A truly life affirming gig. Three hours, fifteen musicians on stage most of the time and a real musical camaraderie amongst the troupe.
Transatlantic Sessions revisits shared roots between Celtic and Americana musicians, so it say’s on the tin and indeed that is the blend of the evening. The project’s founding musical directors are Dobro maestro, Jerry Douglas, and Shetland fiddler and all-round legend, Aly Bain who lead a band that includes John Doyle, Danny Thompson, Michael McGoldrick, Russ Barenberg, John McCusker, Donald Shaw and James Mackintosh.
Then comes the guests, ex-Civil Wars man, John Paul White, Singer/Songwriter, Tift Merritt, multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, legendary singer, Jim Lauderdale, the lovely Irish folk singer Karan Casey and from Scotland the ever wonderful Eddi Reader.
The two part show either sees the main band in full instrumentation jig flow or one of the guest artists up front with the band playing along. Most people on the stage seem to have new albums out (this is a running joke all night, even if someone has not got a new album out, they say they have!) so, there is plenty of new music to hear.
Throughout the night most people get four songs each and it’s a real contrast is styles between them all, there is never a moment where the enjoyment dips.
Tributes to Guy Clark and some other lost souls of 2016 are handled beautifully. The key to the night is the humour, stories and banter between everyone on stage.
This was the first visit to Cambridge for this annual tour so, let’s hope they are back next year. A truly wonderful show.
credit: Murdo Macleod