A lovely friendly evening in the intimate atmosphere of the Muse was kicked off by a very welcome return visit to Brecon by Bryony Sier.
Bryony won the hearts of the audience, as always, with an eclectic set based around her thoughtful and confessional self-penned songwriting, backed up by some accomplished guitar playing. She added a few favourites from Springsteen, Adele and the Killers, all done with her characteristic modesty, charm and flair.
The Mark Harrison band delivered an immersive, melodic old-time authentic blues sound, with Mark switching seamlessly between his resonator and 12-string guitars. Propelled along by the formidable skills of Charles Benfield on bass and Ben Welburn on drums, they created a rhythmic groove drawing upon elements of the old-time greats, evoking the ghosts of of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Rev. Gary Davis.
Mark Harrison’s songwriting is particularly impressive: drawing upon deeply traditional roots, he summons up timeless tales of Cadillacs, speakeasies, factories, funerals and working men with empty pockets. But as you listen to his hilariously dry, witty and hard-bitten chat between songs, you slowly come to realise that he’s actually writing about the present day – and it’s all just as relevant now as it ever was.
Mark made it to Brecon via the unintentionally scenic route – although I suspect we may be waiting a long time for him to write my suggested song about the perils of dodgy sat-nav. We hope there were fewer wild horses on the way back, Mark, and that we’ll be seeing you again before very long.
Thanks as ever to the Muse and to everyone involved in contributing to this great evening.
Photos by Barry Hill
Review by Jim Kerslake