• Words John Berresford Pictures Colin Jones

Round Up with Two Ways Home, Gasoline & Matches, Joe Slater, Jessica Pruneau - Colonel Fawcett C


Attending the Round-Up at The Colonel Fawcett in Camden is becoming a regular monthly event (missed in April due to our hosts, Two Ways Home, being off on their travels to the US). A slight change this time around was the introduction of a ‘pay what you like’ ticketing option prior to the event – this allowing priority access to the venue and eliminating the need to have cash for the tip jar.

Tonight’s round consisted of two artists I’d never heard of, one I’d heard about but never seen before and Two Ways Home, who I seem to see every other week in one capacity or another (not complaining)!

First up in the round was Joe Slater, a former Waterloo Road star and X-Factor contestant from Liverpool. If any of those three thoughts put you off, banish them from your mind immediately! Opening with a song called "Take Me To The Sky" with a deep bassy guitar lick and deeper bluesier voice than his babyface features suggest. This song delivers with really emotive vocals... and nice bit of reverb in the mix. Close your eyes and it could almost be Chris Stapleton!? This was a hell of a start to the set and really left something for the rest of the round to follow! Gasoline & Matches were up next a duo I’ve heard of before and I know they host a very similar evening themselves in Birmingham. With both Sally and Steve on guitar it provides a fullness of sound to support Sally on vocals and Steve on harmony. “Long Hard Ride” showcases Sally’s deep female voice and includes a genre consistent Woah, oh section! Interesting playing on this one with a slightly 'flat' guitar-sound complementing the song Jessica Pruneau hails from the French part of Canada (Quebec). "Miss you any More" was her first number and incorporates a softer vocal than the previous 2 artists. This was a sweet start with Jessica perched/half-standing against her stool and Steve joining in on guitar. Two Ways Home completed the first round with a – “what should we sing?” request slot. “Push & Pull” was the loudest shout-out which left Lewis joking that they were really starting with the big guns!

On to round 2 and Joe told us how the next song was inspired whilst he was stuck on an island in Germany for 2 weeks. It was an empty place and led to song "Lonely". This song had an ‘angry’ vibe to it posing “All these questions” and it was clear that Joe put a lot of effort into the singing. It even encouraged the audience to join in. Gasoline & Matches second song "Not Into Country" is a break up song with a nice back-story. This track even has a little bit of 'twang' for those that like that kind of thing! Jessica’s second song "Fight for Us" was also a break up song about a lazy bas***d! This was a more vocal driven take. Completing the Break-up trilogy, Two Ways Home gave us a song co-written with The Young Fables about walking away. "As I Leave" is a brand new song with Lewis opening to minimal guitar. This was followed by a picked middle 8 section, then into Isy for verse two. By the time we got to the 2nd chorus both were singing in their accustomed harmonies.

Round 3 was a chance for Joe to slow it down with his song "Slow it down"! This was a kick back to the consumerised world and really suited the gravelly voiced delivery. This song also allowed Steve to join in again with a lead guitar solo. Gasoline & Matches 3rd song showcased Sally’s break-up stories in chronological order with “Body” and was followed up with another break-up song from Jessica “The Road”, although that one was about moving on. Two Ways Home closed the round with yet another, currently untitled, new song. This song called for more guitar reverb and started slow with Lewis on vocals and Isy backing before picking up speed. This was a more up-tempo song and closed the first half with Lewis asking for song-title suggestions. If "Done Fighting" or "Red-handed" appear on future recordings, you heard the name here first!

After a short break we were back with Joe and a song called "Wasting Away" which started with some harmonica. This song had a real laid back feel... and lyrics like “Me momma told me, it'll be alright.” For Gasoline & Matches we got a story about a song played in a round on an ex’s guitar and written in Nashville. Interesting to think that “Shotgun?” could have been a love song! Jessica’s song "Same Old, Sweet Home" is about coming from a small town and when you return it just doesn't feel like you belong. Two Ways Home had another new Nashville accredited song “Underneath the Roof Stars” which was a very oooooh, ahhhhhh, ooooooh, ohhhhh-ish song!

With the clock ticking on (and things running late) it was time for a final ‘power’ round, of which I only managed a couple of songs before having to dive for the exit and the train station. Joe started by admitting that this was his first time performing in a round and a confession that he doesn’t really see himself as a country singer. On this performance, I really hope he embraces both and I look forward to seeing him again soon. His final song “Lost in Time” was a good insight in to what he feels inside, and was a great way to finish his set. Gasoline & Matches concluded with their song “Fools Gold” and unfortunately I had to miss the last songs by Jessica & Two Ways Home.

As always, The Round-Up proves to be voyage of discovery and long may it continue. This is a perfect showcase for new and established artists and great way to discover and trial new music in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

#GasolineMatches #TwoWaysHome #JessicaPruneau #JoeSlater

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