Starting the night off with their own song ‘Starry Rain’, The Band of Pilgrims (BOP) eased us in with some easy-going light acoustic accompanied by a hint of folky twang. The band hails from Somerset, so it was endearing to see the local talent perform at Trowbridge. Their sound is the kind that everyone can enjoy relaxing, swaying, or tapping their foot to. As their act went on, they picked up the tempo with another original ‘Dark Horse’ which had the crowd clapping and foot stomping along.
Second, on stage was local act Concrete Prairie. Fresh from their debut album release and right off the bat, they sprung to action with what I can only describe as ‘get-out-of-your-chair-and-dance’ fast-paced folk, indie, and western, bringing to it all their own brand of bruised Americana. The lead singer, doubling as a guitarist, was especially full of energy and character, bouncing around the stage and inciting a smile from the crowd and other band members. Their music is equally expressive, wearing its heart on its sleeve. It was a romping delight to hear fiddle and guitar strings twang in harmony.
Then, seeing us through with the well-deserved spot of the headliner, Matt Owens began strong by showcasing three songs from their new album ‘Beer for Horses’. Originally a member of the world touring band ‘Noah and the Whale’, Matt is now solo. Full of experience, musical skill, stage presence and charisma, he carried us with his sensational voice, guitar and harmonica. I was particularly moved by his guitar solos, and impressed by his ability to seamlessly tune his instrument between songs while telling us joke-filled stories to keep us entertained. It was as if the man had two brains! Of course, credit also goes to the incredible band that played with him. Borrowing influence from many of his experiences touring in the US and the rest of the globe, it was a blessing to see Matt Owens bring that to us in Trowbridge’s own Village Pump.
All in all, ‘twas a night that increased my hopes for getting Trowbridge firmly set on the musical map. The choice of bands was thought out, so props to the event organisers and all the work that goes on behind the scenes. The Band of Pilgrims, Concrete Prairie, and Matt Owens all complimented each other’s styles and the evening flowed through with country song enjoyment.
Review by Alex Ransome