Summertyne Americana Festival – Sunday, Free Stages, The Sage – Gateshead, 23rd July 2017

On the banks of the Tyne stands the silver bauble that is the Sage, its otherworldly structure home this weekend to some world class performers, surely covered elsewhere on these pages. The bit that always interests me is the free stuff, not just because I’ve been living in Yorkshire a long time, but because it’s always a source of some of the most interesting and new bands.

First up on the outdoor stage was Bradley Creswick and his massive band, a really lovely gentle start to the day.  Classic old time (Tyne?) western swing, Bob Wills etc.  A truly accomplished set of players and whilst we waited for the rain nothing could be better than sitting in the gloom listening to them.

Next up was Robert Vincent with his “shifty” looking band (according to the compere). Image aside, it was an astounding set and one I’d been wanting  to catch since hearing his brilliant album early this year.  It was a thunderous show to match the weather, and with Michael Gay on guitar it was awesome.  Vincent is on a roll and it’s a hell of a ride.

Slipping into the concourse stage out of the rain it was the excellent Luke Whittlemore up next, troubadour singer song writing at its finest.  A quiet, damp (probably) and sedate crowd were soon warmed up by Whittlemore. Testament to his quality is the audience’s diversity and the fact he goes down so well.  We get a smattering of new material which sounds great and it looks like the new record, whenever it appears, is going to be a cracker.

He’s got the blues plus a dash of jazz and a chunk of reggae, plus a whole heap of rain. Errol Linton and his super tight band really make the grey sky turn blue.  It’s a modern day take on the blues – imagine The Streets do the delta – not normally my bag, but a great gig.

Also fighting the rain was Texan big hat Jonathan Terrell. His latest record is mint and with a couple of tracks written with David Ramirez in the set you know it’s going to be bang on.  The drumming on the brolly as the heavens opened still further didn’t distract from the fact that 100+ stood to watch despite the downpour.

The UK Americana Music Association sponsored the concourse stage, showcasing some of the country’s finest, with Rosenblume, a name new to me. The nineties’ sounding jangle power pop drew rapturous applause from a packed central dome at the Sage, a sort of US college rock, Toad the Wet Sprocket meets Roachford soul with the odd multiple part harmony chucked in.

Also on this stage was adopted local, Chloe Chadwick, playing as a trio.  Her voice is huge, a real rock voice, and it booms out to fill this huge echo chamber.  The crowd is full of hometown fans, and if she can roll this out across the country, and there is no reason why she couldn’t, she looks destined for big things.  She plays my favourite from her latest album, Big River, as well as a cover of Loving Arms.  She’s a great addition to the UK AMA family and if you are part of this family you should add Summertyne to your diary.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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