Sunday 21st May 2017
On a beautiful and sunny May evening, the setting of the beer garden outside the Left Bank is definitely the place to be with its scenic views and serene atmosphere, and that, coupled with a nice cold pint in hand, was the setting in which to enjoy the pre-summer good weather and calm vibes before this evening’s entertainment.
The music on offer tonight matched those calm and chilled out vibes, as this was the bluegrass, folk, country and beyond stylings of guitarist and vocalist James Hickman and fiddle player Dan Cassidy who wowed the audience at this gig put on by the good people of the Wild Hare Club.
With just the two musicians playing to an intimate audience in the cosy quarters of De Koffie Pot, the scene was set early on with some humorous introductions. The familiarity with the audience was good to see creating good vibes within and with that, we were away with some energetic bluegrass to get things off to a flying start.
This was followed by the old-style transportation ballad ‘Jim Jones At Botany Bay’. These two styles of American folk were played with passion by Hickman and Cassidy, with the latter in particular wowing the crowd with his fiddle playing.
Cassidy, who is the younger brother of the late singer Eva Cassidy paid tribute to his sister with a rendition of the well-known American folk standard ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ they both recorded for her album ‘Songbird’ that had the crowd watching in awe.
The duo mixed things up with some jazz on a cover by jazz man Colman Hawkins, and some folk (as well as a quick history lesson regarding the lyrics) before the Bob Dylan cover ‘Buckets Of Rain’ was dispatched in an inspiring manner.
After a quick break, Hickman and Cassidy returned with some stirring Celtic tunes with the use of the fiddle delivering the goods again while Hickman ably played the guitar with a passionate strum.
Hickman later played a lullaby tribute to his son before playing a song that denounced the use of social media in modern life, ably backed by Cassidy before ending the gig on a high with some more bluegrass in the form of the song ‘Walk Of Time’ before taking things way back with a jaunty tune from the 1920s to finish things off.
All the way through the gig, Hickman and Cassidy showed they have a great chemistry with their personalities shining through. They worked very well together as the pairs humour was put to good use all night treating the crowd like old friends, constantly bantering with them, as well as, each other for the duration.
All in all, this was a laid back evening with an intimate and warm atmosphere soundtracked by a wide range of comforting music. Hopefully, it won’t be long before James Hickman and Dan Cassidy are back in Hereford, entertaining the crowd again.
Review & Musician Photographs by Gavin Brown
Photography by Gavin Brown