The Rosie Doonan Band

Live Review | The Thornensians Rugby Club, Thorne | Review by Allan Wilkinson

On the eve of her album launch in Leeds, Rosie Doonan and her band came to Thorne to play a set of songs predominantly from the new album Pot of Gold, the follow up to the stunning Moving On (2007), which saw Rosie literally move on in another direction from the familiar folk fare of her days with childhood friend Ben Murray.  With her trademark flame-red hair and piercing blue eyes, together with no small measure of ‘attitude’, Rosie was once again full of banter between songs, joking with both audience and fellow band mates alike, bringing a sense of fun to the evening.  Asking the audience whether they liked a bit of blues and a bit of rock the band launched into “Fall for Me”, the new single from the album, which already has an accompanying video featuring Rosie wandering through golden wheat fields with contrasting red hair and matching cardigan and Gibson electric, not to mention, a Mad Hatter’s tea party and obligatory streaker (don’t go frantically running to YouTube, it’s not Rosie!).  With a band including regulars Gary Stewart on drums and guitar, who also provided support, performing a handful of songs from his own debut album Boy Cries Wolf, Miklos Woodwood on bass, Jonny Firth on guitar and at one point drums and on his first outing with the band, Wilful Missing’s Sam Lawrence on mandolin and keyboards, the set was given a suitably rocky edge, especially on “That Boy”, the bluesy “Fool For You” and the soul-drenched “Don’t Let Me Go”.  Rosie was reminded during an interview earlier in the evening (see below) of a song that is rarely played live these days, the utterly gorgeous “Time” from her previous album, which Rosie forced herself to remember, going on to perform the song solo at the piano, which for me was the highlight of the night.  “Lady Blue” also demonstrated precisely this inherent command over emotionally charged sensitive songs that this songwriter returns to time and again.  Rosie can also be as whimsical as it gets with the ukulele accompanied “TLC” and “Victor”, borrowing from the music hall tradition.  Rosie may straddle the borders between folk and pop, with a gift for writing memorable melodies and may be possessed of an insatiable appetite for a bigger sound, but it’s with Rosie’s distinctive and inimitable voice that we return to time and time again.  May she continue to get the recognition and credit she thoroughly deserves.