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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE


A rare 100% turnout for tonight's extravaganza from Talentbanq giving a platform for two of the Americana scenes fast risers. No illness, no non arriving baby sitters or guest list abusers, every single person that said they would come, duly made their way to the best venue in Camden Town if not London and beyond!. The drivers of such devotion, providing an excellent evenings entertainment, would be Brooke Law, looking to build on the successes of last year and the Jackson Line who's recent elevation to headliners as far as we can see has been built on the back of old fashioned hard gigging via hosting their own Songwriters Rounds and festival appearances.

Taking to the stage first looking majestic as ever was Brooke Law, personally we here at #TEAMw21 are still smarting that "Home" did not take last years Christmas top slot, Brooke however shook off such concerns and immediately launched into "Millionaires". This version maybe fractionally slower than normal, brought the words vibrantly to life even more than usual. The bridge was sung angelically high, while the choruses allowed Brooke to soar as normal.

Brooke's last single "Help Me" then made for a rocking contrast with a more strident guitar style.One of the songs that first alerted us to Brooke's talent "We All Need Saving" held everyones attention intently, the Green Note, always a listening venue, was pin drop silent - as Brooke would cry out "It's alright", the message of the song really given a chance to sink in.

From an earlier single we were given a sneak peak at Brooke's next single "Gypsy Woman" - she played it first when playing with Sinead Burgess virtually immediately after it was written on a Songwriters Retreat

This already has the feel of being a future crowd pleaser, steeped in an Americana sound. Packed with lyrical detail that we'll look forward to viewing at a later date.

The bad news of a break up has proved fruitful for Brooke's creative process, generating lots of new material. One song #TEAM21 were hearing for the first time was "Angels Calling" - cleverly worded verses matched to a cracking chorus and with a degree of defiant sassiness

"I know that I'm gonna make it!"

This was possibly one of Brooke's best songs yet and if there's an EP of that quality to come then she'll definitely emerge the better for it. A crowd pleasing 4 Non Blondes cover got the crowd singing to the rafters, which continued into "Boomerang" where it elicited the ever rising "Whoas" that go to make the chorus. Such was the reception that naturally there was a request for an encore, for which Brooke played another unrecorded tune.

There's been a lot of talk about AI in the music industry however not sure anyone has actually addressed the issue of AI in song - until now! Another match of melody and interesting lyrics highlighting that it is the unpredictability of real humans that makes life interesting as opposed to automated yet emotionless perfection.

There was a somewhat bleak line

"No-one really loves you for real"

and a passionate plea to "Please don't throw it away"

This really seemed to be the start of Brooke Law moving to another level, with a batch of quality new material and an ever growing fan base of "Outlaws!" - #TEAMw21 look forward to seeing how far she can go.

It has been some years since #TEAMw21 last saw The Jackson Line, not by choice, more with them being based in the wilds of Essex. The one time we had previously covered them was at a Two Ways Home "Round Up" where they impressed with their harmonies and good humour - that night there was not the full compliment of the band and in a curious twist of fate tonight would also see the band missing a guitarist, so arguably we still have not seen them in their prime. They have kept the laughs and harmonies of that previous sighting ,even adding an additional female vocalist, however they also bring a certain musicology to their performance dropping in interesting impressive names that the listener can then check out on their return home.

Things would open with a balled and female vocalist Claire Williams taking the lead for "Just Don't Wait" with the unfeasibly tall Keith Porter providing backing vocals This bluesy country opener would set a high standard from the off, that they would never waiver from - a guitar solo from Jim Cross would also be one of the evenings recurring themes.

A jaunty guitar riff would then set something of a dance vibe off for "Time To Get Over You", with Keith taking over lead vocals and Claire switching to providing the backing vocals. It would also see the bass guitarist looking likely to hit the ceiling as he raised his instrument aloft ,or failing that taking out Talentbanq Supremo Ray Jones with an occasional wild swing as he played. This was easy listening in the true sense of the word, the new tunes soon became old friends with the slightest of introductions.

The slow country rock of "California" would be a perfect blend of harmonies while 2016's "Long Way To Nashville" still sounded good many years later even if it did maybe include a cliche or to too many - this was an early effort and the band have clearly developed a long way since then. A song from the same period "Solutions" was equally as impressive as the day we first heard it in Camden at the Round Up, it made an impression then and the twin vocals tonight reinforced how good a tune it was.

Claire would resume lead vocal duties for "You Don't Even Know Who I Am " - a song recommended by Jeremy McComb - originally sung by Patti Loveless. played with just Claire and an accompanying guitar, Jeremy's choice would prove to be as impeccable as the performance. Another of the songs we recalled from our first encounter with The Jackson Line was "Brave", it has stood the test of time, still feleing as fresh as on first hearing with it's rising chorus, Keith's delivery really imbued the song with a true sense of drama.

Quite possible the first ever Band Of Heathens cover we've ever heard came with "Jackson Station", it was another of the musical history jaunts that marked out this band and the evening as being just that little bit different. A co write with Katy Hurt provided the bands newest song "If You're Doing It For Me" - Claire would take the lead on this beautifully well observed song that managed to seem to be both classic and modern country simultaneously which is no mean feat!

The pace would pick up with the country rocking of "I'm Gonna Get To You", while the intro to "Way Down To To The Bottom" was both hilarious and a big thanks to Jim Cross who doubled up on guitar parts to make up for the missing Line member. The closing song was another of the songs that had originally mpressed us. With it's ridiculously funny wordplay on the philandering ways of the narrator it was a great way to close out their set

The night would close in style with Brooke Law joining The Jackson Line for the finale. The subsequent run through of "I Know The Feeling's Gone" had the feel of a long lost Rolling Stones cover, with a Keith Richard's style guitar riff throughout and the combination of voices were an absolute delight. A thoroughly entertaining and well curated evening!!!




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