Bill Ryder-Jones, formerly the lead guitarist for the coral, released his first solo album “If…” in 2011 and was received positively by the music community. Tonight’s gig comes ahead of the release of his forthcoming second album “A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart” due for release early April 2013.
The venue is Camp and Furnace, the flagship of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle development, and the atmosphere is chilled. The large warehouse space is lined with campervans, caravans and tree effect backdrops creating a festival feel. The eclectic audience grows steadily up to near capacity as the night’s support act Delta Maid takes the stage.
For anyone new to Delta Maid you should know that she is one of the best singer-songwriters around. Testament to her skills she has previously supported the likes of Ray LaMontagne and Ellie Goulding on tour. She was also personally selected to open Gary Barlow’s birthday gig at the Royal Albert Hall by the man himself.
I’d been a fan of Delta Maid for a while but had never seen her live, so when I saw the Facebook status “Back in the saddle riding Delta Maid vibes this week, supporting Bill Ryder-Jones” there was no way I was going to pass up on this opportunity. I had high expectations having been a massive fan of her first album “Outside Looking In” and she didn’t disappoint.
The opening track “Tornado” (co-penned by Delta Maid and Natalie Hemby) recently topped the US Country Charts performed by the country four piece Little Big Town. I personally preferred Delta’s acoustic version.
The sweet toned songstress went on to work through her set list of new and old acoustic blues numbers, stopping only to demonstrate real humility in performing to a home crowd. Delta Maid’s final song “spend a little time” was a real highlight of the set, if not the night and Delta left the stage to chants for more.
The stage was now set for Bill Ryder-Jones as he entered with his band to great applause. Nerves seemed noticeably present in the new solo artist as he went into his first song “A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart” exclaiming it was only the bands second gig together.
Ryder-Jones is an incredibly highly regarded guitarist, previously collaborating with the Last of The Shadow Puppets, Alex Turner, Graham Coxon, Paloma Faith and of course The Coral. So it took me by surprise that he seemed most comfortable at his old upright piano where he truly excelled. Casting nerves aside, the performance of “Took you in his arms” was enchanting and was the highlight of the set.
Unfortunately, the night seemed reach a bit of an anti-climax when the band finished their set quite abruptly and left the stage with out playing one remotely up-beat number. I stood for a while expecting an encore, but it didn’t come, and as swarms of people turned and left I had no option but to join them.
The old saying goes “always leave them wanting more”. Unfortunately in this case I was left wanting too much and left Camp and Furnace with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. That being said, positives can be taken from Delta Maid”s fantastic performance. If Bill Ryder-Jones develops the skills of a front man with a bit more confidence and stage presence then there is no doubt that his impressive musicality and songwriting will eventually translate into successful gigs.