A Little Country Comes To Town.

The stage tonight was laid out to resemble Lazy Joe’s Live Lounge where there was going to be a country show. There was a back flat and two side flats with 50’s  American iconography. American logo’s for Beer, Country stars pictures and musical instruments were painted onto the backdrop to present a nice little venue for the show that was about to begin.

Concerned that the show might be a little corny as Country and Western Shows can be, one waited with bated anticipation. Delighted to say instead of anything corny and passé onto the stage came Dominic Halpin, Shelley Quarmby, Donna Marie, Ben Wiltshire and Johnathon Price and what a killer combi they turned out to be. Collectively known as Dominic Halpin and The Hurricanes, they were up to the task!

There aren’t the superlatives to cover the richness of the vocals, the classiness of the musicianship and the general construction of this show that went a long way to proving this reviewer completely wrong in his misgivings this is a top, top quality show.

Blazing their way through hits and the lesser known Country Music songs,  Dominic Halpin and The Hurricanes are what is needed to deliver a shot into the arm of the country scene. I am not suggesting it’s flagging but this band will do the genre no disservice instead it is one’s prediction that they will bring the music to the attention of others who might otherwise not engage.

Why? You ask. One’s answer is easy, these guys are talented and stupendously good musicians great singers and wonderful ambassadors for the genre.

With enough instruments to start a small orchestra the stage and sounds were alive with the sound of rhythm guitars, fretless bass, keyboards, drums, banjo, dobro,  percussion and acoustic guitar all went a long way to turning this very good night into a great night.

Shelley Quarmby is to be singled out for the very raw power her voice has to offer, and the way she uses it gives the song shade and light and brings it to life. She is a stunning vocalist and one is aware she could sing a tax bill and make it sound it appealing.

The other singers too, Donna Marie and Dominic Halpin had great voices , the sound was set so critically spot on that all the harmonics and the beautiful quality of the voices was never in doubt. The light show was pretty impressive too working in sync with the drummer, they looked fantastic and added a little vava voom!

Regular listeners to Country Music and Country Music radio will already be aware that the scene is spreading fast still.  Music is still being written and boundaries are blurring somewhat but all for the greater good one would argue. Why not Summer Time Blues with True Love Ways? Great songs: all finding their way to their rightful home. After all what’s Country Music? American Folk Music!  They are folk songs because Woody Guthrie once pointed out, “It’s called Folk Music , Coz I ain’t seen no cows singing them.” He had a point.

The stories are rich and varied. The old clichéd country song where they lose the farm, the baby gets TB, Daddy shoots himself and the man gets killed in a mining disaster aren't nearly as prevelent as they were. Don’t get me wrong there are still are loads of those songs but the point being this band is breathing new life and adding new life to a scene that has been around for over 100 years.

One always feels emotional hearing Patsy Cline Sung well but one gets emotional very easily when a job is being done well, one is humbled as one is witnessing a thing of beauty. That was how it felt tonight.

Donna Marie the other female vocalist and keyboard player, guitarist, percussionist gave a absolute roof raiser with “Red Neck Women,” in fact there were many many golden moments where things were just being done amazingly. Show stoppers we call them Moments of pure clarity and freshness that give the music a magical feel.

This is a great show, a really great show, if you get chance to see them and you like your Country Music, grab it with both hands. I can promise you a very good time.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

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