Hannah White's All Star Band! - Folk In The Park - Sutton
Hannah White would take to the stage with a loud "We're here - and we have Norwegians" referring to 2 band members who had flown in specially for the event. With Matt Owens who had played earlier in the day, doubling up on electric guitar this was an "All Star Band". There was a rootsy uptempo opening, a fantastic organ sound , mingling with the drums, before the twin guitars and Hannah's acoustic got things rocking from the off with "The Aftershow" from the forthcoming album "Sweet Revolution" With simultaneous twin guitar solos and pounding drums this was a blistering way in which to start.
In a complete change of pace it was back to the previous album "About Time" for the wonderful hammond organ intro into "It'll Be Alright". For it's delicate chorus with Hannah was joined by additional harmonies from Keiron Marshall. This was a a slow brooding number with the intensity gradually building as more instruments added their volume. In a touch of showmanship there was mainly just Hannah and her acoustic guitar prominent in the mix, to deliver the final line.
The next song came with a dedication that it "was a song for Boris Johnson", it was not the afternoon for snatching out the lyrics so we'll have to wait to see how that plays out - it had a distinctly Americana feel and may have been "Hail The Fighter" from the new album.
Each song was its own little masterpiece, "Broken Bird" saw Hannah concentrate her vocals, moving to holding the microphone in it's stand with one hand while her other held the guitar. This was pure country and Hannah has the perfect voice for county music. It came with a tinkling Nashville piano and a delightful singalong chorus to which the crowd would duly singalong. With Hannah and Keiron singing the final chorus as a duet this was a sheer delight.
"Right On Time" was another song and another style, this was Hannah taking on what seemed to be a pure pop song and it sounded sublime even on first listen. With time seemingly moving at double speed we were down to the last 3 numbers. Hannah somewhat disingenuously introduced her AMA Single of The Year "Car Crash" just as being a song "about when she was arrested for shoplifting" but it is so much more than that. If music does anything it should stir an emotion and this does it in spades. The atmosphere set with the church organ sound and the ominous drum beat. over which Hannah outlines the most desperate of situations. The chorus is a tour de force, the band are all playing excellently however it is impossible to take your eyes away from Hannah pouring out her soul. The first 2 lines of the final chorus are delivered a capella before the band complete proceedings on a performance that receives an outstanding ovation.
The set would close with 2 more songs from the forthcoming album, "One Night Stand" which came with a slow smouldering soundscape for Hannah to sing over. The final song was the new single "Chains Of Ours", #TEAMw21 first heard this song at The Lexington, when Hannah set out on one of the first post Lockdown nationwide tours. On that night we remarked that it had a chorus so good that you just wanted Hannah and the Band to keep on playing it. Today's performance brought all those same feelings flooding back - the divine chorus, searing guitar solos what more could you ask for? At least this time we only have to wait until Sunday to hear it again.
Hannah White is at The Long Road Festival Sun Aug 27th at Buddy's Good Time Bar Stage at 12:10
Chains Of Ours is released Sept 1st