Not so much a Slaughtered Lamb, as a Stuffed Lamb as it was standing room only for our third meeting with Jake Morrell in as many weeks, the others being support to Lindsay Ell and a showcase during Country Music Week at the Daytime Hub at the Borderline. This time round he was headliner and the band has been boosted by the appearance of Tom Wright on electric guitar.
The evening was to begin though with a welcome extended support slot for O&O, Obadiah Jones, and Orian Peled looking particularly fetching in a stunning blue outfit took to the stage and immediately opened with perhaps their least typical song. "Truth Comes Out". It is the latest single from their EP and has a distinctly Civil Wars feel about it, it suits them well though and is certainly a sound they should work some more in. The more typical sound that comes to mind when thinking of O&O, is that of James Taylor or Andrew Gold, there is something in Obadiah's guitar style that always seems to take me back there.
O&O are able to effortlessly able to shift vocals between each other, each taking a verse within a song "Coming Over" being an early example, the song also containing a great Obadiah solo.. Things slowed with the ballad "Rolling On", while "Some Days" once again harked back to the guitar sound of the 70s singer songwriters on this perfect piece of pop. There then followed a moment of comedy when O&O played a cover as a duet that they came to via a Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton version, where Sheena was doubling for Dolly Parton. To match the video clip, they played it with Orian initially off stage, only rejoining the stage at the start of verse 2. It turned out to be a great version of Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight" proving it doesn't matter what route you take to get to a great song as long as you get there.!
It was then time for a couple of singles, the uptempo "Travellin'" with stomp box giving some additional backing, before the slower more wistful "Tears In The Rain" the first single from their recent EP. There was another cover version, this time with a version of "Jackson" with O&O catching all of the humour of the Hazelwood / Sinatra version. Their extensive set concluded with "Saturday Morning", which included a little snatch of Elton John's "Saturday Night's" although O&O were far to nice to complete the chorus title "alright for fighting!). Good fun and enjoyable company.
There was no fancy introduction for Jake's band just a "1 2 3 4" as they started with the punchy pop of "Heading for Heartache". There were to plenty of new songs, "Freewheeling" had some impressive 4 piece harmonies on the "Keep On Rollin'" chorus, while "On My Way" described as "Brand brand brand new" had plenty of "Oh oh oh's" for future crowds to join in once they know it.
As mentioned earlier the The Slaughtered Lamb was well and truly rammed to the point that with only the piano Intro under way, there were huge cheers on the announcement of "Wire & Thorns", the incessantly catchy song that opened so many doors for Jake. It was back to Jakes first ever EP for "Winter Hitchhiker" almost performed as a duet with keyboardist Laura Suess, which waits until the half way point before upping in pace and volume to become an all out a rocker.
Being headliner and with a packed out venue seemed to really give Jake an additional skip in his step, and the band stayed on top form throughout, "Not Too Late For New" slowed things down a little but was sublime with Tom Wright's guitar line ringing out through the chorus,
In a very confident solo section there were songs from either end of his career, "Garden Daze" written when he was a 16 year old, saw backing from a number of Uni friends, while at the other end of the spectrum his parental tribute "Half Your Heart" already looks set to be one of the stand out songs from the new EP due in early 2019.
A big drum intro announced that the band had returned with "Hey Darlin'"
and the impressive songs continued, the Fleetwood Mac vibe of "Show Me The Way" or the audience participation on "Kindness". The closing run of songs was impeccable, "Long Way Round" with the full band sounded superb and needless to say a surprise cover of "Wagon Wheel" lifted the roof off the place. Already breaking his curfew there was no time to leave stage so it was straight into the excellent "Englishman" before finally signing off with the new single due out in January, "Home". It's a great song choc full of hooks and ended with the audience clapping and singing along in full voice which again bodes well for the 2019 EP.