The Believers

Live Review | Town Hall, Kirton in Lindsey | Review by Allan Wilkinson

The Kirton in Lindsey Diamond Jubilee Town Hall played host once again to the second in a series of monthly concerts held in this charming market square venue, organised by a bunch of local enthusiasts, eager to welcome exciting musicians to their town.  Craig Aspen and Cyd Frazzini otherwise known as New Orleans-based duo The Believers brought their own special blend of alt country to this sleepy North Lincolnshire town, the appearance of which was welcomed by an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.  Performing a couple of sets of songs mainly drawn from The Believers’ back catalogue, featuring a handful from their debut album Row (2002), including the song “Believers”, from which the duo acquired their name and “White Trash Queen”, to a generous selection from their follow up and highly regarded sophomore album Crashyertown (2005), including “Highway Song”, “Good Days”, “Railroad Spikes” and “Shotgun Shells” as well as the title song of course.  With a throw away comment, jokingly referring to their music as ‘shit-kicking music’, Craig and Cyd went on to demonstrate their approach to being a ‘Rock band with a Country problem’ as anything but throw away. With some close harmony singing fused with a hard rocking, albeit acoustic accompaniment, Cyd sticking to her sunburst acoustic throughout whilst Craig alternated between guitar and mandolin, the duo showed off their rich credentials as seasoned performers, Cyd referring to Craig’s mandolin playing as far too psychedelic and untraditional for Nashville.   Guessing that the audience would probably be unaware of much of the material played tonight, the duo included one or two covers, Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, being quite possibly the most recognisable.  Heavily influenced by the collaborative efforts of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, Craig and Cyd paid tribute to arguably one of alt-country’s best loved pairings with their take on Boudleaux Bryant’s beautifully timeless “Love Hurts”, which was tagged onto the end of the equally tender “Pour Down”.  With many of the songs taken from the duo’s first couple of albums, songs from the new album Lucky You were kept to a minimum with just the two inclusions, “Your Hurting Ways” and “Higher Ground”, which was played towards the end of the set, one of two songs from the album addressing the unfortunate and catastrophic events in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s most unwelcomed visit to New Orleans in 2005.  With a final encore of the Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus”, prefaced by the notion that ‘if it’s good enough for Johnny Cash, then it’s good enough for us’, The Believers brought the concert to its climax.  Earlier in the evening, Sleaford-based singer-songwriter Ben Ellis warmed up the audience with a handful of highly original self-penned songs including a plea to a local newsreader to spare us the details of all the horrors we hear on the news in Peter Levy and the one cover, the old Smokey Robinson hit “I Second That Emotion”.