Beautiful music from Dana & Susan at the Harland

This gig report is long overdue, as I’ve had a few weeks off from promoting gigs and been concentrating on my own musical adventures (but that’s another story). But I wanted to mark the fact that we had a lovely evening at the Harland Café back in June, with Dana and Susan Robinson from the USA. The Vermont-based husband & wife duo played a delightful couple of sets in the intimate candle-lit surroundings of the Harland, for a very appreciative gathering of music lovers.

The evening started off with a few floor spots, with some fine singing from Sue Macfarlane and Issy Howie. Yours truly sang a couple of songs too – I decided to sing a couple of my own compositions after being encouraged in this by songwriter Dana. My friend Kathy Cookson (of the Backyard Buskers) was kind enough to accompany me on guitar despite never having heard the songs before, and valiantly kept up with the weird chord changes!

The Robinsons then showed us how it’s done with a finely judged couple of sets which deftly mixed original songwriting in a folky style, with classic old-time Appalachian fiddle tunes. Both are skilled multi-instrumentalists and swapped instruments several times. Dana’s fine fiddling was complemented by delightful 20150611_220626subtle clawhammer banjo playing by Susan, and they delivered a lovely rendition of Roscoe as well as a funky version of Glory In the Meeting House among others. Dana’s songwriting and guitar picking was well showcased too. Dana and Susan have been hardworking troubadours in recent years, touring almost constantly and frequently visiting the UK where they’ve built up a faithful fan base. Following their Sheffield date they were continuing to criss cross the country for another couple of weeks, including a visit to Music at the Buildings hosted by friends of mine in Sussex. The Robinsons led a full day of instrument workshops as well as finishing off with an evening concert! Apparently they are planning to take things easier after the next year or two, so make sure you catch them while you can, on their next visit in 2016!

Check out Dana’s latest road essay here.