Live Review: Furnace Mountain, Green Note, London – 5th April 2024

Furnace Mountain is a four-piece string band originally from Virginia but now based in West Virginia – pretty close to the respective borders.  The group comprises Aimee Curl (bass guitar, vocals), ‘Fiddlin’ Dave van Deventer (fiddle, vocals), Danny Knicely (mandolin, fiddle) and Morgan Morrison (bouzouki, vocals). The quartet are on their first tour of the UK for several years and this gig at Camden’s Green Note was the first show. We learned Knicely and Curl had flown in only that morning.  Promisingly, the gig was sold out.

With no support act, the band kicked off the first set around just after 20:30.  There was a nice mix of songs and instrumentals.  Each of the singers took a lead vocal with the others providing harmonies.  Similarly, each of the lead instrumentalists got to solo. Morrison introduced ‘Ooh Belle’, a Barr Brothers song, telling the audience how it had been a favourite of Whispering Bob Harris’s and had been a factor in their first trip over the Atlantic. The band also covered Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘I Want You’.  After that we got the raucous ‘Turbo Dog’, largely instrumental but with an audience call and response.  ‘Factory Girl’ with some instrumental flourishes closed the first set.

Photo: Richard Parkinson

After the break the second set caught fire with the band’s combination of  ‘The Crow And The Cradle’ and ‘The Road To Berryville’ (complete with a tease of ‘My Favourite Things’).  The players really jammed out on the tune with each of the instrumentalists , including Curl, playing their socks off as the music veered through as many genres as fit into americana for around 10 minutes or so.  Berryville also featured in the next song as the location for ‘Five Miles Out Of Town’, preceded by a tale from Morrison about how she quit her job after having to go back to the office after the pandemic and was happier for it.  The set wound up with ‘Bad Girl’ followed by a Cousin Emmy cover before closing with another Barr Brothers song, ‘Clouds (For Lhasa)’.

Being the Green Note, the exit from the stage involved a bit of a shuffle around it before Furnace Mountain were called back for an encore of a rollicking ‘Hangman’s Reel’ complete with audience sing-along. Band and audience were all beaming, happy to have spent a fine musical evening with one another.

About Richard Parkinson 116 Articles
London based self-diagnosed music junkie with tastes extending to all points of big tent americana and beyond. Fan of acts and songs rather than genres.
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