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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

LIVE REVIEW: THE SIGNATURE BREW - AMERICANA SHOWCASE - HANNAH WHITE - JARROD DICKENSON

The very first Signature Brew Americana Showcase, curated by the good folk at Cumbrae Promotions, ( seemingly the masters of the afternoon gig) would take place at the Signature Brew brewery in Walthamstow E17 home of er East 17. Based on a trading estate seemingly packed with other breweries and eateries scattered among the DIY depots, on parking the car it seemed a slightly incongruous place for such an event to take place - but how wrong we were. On entering twe were met with a high ceiling venue, pews to the right of the stage and standing space to the left. Banners detailing past and future events hung down like medieval pageantry while the back drop and further to the right of the seating were giant stainless steel vats containing the very fine fermenting liquid that was on sale outside. With a high stage and the sound masterly controlled by a sympathetic sound engineer - it would prove to be an ideal setting.


The final act of the day was another duo with Jarrod Dickenson and wife Claire following on from the previous husband and wife team Hannah White and Keiron Marshall. Their respective sets could not musically have been more different yet running through both was a common sense and humanity that seems to be all to lacking in the modern world.

THE SIGNATURE BREW - AMERICANA SHOWCASE - HANNAH WHITE - JARROD DICKENSON

As Jarrod took to the stage and opened up with "Home Again", #TEAMw21 were immediately struck by the thought that it's been far too long since we last crossed paths. With his shiny silver guitar and deep timbre we were immediately hooked, and with Claire on backing vocals and shaking her tambourine with a certain elegance there was almost a spiritual feel to this opener.


The second track Prefer To Lose" from his most recent album "Big Talk" mined a soulful country groove, - "I've mastered the art of throwing it all away". Jarrod has always had the innate ability to take on the persona of the people in his songs and make them appear before your very eyes - and he was able to extract every ounce of pathos from the rich lyrics.


He immediately launched into "Faint Of Heart", the combination of Claire's tambourine and Jarrod's guitar made for an initial heightened sense of drama, a stomp of his boot signalling the move into the main song.



THE SIGNATURE BREW - AMERICANA SHOWCASE - HANNAH WHITE - JARROD DICKENSON

Switching to an acoustic guitar, the life of the modern musician was addressed in "Born To Wander" contrasting the hard life with the reality that he wouldn't choose another path.


"Easy Street never looked appealing

Me, I'd rather keep running down a dream"


It beautifully captured the dilemma, and the dramatic guitar playing and tambourine topped it off perfectly.


The optimism of "If You're looking" conceived during the covid crisis, managed to find light in what was a darkened time.


In a leap back to when we first encountered Jarrod came "Your Heart Belongs To Me" with the vocals switching between Jarrod and Claire - each glancing at the other as they sang on this sumptuous version - there really wasn't any better place to be on a Saturday afternoon.



THE SIGNATURE BREW - AMERICANA SHOWCASE - HANNAH WHITE - JARROD DICKENSON

It was the arrival of a new song "In The Tennessee Heat" that really cemented the link between Hannah White and Jarrod - both not afraid to actually say something. A song that seemed to generate the very heat being sung about, built around a solid guitar riff, with some pointed lyrics. From the unrecorded it was another blast from the past in the slow smouldering beauty of "Nothing More" from the "Ready The Horses" album. Claire's additional vocals on the chorus made this so special on the day. Barely had the song ended then we were thrust into the choppy jangling guitars of "With Any Luck" with some impressive tambourine support!. The day would close out with one last visit to the "Big Talk" album for "Long Hard Look", another song with the central message of couldn't we all just be a bit nicer in these tough times?


Some acts when you see them too often can lose the very charm that made you like them in the first place, spending time with Jarrod Dickenson had the reverse effect - why hadn't we spent more time with him over the last few years?


Let's just be thankful that Jarrod does continue to do this for a living and hope that one day that dream does come in - It will be richly deserved. We've immediately set the task to see how "Big Talk" slipped by in the gamut of releases - on the evidence of today it certainly deserves it's day in the sun


Jarrod would be the final act of four in what was a well conceived, well produced and well performed showcase - hopefully it will be the start of something regular - events like this deserve every bit of support they can get.


Full kudos to both Signature Brew & Cumbrae Promotions for putting on such a successful afternoon.


Hope to be back to for a pint of the Rhubarb cider if nothing else!!

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