Live Review: The Rosellys (Green Note, London)

Amy Headlines, Live Review

It’s Friday night and we’re back at the Green Note in Camden, this time to see The Rosellys. The queue and sold out poster suggests that we aren’t alone in our love of this band’s British Americana.

Support act Hannah Rose Platt opens the evening’s performances and from her first number the audience is enchanted by her pure and haunting vocals. Platt is an artist destined for great things in the world of Americana and her songwriting is beautifully crafted, offering the audience a quality and surprising depth that belies her age.

In the same way that Rebecca Rosellys casts a spell with songs that reference historical events (“Asheville 1784”, “Queensland Skies”), so Platt uses vignettes of mundane, daily events that through the magic of her lyrical and vocal skills are brought to life in full Technicolor in songs like “Dancer” and “1954”. Her band, in the form of Ryan Williams and Ryan Treblicock on guitar, mandolin and double bass, provided outstanding percussion that shone throughout but we really saw them sparkle on “Halfway Home”.

Reprising the first song she performed live, “Hello Central Give Me Heaven” (published in 1901), Platt sings with a timeless luster and the invitation for Rebecca Rosellys and Alyssa Bonagura to provide harmonies on the exquisite “Little Screws” (written by Bonagura’s father Michael) closed the show on a stunning high.

The short wait for The Rosellys saw the venue pack out and, as the band took to the stage, the audience was ready to party. From the opening bars of the too-appropriate “Camden Town”, a nod to the early days of Simon and Rebecca’s relationship spent there, we were swept along by their performance. (However, by the look of her boots, I suspect Rebecca now shops in Texas rather than Camden Market!). With the crowd in high spirits, the setlist offered the perfect Friday night mix of old and new material, hitting the spot with “Cocaine Train” and “Maryland”. Simon and Rebecca’s layered harmonies had the audience in full voice accompanied by the mesmerizing wail of Allan Kelly’s ever-superb pedal steel.

The Rosellys have a fantastic back catalogue from which to draw and as a full band tonight (we saw them play an exceptional duo set a couple of weeks ago) the focus was on up-tempo numbers showcasing their musicianship. Sitting in the audience, the respect they have for each others’ talent is palpable, as each member receives their moment to shine.

“The Only Way She Knows” offered bassist Matt Kirby an opportunity to let loose with a slinky, funky beat as Rebecca and Simon blazed away on acoustic guitars. Lest the audience peak too soon, Rebecca slowed things down with her soft, honeyed vocals on “Ashville 1784”, before the band were back in full form for a storming “I’m Not that Old (But I’m Not Eighteen)”.

New songs “Dark Clouds or Blue Skies” and “Don’t Let The Whiskey Win” were pared back to allow the listener to reflect on the lyricism of these new creations. The precision drumming from new boy Andy Watson suggests that although Andrew Bridges will be missed, the beat is in very good hands. Taking inspiration from Chris Stapleton, “Don’t Let The Whiskey Win” is a stunner, with opening flashes of steel that grow to a rousing close. “Rose Tinted Glasses” allows Simon and Rebecca to switch leads and, a true anthem for any British Americana lover, “Red White and Blue” led by Simon on vocal and fiddle was one of my highlights.

Road trip song “A Thousand Miles” was another opportunity for the crowd to find their voices and share in the nostalgia of the long drive from Tennessee to Texas but it was the closing full jam session that really stole the show as each member of the band shone through “Empty Pockets” and a stomping “On The Porch”.

Last time I reviewed The Rosellys I said that Alan Kelly’s pedal steel stole the show. This time around he had some serious competition from Simon’s fiddle. In fact, if the Devil went down to Camden Town on Friday night he would have left in lows spirits…although Simon’s brother would probably have bought him a consolation drink in the Dublin Castle after the show!

The Rosellys are in seriously fine form and, with their summer tour only just kicking off, they are a must-see this year.

  Setlist
  1. Camden Town
  2. Cocaine Train
  3. Maryland
  4. Only Way She Knows
  5. Number One
  6. Asheville 1784
  7. I’m Not That Old (But I’m Not Eighteen)
  8. Dark Clouds or Blue Skies
  9. Don’t Let The Whiskey Win
  10. Rose Tinted Glasses
  11. Red, White and Blue
  12. A Thousand Miles
  13. Caught Me At A Bad Time
  14. Empty Pockets
  15. On The Porch
  Tour Dates
  • May 26 – The Golden Lion, Bristol
  • May 28 – The Star Club, Bedford
  • May 29 – LeeStock Festival, Suffolk
  • Jun 02 – Royal Bath & West Show, Bath
  • Jun 03 – Live On The Wye Festival, Redbrook
  • Jun 04 – Live @ The Little Rabbit Barn, Colchester
  • Jun 05 – Country Soul Sessions, London
  • Jun 10 – Loves Café, Weston
  • Jun 17 – Kingsdown Wine Vaults, Bristol
  • Jun 18 – Sussex Country Show, Sussex
  • Jun 24 – Summer Pie Festival, Palma (Mallorca)
  • Jun 25 – Buckle & Boots Festival, Manchester
  • Jul 01 – The Kings Head, Chepstow
  • Jul 06 – The Blue Piano, Birmingham
  • Jul 09 – Napton Festival, Warwickshire
  • Jul 17 – Truck Festival, Oxfordshire
  • Jul 23 – The Golden Lion (With the Lavens from USA), Bristol
  • Jul 30 – Loves Café, Weston
  • Aug 13 – North Shropshire Big Weekend, Welshampton
  • Aug 18 – Alexander, Chester
  • Aug 19 – The MarketBar, Inverness
  • Aug 20 – The Golf Club, Isle of Lewis
  • Sep 03 – Down By The Riverside, Newport
The Rosellys are a five piece Americana band from Bristol. Regular tours to America clearly influence their song writing and live performances with close comparisons made to artists such as Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings to name a few.

The Band formed when Rebecca (guitar/vocals) met Simon (guitar/vocals/fiddle) in 2005. They've toured extensively across the UK, Australia and America – notably the Southern States where San Antonio, Texas has become their second home. Allan (pedal steel/accordian/dobro) joined the band in 2006 – recording on all of their albums to date including Drive Through The Night (2006), One Way St (2008) and Two Much Like Trouble (2011).
Drew (drums) joined the band in 2013 followed by Matt (bass) in 2015 creating a powerful Alt-Country sound.

The Rosellys have performed live on BBC Radio, KSYM Radio (USA), UKCountryRadio.com and at various festivals including Chepstow Folk Festival, FactoberFest, Worcester Music Festival, Crawley Folk Festival, Tingestock, Lazy Bishops Festival, The Woodzie Festival (New Braunfels, USA) and Maverick Country Music Festival, winning their song writing competition in 2010. Venues played include The Musician (Leicester), The Grain Barge (Bristol), The Canteen (Bristol), The Tower of Song (Birmingham), Casbeers (San Antonio, USA), Floores Country Store (Helotes, USA), The Cove (San Antonio, USA), Come Down And Meet The Folks (London), Enochs (Monroe, USA), Donn's Depot (Austin, USA)
Capitol Theatre (Tamworth, Australia) and the world famous Aubade Theatre (Lecompte, USA).
“Hailing from the UK, The Rosellys are really quite an exeptional band that proves the British country music scene is by no means dead and buried”
(Maverick Magazine)
Rebecca and Simon have been lucky enough to record guitar, backing vocals and fiddle for their favourite UK based country rock band 'The Redlands Palomino Company' on their third album 'Don't Fade', and also on their latest CD 'Broken Carelessly'. Hannah Elton-Wall (Redlands Palomino Co) blessed The Rosellys third album 'Two Much Like Trouble' with beautiful backing vocals and The Rosellys are very excited to have Hannah back in the studio for their new album 'The Granary Sessions'. Her husband Alex Elton-Wall (also Redlands Palomino Co) has recorded and co-produced The Rosellys new album due for release later this year

(Biography sourced from: Artist Website)

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About the Author

Amy

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I live for the experience of live music. Nashville is my kind of town and life feels pretty good at a country concert in the sun with a cold beer in hand.My appreciation of country came via my Dad’s collection in the 70’s and 80’s and I spent my teens listening to Springsteen. On a trip to the states about ten years ago I flicked to the CMT channel and Brad Paisley’s Whiskey Lullaby had me hooked. Since then my love of the genre has seen me travel to the US regularly to attend concerts, festivals and more intimate songwriter sessions in some great venues. It is terrific to see artists making the return trip this side of the Atlantic but equally refreshing to see some fantastic homegrown talent gaining recognition. This is an exciting time for “new country” and I am very happy to be along for the ride.