An unusually early packed Green Note from almost the start of the evening was in place for the return of Hannah Aldridge who has steadily been growing her UK fan base.
The evening opened with a short set from Ellisha Green, who displayed a mixture of styles. The opener "Mother Tell Me" had a jazzy guitar style, it was beautifully sung at one point building to a real crescendo before returning to the chorus. the next song "Denial" from her "Platforms" EP was a little more folky in style.
Working in a bar led to the inspiration of "Empty Nets" with its catchy "Free Yourself" chorus. The 5 song set closed with perhaps the most immediately accessible pop song "Volcano" with its "So unpredictable" chorus bringing to an end a nice little cameo performance.
For Hannah Aldridge tonight was the penultimate date in a 2 month European tour, taking to the stage looking statuesque she was to be the perfect host, totally at ease with the crowd and with a great selection of tales to impart let alone her awesome back catalogue to unleash.which she opened with the uptempo guitar work on "Aftermath" with its opening line "I was born in a crossfire". Some artists spend the evening building up to a climax but Hannah was firing off A grade performances throughout the evening, the second song "Dark Hearted Woman" was a powerful, passionate display, while the intensity of "Lie Like You Love Me" was gripping.
The whole of the first set was absolutely breathtaking, never more so than on "Parchman" inspired by a documentary on women who kill. Hannah is essentially a rock singer who has country steeped in her veins and so is effortlessly able to switch modes between delivering a heartfelt country lyric or resting a foot on a monitor for some rocking guitar. She also has a great choice in co writers and the first half of the evening closed with an Ashley McBryde co write in "Lace" providing a dramatic finish.
In case there were any fears that there would be a let up in quality, they were immediately put to one side with a rocking "You Ain't Worth The Fight" providing an uptempo start to the second half. There was a hilarious story about an ex who wanted a song written about him, not sure he would have been expecting the "Bluegrass cheating song" of "Old Ghost" which came with some furious guitar strumming.
An excellent cover in the shape of Tom Waits' "Take it With Me" considered by Hannah to be one of the best songs ever written, was certainly done justice with a rendition that hushed the Green Note. There was a rare outing for the unrecorded "Rails To Ride", a song that had led to her first engagement at the Bluebird, an uptempo road song. The story that came with the title song of the second album "Goldrush" was somewhat poignant, with Hannah talking about pouring her guts out" to strangers each night, it was another Ashley McBryde co-write this time also with the wonderfully named Jeremy Drinkwine,
The main set was to close with five members of the audience somewhat press ganged into providing backing vocals on the tiny Green Note stage for "Burning Down Birmingham". It was so good though, that at one point Hannah was to step off stage and admire the work of her new backing singers.
The encores began with an "honest song" the title track of her first record "Razorwire" which once again saw the audience hanging off every word.Things were to close in spectacular style with Hannah not only going unplugged and off microphone but it also saw her go on a wander through the crowd singing "Howlin' Bones", posing for pictures and rocking out as she went.
A truly fantastic night that ended with the tease that she'll be back with her band in London in July to record a live album.