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  • Words Chris Farlie Pictures Pete Woodhouse

Midwinterfest Day 3 - The Return Of The Lowly Strung!


The early morning "Wakey Wakey!" slot this year gave a chance for the Lowly Strung to bring a little bit of Godliness to the proceedings as well as a chance to perform with their microphone facing in the right direction. Opening the set guitarist Toby Starks showed an almost soulful vocal on Bob Dylans "Ring Them Bells" a well chosen cover, which showcased the bands musicianship to great effect when they came in on the second verse. The set as they were to mention themselves was not really "Gospel" based but certainly had the right vibe and with many of us only having had a few hours sleep, no-one was going to argue.

Second in the set was "I'll Fly Away" perhaps known to most from Alison Krauss's version but it originates from the late 1920's and has countless covers. It surely blew any morning cobwebs well away, and was glorious good time music to start the day, with the power of three people singing in harmony something to behold. The joy of watching The Lowly Strung is that they clearly take great pleasure not only from what they are playing but seeing the enjoyment it gives to others. Vince Gill's "Go Rest High On That Mountain" again opened with just guitarist Toby and gently built up, coming with great mandolin from James Starks and dobro work by Malcolm Peet they were to infuse a deep spiritual feeling into a ballroom in Torquay, rightly drawing a loud round of applause. Once again great harmonies shone through on Tim O'Briens "When I Die I'll Live Again" which went on to become an unlikely thing to get an audience to singalong with but singalong they did,. The boys playing to full effect and managed to make a deceptively full orchestral sound at times with the final singalong chorus left solely to the Torquay crowd.

At this point the band expanded with the addition of Alan and Steve on "Will The Circle", after all any Sunday morning session needs a bit of the Man In Black - Johnny Cash to make it complete.. Alan opened the verse with guitarist Toby taking the second with the audience clapping and cheering throughout. If you could imagine throwing in dobro, fiddle solos, then Alan & Steve coming in for for verse 3, followed by guitar, mandolin and double bass solos with everyone in the room singing and clapping - then you'll come somewhere close to being able to picture what a great time was had on the finale.

#TheLowlyStrung #Midwinterfest2019 #AlanWest #SteveBlack