Lloyd Williams and Ellie Ford

It’s almost becoming the norm, to do something special for the release of your first EP or album. And if it’s Friday night then it really ought to involve playing a gig in a church.

This is undoubtedly a good thing, because Brighton seems to have an array of fabulous churches who now open their doors to beautiful music. We’ve seen and reviewed church-launched  releases by Woodpecker Wooliams, Time for Tea, Your Garden Day and now Lloyd Williams and Ellie Ford taking on the massive beautifully austere environment of St Mary’s church in Kemp Town.

And a rather stunning event it was.

Ellie Ford

Ellie Ford‘s 5 track EP ‘Show Night In’ has been on constant rotation since we first got hold of it a week or so ago, and live Ellie delivered the full range of her harp and guitar-fuelled folk-pop featured on the EP, plus some  additional elements. She was even joined on stage by Tiago of Time for T and Andrew Stuart-Battle of the Common Tongues for two numbers including a lovely Americana tune which made me think of Linda Rondtadt fronting the Flying Burrito Brothers. Two favourites of ours from the EP also stood out, the wonderful ‘Too Late’, sounding as good as anything Laura Marling has written, and  the gorgeous ‘Low’ which you can listen to below.

Lloyd Williams

Lloyd Williams played two sets either side of Ellie, and if you haven’t heard his stunning frantic soulful folk-infused songs you really are in for a treat. I cannot recommend the new album ‘Time’ highly enough for fans of Nick Drake and John Martyn. Those references are pretty obvious and not entirely accidental, as the new album was produced by John Wood who was responsible for the sound of the Nick Drake albums and most of John Martyn’s classic oeuvre back in the 1970s. That’s a definite win as the production is top quality and so are the songs. It’s hard to pick out any single song, but particular favourites for us at the moment are the opener ‘Go Without’ and ‘The Foolish (in time)’.

Live Lloyd is an extrordinary guitarist and banjo player with a powerfully moving vocal style, which takes in elements of both Americana and classic British folk. There’s a deceptive simplicity to some of the songs, with a ripping speed-folk style powering an array of complex chords and riffs, and sensitive subtle lyricism. Catch him live as soon as you can.

For a flavour of what we heard from the off in St Mary’s have a listen to the video for new song ‘Satire’ which does not feature on the album but is a powerful introduction to Lloyd’s live set in which it features.


[Review and Photographs by Jon Southcoasting]

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