Live Review: The Rosellys (The Green Note, London)

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It was back up to North London on Friday night for the opening night of The Rosellys album launch tour. Living south of the river can make one lazy about heading north, but when the venue is the award winning Green Note and the band are the latest signing to UK’s Clubhouse records, we knew that quality was assured. Over the last few months my introduction to Americana has broadened my music library and I have been consistently impressed by the quality of Clubhouse acts. This is a label that allows their talent to grow and develop at their own pace and this is exactly what The Rosellys have been doing over recent months in working on their latest album The Granary Sessions.

The Rosellys are a 5-piece band (Rebecca Rosellys, Simon Rosellys, Drew Bridges, Matt Kirby and Alan Kelly) who make no apology for their love of Americana. Musically, they blend English accents with lyrical references to both the UK and US alongside well pitched bass, feisty drum beats and stunning pedal steel and fiddle to create a sound that walks the fine line between Celtic folk and Americana. Their music is engaging and uplifting and having seen members from the band performing with Don Gallardo earlier in the summer I was eager to experience them in their entirety.

Playing to a sold-out venue the evening was opened by People, a two-piece folk/bluegrass combo from Hampshire. Joe Boon and Bryony Lewis performed a well-received mix of orignals interspersed with covers. Whilst they would benefit from having a few more of their own songs, they have talent and I look forward to seeing them develop their act in the coming months.

After a short interval, The Rosellys squeezed their full band onto the tiny stage (Alan was limited to the pedal steel as the dobro simply wouldn’t fit!), opening with “A Thousand Miles”, followed by the foot-tapping “Not That Old (But I’m Not Eighteen)” they treated us to a fabulous 15-song set that covered their new album with a couple of older songs thrown in. Having previously performed alongside the Redlands Palomino Company, Simon and Rebecca have honed their skills as musicians and songwriters and their new material is impressive.

Whilst Rebecca takes the lead vocally on most songs and is very comfortable on stage, Simon’s energy stands him out as the front man without overshadowing his fellow band members. His ability to switch between vocals, electric and acoustic guitars and fiddle creates a pace to the proceedings and his humorous asides engage the audience. Despite this, the show was really stolen by Alan’s impeccable pedal steel playing – you really would be hard pushed to find much better in Nashville. Rebecca and Simon were clearly excited to share their new music with the crowd and interacted with the audience with ease when introducing their songs giving the evening a relaxed and intimate manner.

Highlights of the evening included Simon and Rebecca’s acoustic guitars and harmonies on “Maryland” which created a beautifully layered sound against Alan’s pedal steel. Similarly, the paired-back fiddle and guitar combination with Rebecca’s haunting vocals on “Ashville 1784” created an intensity for the true story of a frontier family dealing with the loss of the man of the house “it’s just me and you, were three but now we’re two and I will save us”.

The pace was picked up with “Cocaine Train” from their 2011 album Two Much Like Trouble and the rousing “Red White and Blue” showcased the band in full jam session as Simon took the vocal lead with lyrics that address the question of authenticity of an English band making Americana music. “Why don’t you sing about your own country they say, why don’t you sing about your old fashioned ways…”

“It’s Not Me It’s You” was introduced as Rebecca’s breakup song and bounced along to Drew’s drumbeat with a powerful flash of anger in Rebecca’s vocal that worked for the subject matter. “Only Way She Knows” was a rock n roll blast, with Matt’s bass taking center stage and Simon blazing on acoustic guitar. The set closed to the aptly named “Camden Town” which had a Celtic sound and lyrics that evoke the sound of the time when Simon and Rebecca first met. The band encored with “On The Porch” a fun loving song that immortalises the San Antonio front porch of their friends the Lavens where no doubt there will be many more jamming sessions to come.

As a band The Rosellys are impressive musicians who clearly love to perform. Simon and Rebecca turn out songs with smart and sassy lyrics that make you think and smile in equal measure. Their current UK tour continues throughout September before they head back to the US for a slew of dates over there and I would urge you to check out their British Americana before they leave our shores.

The Rosellys new album The Granary Sessions is released on Clubhouse Records on September 7, 2015.

  1. A Thousand Miles
  2. Not That Old (But Not Eighteen)
  3. Maryland
  4. Ashville 1784
  5. Cocaine Train
  6. Made A Choice
  7. Red White and Blue
  8. James’ Song
  9. It’s Not Me It’s You
  10. Number One
  11. Only Way She Knows
  12. Rose Tinted Glasses
  13. Empty Pockets
  14. Camden Town
  15. On The Porch
 Tour Dates
  • 31/08 The Bug & Spider, Calne
  • 03/09 Acoustic Buzz @ The Beehive, Swindon
  • 05/09 Album Release Party @ The Golden Lion, Bristol
  • 08/09 The Greystones, Sheffield
  • 11/09 Loves Cafe, Weston Super Mare
  • 12/09 Le Pub, Newport
  • 13/09 The Horns, Watford
  • 19/09 Tower Of A Song, Birmingham
  • 20/09 Midland Fair Game, Shropshire
  • 27/09 Come Down And Meet The Folks, London
  • 28/09 The Musician, Leicester

Full details of the tour can be found on our Events page.

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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), 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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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.