Having recently played at London’s acclaimed Green Note, Cecil Sharp House and the Bristol Folk Festival, Moore Moss Rutter – former winners of the BBC Radio Young Folk Award – delighted their audience in South Petherton on Saturday night.
Befitting a true Somerset gig, an open bottle of Perry’s ‘Morgan Sweet Cider’ sat on the edge of the stage, alongside the band’s instruments, three mic stands and a tangle of orange and black cables, as the trio of Tom Moore, Archie Churchill-Moss and Jack Rutter entered the hall. The air of expectancy that had been building amongst the audience changed to appreciation when the trio opened their set with ‘The Iron Bell’ – an instrumental written by Archie. After which, the band transitioned into a skilful and compelling rendition of a mid-19th century American folk song, ‘Wait for the Wagon’, collected by a friend of the group, George Hall from Hooton Roberts in South Yorkshire.
Giving English traditional music the love and respect it deserves, with dreamy reinterpretations.
Verity Sharp on Late Junction, BBC Radio 3
Possibly the most powerful and breathtaking part of the night came when the trio performed ‘The Dalesman’s Litany’, a song from the early 1900s. Introduced as being “about as Yorkshire as you can get in song format” by Yorkshireman Jack, he went on to sing this woeful tale as if it was his own life laid bare, ‘It’s hard when folks can’t find their work, Where they’ve been bred and born… From Hull and Halifax and Hell, Good Lord, deliver me.’ The performance was vocally outstanding, and provided a platform for the band’s artistry and their ability to craft exquisitely interwoven musical threads. It was an utterly captivating performance to cherish. A gem.
They play with utter sincerity, sensitivity and a refreshingly natural flair, it places them in the very heart of the new British folk scene.
fRoots describing the new album ‘II’
Whilst clearly an outstandingly talented band who write and perform their own music as well as interpret the work of others with imagination and care, Tom, Archie and Jack are also refreshingly down-to-earth. Indeed, across the evening the audience was invited to “get comfy”, “enjoy this rather bonkers set of tunes” and learn about their everyday lives, such as Archie’s past frosty morning cycle rides to work nine hour shifts as a life-guard.
The fourth ‘member of the band’ must be the 2.5 melodeon which features in every tune. From Henry Purcell’s ‘Hornpipe in E Minor’, Moorman’s ‘The Courting Gate’ to the band’s many compositions, in Archie’s arms the bellows of the beautiful Castagnari melodeon extend and contract to create extraordinarily beautiful arced forms and surface patterns with each movement. Visually, it’s akin to the work of fashion designer Issey Miyake, who explores craft, form and motion through ‘garment pleating’. Of course, as well as its beguiling physical presence, the quality of its sound is equally seductive.
At the end of the night, the David Hall crowd was clapping, cheering, whistling and roaring their admiration of the band. In turn, Moore Moss Rutter signed off with an easy-going, “Thanks for coming, we hope we’ve been more entertaining than Casualty.”
The David Hall’s music programme is expertly, and lovingly, crafted by the effervescent Pete Wheeler, and once again he produced a stunning evening. Thanks Pete.
Month after month, The David Hall persists in providing some of the most fabulous and wide-ranging live music around, be it blues, roots, classical or folk. It’s a stellar venue that acts as a cultural cocoon in the heart of South Somerset.