The opening date of The Wandering Hearts "In Harmony" Intimate Tour saw them make their long awaited, much postponed, debut at The Little Rabbit Barn whose patrons had not heard a note played since Honey Ryder played their final encore in Mar 2020.
As with all venues they've had to make adjustments to ease their way back into the new reality, capacity has had to be cut by 30% but thankfully it retains all of its atmosphere. It is still the only venue we've ever visited that includes a meal mid way through the evening ( very nice Coronation chicken and a Vegetarian alternative! ).
The thing that makes the LRB such an enjoyable place to visit is undoubtedly the audience, always thankful that somehow major artists are able to be attracted to this small satellite of Colchester,. They probably have their individual favourites yet as a collective they are one of the warmest audiences one could ever to hope play before, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, asking but one thing, that you deliver on your part of the bargain and entertain! Tonight's audience is typical of those so far post Lockdown, still a little wary about singing along, with at least half a dozen or so masks in evidence which is totally understandable - for many this will have been the largest gathering they have attended in 16 months.
First up on the night was Roseanne Reid who chose not to follow up on the MC's intro and Proclaim about her lineage, and proceeded to perform her set almost entirely with her eyes closed, absorbed in the moment. Fortunately between songs we were able to snap her wide eyed!
Speaking with a Scottish accent yet singing in a pained American one, she opened with "All I Need", heartfelt lyrics written to a gently picked tune that captured the attention from the off. In truth that would set the template for much of her set but within those parameters there were to be lots of different shades
"Out In Space" from "Trails" her debut album was even slower and more spoken therefore allowing her Scottish accent to come through more. Beautifully wordy with additional syllables tumbling out just as it seemed a line was about to end. A change of pace came with "Daisy Chain" written during Lockdown which came with a positively jaunty and upbeat tune though lyrically it still seemed a little dark A return to "Trails" kept things reasonably uptempo with "It Is You" which was so pure Americana, all we needed was a campfire to gather round, as it finished Roseanne broke out into a broad smile at the reception she was receiving. Roseanne's most streamed song is "Sweet Annie" her only duet, that just so happens to have Steve Earle on it, with Mr Earle indisposed, tonight's version is solo, it sees Roseanne swaying from foot to foot as she sings, her delivery again pained as she enquires "ain't it enough?"
A trip to Roseanne's 3 track "September Tapes" EP - for "Couldn't Wish More For You" saw her once again deliver another almost spoken word heartfelt lyric that kept the listener engrossed. A judicious cover came in the shape of a Justin Townes Earle's "I Ain't Waiting", a lovely uptempo blues song that received a huge reception.
Closing with a final song "I Love Her So" from "Trails" she saved the best till last with a truly beautiful love song delivered with the true passion required to make the song an unqualified success and the perfect note on which to end her set.
Next up was Canadian Bobby Bazini whose strong singing voice was counterbalanced by his in incredibly quiet speaking voice. He was hailing from Quebec and his pronounciation of "Quaran-Tyne" suggested that perhaps English was not his native language. He was another member of the newly formed closed eye performing club.
Opening with "Never Let Go" he revealed himself to possess one of those voices super smooth yet rough around the edges - in the style Paulo Nutini. Standing to his left dressed in black was his comparitively diminutive backing singer Vanessa her had little to do for the opening minute or so apart from shuffling from side to side, before being called upon.
Bobby had a clutch of soulful Americana tunes, "The Only One", saw Vanessa play a more prominent role on the chorus as Bobby passionately poured his heart out. Things turned a bit more expressive and uptempo with "Oh Katy" with Bobby throwing in the occasional high soul vocal along with some funky guitar playing, An increase in drama came with "Blood's Thicker Than Water" with its chorus that gradually increases in intensity.
Bobby and Vanessa had a somewhat torturous journey to the venue that ended with them making the journey on foot, only to be told that they could have phoned and been picked up. Bobby's latest album "Move Away" yielded the emotional punch of "Back To The Start" packed with personal details. From past love to present love seemed to be the order of the day with "I Wanna Know What It Is?" a genuine feel good song. The soulful vibe continued with "Where The Sun Shines" once again Bobby finding the soulful high notes, with Vanessa allowed to really shine on this chorus.