Monday, 2 February 2015


Live review

The Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford

Kim Lowings has a gorgeous voice it's just a shame there are times when she seems hesitant to let it off the leash, fortunately even on a low burner, her singing is a delight.

Kim Lowings  Picture Louise Lowings
What has become clearly discernible, while the group were playing at the friendly club at Ashwood Marina, is how she and The Greenwood have gelled as a unit to where they produce a wonderfully harmonious sound.
Kim's gentle strumming of the dulcimer sounds lovely under her voice and she presents such a sweet and diminutive figure from where you would never think a voice of such passion and power would emanate.
With Dave Sutherland on double bass and backing vocals, Tim Rogers on cajon and percussion and Andrew Lowings on guitars and bouzouki they blended beautifully to create a haunting sound on songs such as Monsoon and Phoenix.
This galloping almost eerie sound they create, with Lowing's haunting vocals coming over the top of her dulcimer, seems to be something of a signature style. Occasionally she does sound like the great June Tabor as her voice trawls for the deeper notes.
They are in the process of putting together their second album and as Rogers said before the gig they are working to finance the album but they are still at the stage where they just enjoying and having fun with what they are doing.
Being pretty much on her home turf, she originates from Stourbridge, the crowd at the club, were always going to be part of the show, more so than is usual.
Maggie's song, which is based on a story she has heard about one of her aunts, was an example of where Lowings seemed to be holding her voice back. This is such a shame because the clarity and sound she produces is just a sheer pleasure to indulge in.
She did sing some beautiful ballads such as Off To Sea with Sutherland providing the gentle harmonies on the choruses.
They are a very subtle and understated band, there are no fireworks, whizzes or bangs but they don't need that stuff, the sound they produce is often almost ethereal.
A Lowings opened the really jaunty tune of Alfrick named after a place in Malvern. It does have the feel of renaissance music and, as K Lowings brought in the dulcimer, you could almost see people walking around an ancient market with jugglers, dancers and jesters.
It's one of those tunes which they build up adding layer after layer and each time you think it's going to stop, but it doesn't.
The Greenwood from left, Dave Sutherland,
Tim Rogers, Kim Lowings and Andrew Lowings
Picture Jay Parker
It's during tunes such as this you get a real sense of how well they play together as a collective. It came through again on another dance tune, Wild Cock which was followed by the Wonderful Mr Clark and which has almost a Christmas feel to it.
She brought out a new song called Regrets which she sang a cappella and as good as it was, it was another occasion when she should have really pushed her voice up a notch.
With Willow, again you got to hear what is becoming a signature style for them with Lowings dancing the tune along with her dulcimer and once more she brought in that deeper resonance.
You really got a sense of just how sweet and clear Lowings voice can be with their version of A Dark Eyed Sailor.
The Allotment is another of the group's tunes which could have stood a little more oomph and towards the end it was almost sung as a round with Sutherland. Towards the end of the set The Bonny Labouring Boy once more had that rolling, undulating sound created by the combination of Roger's cajon and Lowings dulcimer.
Lowings & The Greenwood are always a pleasure to hear and the arrival of their second album is something to look forward to because you just know they are going to keep getting better and better as time goes on.

The band will be playing Reading Folk Club, on Sunday February 8. Tickets are £6 and the show starts at 8.30pm.
On Wednesday February 11 they play the Bedworth Folk Club, Coventry. The show starts at 8.30pm and there is no ticket price but donations are expected from the audience with a proposed minimum of £3.
Then for St Valentine's Day the four piece play Pattingham Village Hall, Wolverhampton. Doors open 7.30pm. The night is in aid of Midlands Air Ambulance and tickets are £5 in advance and £6 on the night.

The Mike Harding Folk Show