The Under The Apple Tree tour is an excellent premise put together by the UTAT in conjunction with Live Nation whereby 2 main acts ( Wildwood Kin & Ferris & Sylvester ) tour the country picking up additional local support acts along the way, hand picked by Bob Harris himself, giving all the acts access to a wider audience. As with all UTAT events there seems to be far more packed in, than can ever be delivered but with an early start and some speedy changeovers everything runs spectacularly to time. Each of the bands chosen tonight offer something a little out of the ordinary, it makes them hard to pin down but intrigues you as to what will come next in their respective sets
First act of the evening is The Blue Highways, our C2C research had marked them as one to see, and we spectacularly failed, twice catching their final song being played out to ecstatic crowds, but at least we knew we had this date up our sleeves. The Blue Highways in the end are almost drip fed to us across the first three numbers with initially just Callum Lury taking to the stage, casual in his checkered shirt and jeans, looking for all the world quite unassuming until he starts to sing. His voice somewhere between Chris Stapleton and Bruce Springsteen is both rich and huge as it fills the room with "What's A Man To Do?", an intense ballad.
The band doubled in size when percussionist Theo Lury took to the stage, and with Callum switching to electric guitar "Tonight My Love", where with each verse a relationship went through a different phase, as in "Tonight my love let's go drinking", then "walking", then "dancing". With Theo joining in on vocals this became a powerful duet. The band then once again doubled in size with the arrival of Jack Lury on electric guitar and bass player Peter Dixon for "She's Crying".If you're voice sounds a bit like Bruce Springsteen then a Bruce cover is certainly the order of the day, and it was a pleasant surprise as the electric guitar intro led into "Tunnel Of Love", a quite excellent version.
"Lost Soul" from the the bands highly recommended "Take Me Away" EP, was also great with its high tempo chorus, before they moved onto possibly our favourite song of the night - "Have You Seen My Baby". It was possibly the most overtly country song of the set but it was the vulnerability in Callum's voice as he became the person almost wandering in a daze, unable to accept that his girl had gone, aimlessly looking around, the new album will be worth buying for that track alone!. With a finale that saw bass player Peter transform into a sax player, "What Kind Of Love?" closed out a great start to the evening.
Next up. long term #TEAMw21 favourites the Worry Dolls, who took the opportunity to give us hint to some of the tunes likely to feature on their second album. First off though it couple of familiar songs, with Zoe's delicately plucked banjo taking us into "Don't Wast Your Heart On Me". The second song "Tidal Wave", came with the recommendation to check out their video for the song, With Rosie mainly taking the lead vocals on this one and Zoe doing a little banjo dance, this was great stuff, with the Dolls occasionally turning to face each other as the played.
From there on in it was new songs all the way, and immediately it seemed that they have absorbed a lot while on their travels, the new material seemed to show them to be painting their music across a much bigger canvas, the song "Fireflies" had a lovely gentle guitar line until the chorus kicked in with rising "Whoa's". Another new song "Leave Your Light On", only three weeks old came with nice details of the thinking behind it and had Rosie singing with a degree of echo, the Worry Dolls had taken were really taking their Americana credentials to another level. Another new song "The River Goes My Way", saw the volume upped and continued the rich run of new material. As they announced their final song there were palpable "Ah's" cried by the crowd, once again starting by first facing each other, "Endless Road" was a lovely duet, with Zoe's banjo cutting nicely through. It was relatively short and sweet but great to see them on stage again.