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Lost City

Live: Redlands Palomino Company

23 March 07 words: Alan Taylor
"The band seemed split in half, talent and humility on the left, egos, chewing gum, F words and cigarettes on the right.."

“Take me home” the new album from Redlands Palomino Company, sounded like a winner on its first listening, a lazy hybrid of Welsh/Londonshire, Country Americana. But, it all pretty much went down hill at the Maze from the moment co-lead singer Alex Elton-Wall, told the story of his “bad day”, ending with the punch line “and then I saw you fuckers”, to a tumble-weed response from the Maze Americana faithful. Maybe he could have got away with it, had they outshone the faultless support band Southern Tennant Folk Union, but sadly…. they, and most of all he, didn’t.

With his out of tune banter, hat, greasy hair, beard, glasses, Levi/lumberjack attire, complete with perpetual smoking cigarette, beer bottle and matey/jokey “lean backs” into the band, Elton-Wall himself was perfect material for a Peter Kay like comedy parody of a “Country-Americana rocker”. The Palomino Company were only rescued from polite applause on offer, by the lift given to their delivery, by the unassuming but clearly talented female co-lead Hannah Elton–Wall. She almost single handedly pulled them from the abyss of “Spinal tap” oblivion with her soaring voice delivered with a respectful and much needed grace.

The band seemed split in half, talent and humility on the left, egos, chewing gum, F words and cigarettes on the right. Pedal steel maestro David Rothon fortunately meshed effortlessly with the female side of the band leaving the macho “school of rock” antics to the rest of the boys. During the Bob Harris Country radio interview the same night, Alex somewhat out of character, described his wife prophetically as the “best thing in the band”. That said, the album is worth a listen they actually sound much better than they looked in Nottingham that night (perhaps Alex really did have a bad day) . . . . .. rock n’ roll!

Support band, the London based Southern Tenant Folk Union described as a “bluegrass sensation” were a hard act to follow. Their tight delivery and masterful harmonies exemplified on the excellent “Cold flagstone” which showcased the talent of this new outfit, who blended a fascinating blend of Ralph Stanleyesque, mandolin and banjo fired foot stomping, base driven entertainment.

Led ably by the Belfast born founder and banjo maestro/song writer Pat McGarvey, STFU are a must see live band. They will go down a storm at the forthcoming summer festivals, combining a rich blend of musical talent with a high octane Appalachian styly, punctuated with subtle harmonised ballad laments. The excellent lazy mountain fiddle sound of Frances Vaux and the acid mandolin of Eamonn Flynn were the perfect backdrop for the soulful voice of co-lead singer Oliver Talkes. I just couldn’t resist buying the album. They set a standard for the evening, which the crowd warmed to and RPC sadly, failed to better.

Redlands Palomino played at the Maze on 22nd March 2007.

Redlands Palomino Company website

Southern Tenant Folk Union

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