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Concert Review

Saltburn Golf Club Friday 14th  April 2024


  Carrie Martin supported by

Gary Bliss & Ronnie Brown

Saltburn Folk Clubs concerts have gone from strength to strength.

Bliss and Brown opened the night with an excellent version of 'Ruby Tuesday'.  Their set was a polished performance. The pair have a lovely laid-back feel to their music, Gary Bliss, on vocals and left-hand guitar, Ronnie Brown on expressive harmonica.  Gary produced a lovely warm sound from his handmade Loudon guitar, while Ronnie is a master of the harmonica.  This was emphasised by songs like ‘Cocaine Blues’, a reworking by Jackson Browne of a number attributed to the Reverend Gary Davis, but probably dates from 1905.


A crowd favourite was the Blind Faith number, ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’.  It’s a great song by Steve Winwood that really suited the duo’s style.  Other classics included the Johnny Cash cover ‘Hurt’, and a Christy Moore cover ‘Ride On’.


Gary Bliss and Ronnie Brown are a superb duo.  Ronnies' moody harp underscoring Garys' laidback vocal and sensitive guitar.  Incidentally Ronnie Brown is also a published author with a crime thriller, ‘Restless Souls’ already available. The sequel, ‘Unquiet Minds’ is to be released on 28th May this year.


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Carrie Martin is fast becoming a name to be reckoned with.  A singer songwriter of exceptional talent and modest personae.  Carrie opened with ‘Dancing Dragonfly’ with its rolling open tuning guitar.  As she said, Carrie likes to play in open tunings and a collection of guitars provided ease of a quick change between songs.  Incidentally all guitars had names.  ‘Maria & the Moon’ was written to accompany a novel by Louise Beech.  It is a haunting melody which highlighted both Carrie’s soaring voice and driving guitar.  ‘Melanie Jane’ was a captivating instrumental .  The piece contained subtle guitar runs that Carrie weaved effortlessly through the piece.


Little Al, a vintage Viatone guitar was chosen for a song called ‘Melanie’. A song of remembrance and of strength of character.  Carrie’s songs have a depth and a pleasing intensity that immediately grabs the listener; powerful ballads like ‘Evergreen’, the title track of Carrie’s latest album.  An excellent songwriter, Carrie balanced the sound captivatingly with expressive feeling.  Light and dark emanated  from her finger-picked guitar, her voice soaring over all.  The songs varied from the celebratory to pathos.  ‘What If’ , a song written for her Mum when she lost her brother was from the latter category.  It was a moving piece, beautifully played and sung.  As well as an excellent guitarist, Carrie also played the dulcimer, (called Demelza), which added a  baroque component and extra spice to both sets.  Throughout the evening, Carrie showcased a phenomenal array of songs from her albums.  A lively banter linked the songs. It was a fabulous evening. Carrie had a beautifully expressive voice, matched by lively and intricate guitar accompaniment. 


Excellently supported by Bliss and Brown, it made for an exceedingly memorable night.


Mark Hadlett

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