Robby Hecht & Caroline Spence, The Harrow, High Wycombe, 26th August 2018

It is a healthy sign for the Americana scene in the UK when a smallish pub in the countryside outside High Wycombe attracts 50 people to see an hour and a half of charming live music. Caroline Spence and Robby Hecht each have their own careers and solo albums but obviously they take great delight in writing, recording and gigging together. Their new album, ‘Two People,’ is traditional Americana with warm, personal songs well written and intimately performed.

The gig was extremely well received and both of them were very much at ease telling frequent stories and joking between the songs which endeared them to a very receptive audience. Their two voices blend well together, creating some lovely harmonies as well as taking turns as the backing singer for each other.

Caroline’s voice has resonances of a young Nancy Griffith and it is hard to imagine her performing anything other than pure Americana and country. They played two sets with a selection of their solo numbers performed together opening the second half. They alternated between lead and rhythm guitar at will and although the sound system was not up to mainstream venue standards, it provided a warm and well-defined sound with the lyrics never difficult to follow. Listening to their album on the way home, however, showed them in a far more professional light with a much fuller and richer sound which allowed their voices to shine, helped by upright bass and cello. Highlights of the set were ‘A Night Together’ and ‘Hotel Amarillo’ alongside the final two numbers, ‘Parallel Lines’ followed by an encore where they sang ‘Two People’ which, strangely, is not on the album.

As a duo and individually they have talent and are clearly passionate about their song writing. The fact that they were not tempted to include a couple of covers showed their confidence and they left behind them a well-satisfied and thoroughly entertained audience. At the moment, their music is not the stuff of huge venues and big production but all of the elements needed to take them further down their chosen path are well in place and certainly there was a lot of goodwill in the room to help them on their way.

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