David Morris played a solo set tonight at the Druids Arms in Brighton as one of the regular fortnightly Brighthelmstone Promotions ‘Still the Weekend’ sessions.
Brighthelmstone are well known for putting on some brilliant Americana-focused gigs at places like the Palmeira in Hove or Brighton’s Green Door Store. The Druids slot gives them a small intimate space to introduce some brilliant acts, from talented local musicians to national acts from their ever-increasing roster of players.
David Morris is lead-singer and songwriter with the excellent Red River Dialect, who are one of the finest folk-rock bands to have emerged out of Brighton (via the West Country) or anywhere in recent years. Their album ‘awellupontheway‘ is a masterpiece, one of the best albums of the year. It was a real treat to hear David playing solo versions of some of these great songs, along with some choice cover versions, such as a gorgeous version of Dylan’s ‘Shelter from the Storm’. David has a warm soulful voice, which captures the intricate lyricism of the songs, and he is a fine guitar player. If you get a chance to hear Red River Dialect don’t miss them, but in the meantime we’d highly recommend listening to the album.
Photograph and words by Jon Southcoasting
The phenomenon of playing a whole album live from start to finish isn’t a new one. Things really kicked off when All Tomorrow’s Parties introduced their Don’t Look Back series in the noughties, and the world and his wife have joined in, including Electric Soft Parade who got back together last year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut Holes in the Wall. Thomas White obviously enjoyed the experience because over the next few months he’s revisiting his back catalogue, starting last night with his 2008 solo debut I Dream of Black.
Support came from Red River Dialect, who launched their Americana / Country tinged debut album at the Prince Albert this Monday, and from local folk legend Mary Hampton, who would have been worth the ticket price on her own.
Thomas White and his band came out in their now trademark African gowns and played the album in full as billed, in the dark save for a b-movie* projection onto the wall behind them. There were some familiar faces in the band : his brother Alex on keyboards as well as assorted other people he’s played with in many of his other collaborations. Thomas explained towards the end that he writes his albums to be listened to as a whole, despite seeming a little embarrassed by some of the proggy instrumental interludes, which he attributes to the album being made when he was very stoned. It works as a whole too, thanks to the fact the record takes in a wide variety of styles and has stood the test of time. The band had learned the album and nothing more, so for an encore we just got the one song – a replay of one of the more upbeat tracks.
Thomas White is back on 9th August playing his second album The Maximalist, and again on 22nd September playing his most recent release Yalla.
*knowing my luck, it’ll turn out that it’s a really famous film that I should have spotted
Red River Dialect started out in Cornwall but two of their members now live in Brighton and last night they played a blazing set supporting the US rock 3-brother dynamo that is Pontiak at the Prince Albert.
The five piece play a brand of folk-rock, sort of in the style of an early Fairport Convention but with elements of harder rock and funk in the mix. Lead guitarist Simon Drinkwater is an excellent Richard Thompson, and the rest of the band played with power and verve, all the more impressive for this being their first time on stage together for nine months since the various band members moved to various parts of the country.
The band have also recorded a new album which judging from the clips on their website sounds superb. You can hear them at their blogspot page http://redriverdialect.blogspot.com. They’re currently looking for funds to put the album out on CD and vinyl and if you like this music and want to see it released I’d highly recommend heading over to said blogspot and checking out the options for purchase. This is going to be a limited release which should be really special.
Photographs by Southcoasting