The atmospheric St Bride’s Church was the venue for this excellent night of music presented by Mellowtone as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival. Three performances, all different and all special came together to show how beautiful and inspiring music can be.
Rachael Jean Harris
Opening the bill this evening is the solo performer Rachael Jean Harris. A soulful, powerful voice with acoustic guitar that conjures up depth and melody. These songs are poetic and meaningful. An intriguing acapella start with the song Dig was immediately followed by songs described as being about people who live in prison. Crystal Speaks and Footsteps are highlights. These songs are complex and interesting. Listening was a real pleasure that I suspect would be enhanced even further by knowing the stories behind the songs. An excellent start to the evening.
Jenny Coyle and Calum Gilligan are Limerance. Two voices, one guitar and quality songs. Sharing a microphone their voices complement each other perfectly. The delivery is confident yet modest and they really shine in this church venue. Songs such as My Turn, My Old Sky and Shine On are delicate and heart-warming pieces that uplift without being over sentimental. The overwhelming impression they give is that they are enjoying themselves hugely and this is so infectious. Watching them made me feel so good. Harmonies and guitar are perfect throughout. If you close your eyes it could be Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris singing Love Hurts in 1973. I would love to hear a Limerance version. Sublime.
It is so appropriate that in this striking church venue Alan O’Hare’s Only Child drew together a gathering of the faithful. On this occasion, a ten-piece version of the band, including a heavenly four-piece string section, played a rapturous set to an appreciative flock.
The enthusiasm of the delivery from the whole band showed how enjoyable these songs are. Only Child have a growing catalogue of songs about life, family, connections and the importance of belonging somewhere. These are songs about what brings people together and what can drive them apart. St Saviour’s Square, Dirty Work and Whole Wide Universe are just some of the highlights shared this evening. Their brilliant cover of The Waterboys Fisherman’s Blues fits seamlessly into the set both in sound and spirit but it is testament to the strength of their own songs that I would have gladly swapped this for another original from the Only Child catalogue.
This was a gathering of the faithful but there were also new converts. Headliners Only Child are gaining a reputation for quality. The word is spreading. One such new fan told me after the gig that it was so good to hear songs about family and emotion. I know what she means. This is soul music in all the ways that matter.
Denis Parkinson is a singer songwriter based in Liverpool. He performed at Liverpool Acoustic Festival 2016 and Threshold Festival 2016. He performed at the Liverpool Acoustic Kazimier Garden afternoon as part of LIMF 2015 and played at the Lantern Theatre, Liverpool, for We Shall Overcome 2015. He was a finalist in the Liverpool Acoustic Songwriting Challenge 2014 and 2015. He plays regularly in and around Liverpool and has a longstanding enthusiasm for music of all kinds. In 2015 he released an album titled "Liverpool Skyline". In real life he works as a lecturer at University of Liverpool.