The Long Road Festival: The Front Porch Stage - Alyssa Bonagura
Alyssa Bonagura is fast becoming our resident American in the UK and she is hoovering up fans with each show she plays. Highlighted by #TEAMw21 as being one to watch she did not fail to deliver. Having seen her recently play nearly 2 hours nonstop at The Bedford - the only question was how much material was she going to have to leave out?
Initially dressed with an additional layer to head off the autumnal nip in the air, that arrived as sun went down - Alyssa was soon warming the audience and indeed herself up and would soon discard it. With Steve Shirley in tow on guitar and backing vocals, this evening would be a mere appetizer for the wealth of work that lies in in Alyssa's back catalogue - and with a show of hands in the crowd indicating that about 50% had not seen her before - this was a chance to win over some more converts which she would surely proceed to do.
Opening with "Other Side Of The World", Alyssa was easily able to create a feel good atmosphere on the Front Porch stage with a large standing crowd huddled around it. By the second song the crowd were already in singalong mode for "New Wings"
The brand new single "On It" revealed itself to be exactly as Alyssa described it - "Sassy". It was rootsy and saw Alyssa firing out the lyrics at some pace. The chorus when it came was immediately accessible.
Ever the entertainer - the always impressive "Make My Own Sunshine" saw the crowd divided between men and women for a singalong - to hilarious results with Steve Shirley making the case for the men!!
The sets undoubted special moment came by public request with "Road Less Travelled" - recorded in 2016 this was a classic piece of country and one of the best three minutes of the whole weekend.
Having said that it was followed by the equally marvellous "Rebel", slightly slower than the rest of the set but when Alyssa sang
"I'm a believer - trying to figure out who I am "
the audience hung on every word.
This version also managed to segue into "Wild Mountain Thyme" before reverting back into "Rebel".
Definitely on something of a creative high at the moment Alyssa simply seems to get better with each performance.
Those in the London area will get another chance to see another of her amazing evenings with friends on the 26th Sept at The Bedford in Balham with an appearance promised from Jade Helliwell whose new single Alyssa has produced.