of The Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade – he originated the role of Ray Davies in Sunny Afternoon, a role which won him an Olivier and many new fans! He also played a couple of solo gigs in Above the Arts prior to the Blood Harmonies pair.

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Photo credit: @grifter_j

The evening went all too quickly, with far too many highlights!

It might seem obvious, given that they’re related, but it’s like their voices are made to be heard singing in harmony with each other. John’s full of soul, and Steve’s with a hint of his native Yorkshire accent coming through.

I was glad to hear a few of the same songs as John’s solo gig; partly just to hear them again, but also to hear a fresh take on them. Two voices and two guitars (on most) can make all the difference! It was especially lovely to hear ‘Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)’ as a duet, having recently watched Inside Llewyn Davis (finally) – this song seemed to be Steve’s favourite on the set list.

One of the highlights, for me, was one of Steve’s own compositions: ‘Mister Parsons’s Tears’. It is an immensely personal song about a tragic incident in his youth – the loss of a dear childhood friend. The story is all there in the lyrics, but it was the tone of the music that brought tears to my eyes. Melancholic but beautiful. The harmony of their voices heightening the emotion of the song.

“We go back to the theme of death” were the words that introduced another of my favourites, a cover of the Americana classic ‘Will The Circle (Be Unbroken)’. It’s strangely uplifting, given that it is about the narrator’s mother’s funeral – but is a fine example of the strength of the human spirit when confronted with challenges.

As a special treat, there was even time for an encore of The Milk Carton Kids’ New York right at the very end.

It’s clear that father & son have a very good relationship; having little chats between songs and teasing each other, but quite obviously enjoying themselves & sharing a real love for the music they chose to perform. Sometimes you can feel like a professional musician has just turned up to earn their money, do the job & go – not the Dagleishs. Their passion for the music was there for all to see, and absolutely infectious.

We can only hope that they have the time to do some more gigs like this in the future, as they are truly too good as a combined force to go to waste! Along with the theme and the charming setting of London’s own miniature Greenwich Village bar, this was an event that should not have been missed.

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This final gig was recorded, and there are hopes that it will be released on some format in the future. Watch this space…


Room One’s Greenwich Village season runs until 21 February 2016. Tickets for the other events in the season are available from the Arts Theatre box office or online . Steve Dagleish’s 2016 spring tour makes its way around the UK, finishing in London on 29 April 2016. Tickets are available from Steve’s website.

 

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