High & Lonesome Festival
On Saturday 14th November, Left Bank Church and the Brudenell Social Club hosted the small but perfectly formed High and Lonesome festival, spread out across the two venues over one day, and filled to the brim with new and established artists alike. The overarching feel of the festival was relaxed, with acts taking inspiration from folk and country music, as well as straight up acoustic singer songwriters.
The acts were perfectly chosen. As always with festivals, I didn’t get to see everyone, but my personal standouts started with JR Green, a young duo who took to the stage armed with a guitar and accordion, and by the time their set finished I was convinced the accordion was a dying art – why don’t people play it more often? JR Green injected some energy into the afternoon, along with beautiful lyrics and some slightly rough harmonies. I was sold. My next winners were Fitzwallace, a local country group clearly paying homage to everything American, right down to their outfits, but their arrangements were impossibly tight, and their music was just unabashedly fun. Drawing quite the crowd were Leeds’ based band Dancing Years, who bought their perfect string arrangements and uplifting sweeping melodies to the stage with some beautiful indie folk songs.
Scotland’s R.M Hubbert had people roaring with laughter between songs, but they were equally captivated by his exquisite flamenco guitar playing, and the confessional lyrics he sometimes whispered over the top. Hubbert had some wise words to say about love during his set, and expressed a wish to focus more on it that day – a sentiment echoed by one of the headliners, Julia Holter, who started her set with a cover dedicated to the tragic events in Paris the night before. The audience of music lovers was visibly touched. Holter was a perfect finale for the festival, a critically acclaimed name closing out the night with her unique sound and beautiful vocals, in a suitably dreamy fashion.
photo: Luke G Joyce