Since I’ve moved to Georgia from the UK, one of the few habits I’ve retained has been my weekly listen to the Bob Harris Sunday show on BBC Radio 2, courtesy of the BBC iPlayer. It was while listening to last Sunday’s show (April 27th 2014) that I heard him play Aretha Franklin‘s Do Right Woman performed by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo.
Hearing this brought back memories of them performing a brilliant version of this at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford, back in October 2013. This was the closing number to what had been an excellent evening’s entertainment. The evening hadn’t started too well as I’d got drenched walking to the church (walking to the church, now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be writing on my blog!). My mood was soon brightened by the support act Chris T-T, who if I recall sang a couple of songs about Winnie the Pooh. Anyone who sings about Winnie the Pooh is alright with me!
As to Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, the acoustics in the church, enhanced the songs they performed, with occasional lightening flashes through the stained glass windows adding to the atmosphere. They played a few songs from their latest album Dear River, the highlights for me being the title track, which they opened with, and Letters. They also performed a couple of soundtracks, my favorite being the theme from Wallander,Nostalgia
For an the encore, Chris T-T, took the Frank Turner role, in Fields of June
and a damn fine job he did too! The evening finished with the aforementioned Do Right Woman, and Emily Barker more than did justice to this classic.
I was lucky enough to meet Emily and the members of the Red Clay Halo after the gig, and they kindly signed a copy of the setlist!
So I’ve mentioned Oxford, where does Nashville fit in? Well during the previous month, I was lucky enough to attend the Americana Music Festival, with my then fiance, and now wife, Tara. During the festival, the BBC hosted a BBC Introducing Stage at the Hard Rock Cafe, and one of the acts was Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo. With all due respect to the other two acts who performed that evening, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, were by far and away the best act.
And here’s a YouTube video of Disappear from that very set
However, as good as they were, the highlight of the evening was getting to meet the compere for the evening,“Whispering” Bob Harris himself. It was on his show that I first heard Emily Barker, and she is the latest of so many artists that I’ve been introduced to as a result of listening to Bob Harris‘s radio shows. For more years than I care to remember I’ve been listening to his shows and to meet him in person was great, and what was even better was that he was such a nice person, taking time out at the end of the evening to pose for photographs and sign autographs.