Saturday, December 18, 2010

Live and Local - Ben Waller & The Telltale Signs

Yesterday evening was the Christmas 2010 edition of Acoustic+, which I have mentioned in posts before.  It was a cornucopia of local acts and artists, each performing just a very few songs.  It was all interesting but, for me at least, one act stood out and here it is.

Ben Waller & The Telltale Signs, live in Frome, December 17.
They performed three songs of which this was the first - and it really was acoustic in this case.  It was one of those revelations that ranks amongst the best of those that I experienced at festivals during the summer.  They could have been on one of the stages at EOTR 2010 and would not have been remotely out of place and neither would the instruments.  Five-string banjo, fiddle and a rather wonderful Hohner 26-key (two octave) piano accordion and one of some vintage I suspect. 
While 2010 seems to have become the year in which banjo finally became acceptable once again on this side of the Atlantic, for it never went away in US country music, at the very least any band with a piano accordion will catch my attention.

You might think three tracks could offer little variation - but that is not so.
On the second song that piano accordion had been put back in its case to be replaced by this - a very new-looking autoharp; the first that I have seen at Acoustic+ and only the second that I have seen live - First Aid Kit at EOTR 2009 being responsible for the only other.
On the final song of their set Tina didn't play anything but did a tap dance routine to the song instead - something that The Unthanks also do - and now you can see why this was the most compelling set of the evening.

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