It was a drive over the bridge yet again for my first visit to The Golden Lion in Bristol. This time it was to catch the latest tour by new Clubhouse Records signing Don Gallardo and even newer signings The Rosellys, together with Hannah Aldridge from Muscle Shoals and an extra band in the form of The Red Rooster Moving Company from Oregon, USA. So it was a distinct American flavour to the evening's music.
First up we had the Red Roosters who played a lively set to warm up the crowd.
I'd been looking forward to hearing Hannah Aldridge live for the first time after listening to her album Razor Wire. And I was totally transfixed. She was really brilliant. Just Hannah & her guitar. I was so captivated I made the most basic error of not writing down what tracks she played and forgot to get a copy of her setlist. Really shoddy.
But all I can say is 1. Catch her live!!!!! and 2. Get Razor Wire!!!!!!! Hannah Aldridge - She's Worth It !
Here's a full Hannah Aldridge set to enjoy
The Rosellys didn't have far to travel as they're from Bristol. Newly signed to the best label in the UK - Clubhouse Records - they are shortly to release album number three, The Granary Sessions, produced by another member of The Clubhouse Family, Alex Elton-Wall from The Redlands Palomino Company.
Here's a video they have prepared for the release
Led by Simon & Rebecca Rosellys, the band play a varied set of Alt-country. Veterans of several US Tours, the band clearly relish the opportunity to play to a hometown audience and are soon into their stride. They open the set with Empty Pockets from their second album, Two Much Like Trouble.
The ten song set included old favourites such as Taste The Weekend, Redwoods and the brilliant Cocaine Train.
Tonight was a chance to play some new songs from the new album and they took the opportunity in the shape of Not That Old, Camden Town, & Red, White and Blue.
The new material is of a high quality indeed and bodes well for the new album out in September.
The band ended their set with a rocking version of On The Porch.
Don Gallardo has crossed the pond from his Nashville home to the UK to support his new album Hickory and tonight we get the opportunity to see him up close and personal before he heads off to various festivals around the UK including the prestigious Maverick, Truck & Tingestock festivals.
I was lucky enough to catch Don Gallardo (and The Rosellys) when they supported The Dreaming Spires at The Louisiana, again in Bristol, at the beginning of the year.
Don has recently released his magnificent album Hickory and it is already one of my albums of 2015. You can read my review here
That night, Don played solo - tonight, he had support in the form of fellow bandmate Travis Stock and various Rosellys and current Dreaming Spires keyboard player Tom Collinson.
This line-up gives the songs an added dimension live and is more in keeping with the sounds that can be found on the album.
Don opened the set with Hickory's opening track, the sublime Down In The Valley.
Hickory is packed full of brilliant songs such as Carousel, Ophelia and Banks Of The Mississippi and Don treated us to almost the whole album live.
Don has an easy manner and this translates well into the live format with his soft American burr introducing the songs to an enthralled Bristol crowd.
Don also dipped into earlier albums to give us songs such as the gorgeous Broken & Home.
The Rosellys & Travis Stock together with Tom Collinson provided the perfect backing band for Don to convey the depth in his songwriting, ably deputising for his own band How Far West.
Don switching to his Washburn mandolin.
The fifteen song set just flew by and the 1 3/4 hour set didn't seem long enough tonight.
Almost the last song, was an 'everybody get on stage' version of Neil Young's Helpless from Crosby Stills Nash & Young seminal album Deja Vu.
Don has been widely supported and appreciated by his fanbase in the UK and is currently getting the recognition he deserves from those in the know in UK Americana circles. And following this appearance his stock (no pun intended) is certain to get higher.
Following the Gig, Don comes out and talks to the audience about his music and shake hands, proving what a nice guy he is. Don Gallardo is a true Southern Gentleman and deserves all the success he'll undoubtedly receive.
Black & White photos courtesy of the highly talented music photographer John Morgan. Please check out his website below
All colour photographs by Macwood Fleet
Twitter - @dongallardoband