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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

Two Ways Home / Michael Clancy - The Green Note Camden

Having only just witnessed an excellent set at Buckle & Boots ( which we hadn't really intended to cover but such was the joy created it seemed a shame to let it pass unnoticed ) #TEAMw21 find ourselves afforded the opportunity of an extended spell with Two Ways Home via the good folk at Talentbanq. Often confined by the duration of a festival set or the limitations of the Round Up. this was a chance for Two Ways Home to delve into their archives with seventy five minutes or so, to dazzle and delight the enthusiastic crowd. They would be joined by Michael Clancy on guitar, piano and backing vocals as required.

Things would commence much as they had at Buckle & Boots with "Closest Stranger" - Isy on shaker, Lewis on acoustic guitar - the obvious difference being Michael Clancy at the back of the stage providing little electric guitar flourishes to great effect. The closing section where the vocals entwine and overlap is always a highlight.

The theme of the past would crop up in a number of songs throughout the evening, the first being "Polaroid Kid" observing

"We'll never get old - but we sure are getting vintage"

The segueing into Lady A's "Need You Now" a masterful way to finish.

With a natural banter flying around the evening was always going to be good humoured.

For "The Speed Of Anything", the joy of seeing them fire out the words of the fast paced chorus was a delight, while "Waiting On Luck" saw the power of the 3 part harmonies and Isy on mandolin,on this sage advice to take things into your own hands. Michael's contributions on guitar as well as the 3rd set of vocals made this a delight - Isy in particular would hit a long sustained note to great effect.

The new single "Feet On The Asphalt" got to make it's live debut, boosted by Isy contributing on zither with massive sweeps of her right hand. Described as a "Deeper cut" - "Outlaws" was a nice visit down memory lane, Isy's Mandolin and Michael's guitar made the song seem so vibrant that you wondered how it had slipped off the main set lists. Isy and Lewis's vocals would would join together perfectly to make it a stirring chorus.

"Standing Still" from the "Break The Silence" album turned into something of a tour de force, Isy & Lewis's excellent vocal efforts supported by Michael Clancy doing some judicious picking of chords - they seemed able to generate the volume of five people. At this point Michael removed his guitar to become a keyboard maestro - the first contribution being on "Conquer The World" another track from the Two Ways Home debut platter. It's a song that sees TWH run one line into the other on the verses before hitting the chorus with its stand out line

"What is a man if he's not a believer?"

It certainly stirred the Green Note crowd into some spontaneous arm waving.

The introduction into "Tattoo" gave an alternate sympathetic way of looking at body art - this time it was Lewis's time to hit the extended notes to great aplomb. Another trip to the past came with "Nostalgia" with Isy prevaricating before going on to deliver the most delicate of vocals. After the John Farnham cover at Buckle & Boots, not sure anyone was expecting a Sam Fender cover of "Getting Started" - the 3 part harmonies certainly helped make it a success.

TWH previous single "Signals In The Smoke" came with a grand piano intro from Michael. The piano certainly added an extra dimension to the overall sound - the final section for instance allowed TWH to forget about playing their instruments altogether to just concentrate on delivering their vocals. Michael would return to his role on guitar for the closing songs - the delicate ballad "Better Days" saw him providing an effect akin to strings at one point, while Lewis and Isy delivered perhaps their most concentrated vocals of the whole evening as the intensity built up.

The final songs would up the pace, with the rootsy rock of "No Longer Mine" giving extra volume from Michael's electric guitar with Lewis issuing an encouraging "Come on Clancy" as his contributions became ever more intricate. The set would close with "Broken Hearts Club" co written with the Cains which would prove to be celebratory way to close with affording the Green Notes audience a chance to find their voice and clap their hands in celebration.

Looking at the set list as we left it looks like time constraints robbed us off "Push & Pull" but it did not stop the evening from being an enjoyable unqualified success.

The evening has commenced with a short 5 song set from Michael Clancy - who announced himself with a rather low key "Hi". Even among the hardened Americana fans around #TEAMw21, all were unaware that Michael, perennially to be found as a hired hand guitarist, even had a solo career let alone that he had been releasing material since 2016 so it was a rather pleasant surprise to find he had a fine singing voice.

He opened with "An Honest Heart" a ballad, which had a slight Irish folky feel to it ,accentuated by Michael's silky smooth timbre and playing. His second tune "Songbird" is the title track from his already released EP, it had a classic singer songwriter sound to it and was enough to send us looking up the recorded version when we retired to #TEAMw21 towers, to find it even better than tonight's fine version. There was another new song in "This Heart Of Mine" which seemed full of heartfelt lyrics while "Frail Love" produced by TWH Lewis, showed Michael to have quite the range, singing in a slightly pitch at times for the song. The upbeat final song "Soldiers" is also already released in a full band format which was hinted at in this stripped back acoustic version.




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