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Robert Jon & The Wreck + Meghan Parnell & Dave Barnes

Saturday 18th February 2023

Bourne Music Club, Sittingbourne

A superb evening of music commenced with a great support act of Meghan Parnell (vocals) and Dave Barnes (guitars and BV), normally part of the seven-piece band, Bywater Call, who definitely need checking out on this evidence. Drawing from their two albums, this is a band who you’d imagine emanated from the deepest South due to the mix of Blues and Rock plus Meghan’s gritty soulful vocal and Dave’s skilled playing - so it was a surprise to hear they are actually from Toronto! Managing to keep an audience, who have come to watch someone else, spellbound and attentive is quite an art but their enjoyable set left everyone very happy.

Nicely warmed up, the main event ensued with what is fast becoming one of my favourite bands, they bring it every time live and just seem to get better and better (the addition of the excellent Jake Abernathie on keys is a master stroke).

Now with a great back catalogue full of superb songs; what to choose must be harder by the gig - the set is lined with classics, but recent additions 'She’s a Fighter' and 'Waiting For Your Man' slide down like a smooth Kentucky Bourbon. 'Rescue Train' rolls between guitar and keyboard runs, building into a crescendo like a Rock Bolero.

Robert Jon Burrison - founder, lead vocals and guitar; Andrew Espantman on drums; Henry James on lead guitar; Warren Murrel on bass and Jake Abernathie on aforementioned keys, have no weaknesses. Robert’s wonderful vocals, Henry’s faultless guitar plus a mighty rhythm section added to the keys, make for a cohesive and tight band at the top of their very fine form.

Let’s say that as far as this audience is concerned, the guys are preaching to the converted, demonstrated by how many sang along to virtually every tune and the generous smattering of band t-shirts on show - but quite right too, this talented bunch of musicians deserve every plaudit flying in their direction. Whether it’s Blues, Southern tinged Rock, a hint of Prog or ballad, the band classily deliver them all.

Further classics 'Do You Remember', 'Gold' and 'Oh Miss Carolina' all emphasise the strength of Robert’s dulcet tones and the pure musicianship on display and crowd favourite, “Shine A Light On Me Brother', touches Gospel whilst rocking simultaneously.

Everyone has their moment in the spotlight and so does the repertoire of fantastic songs. They are back in sunny Kent at the Maid of Stone Festival in Mote Park in July, and I recommend everyone checks this mighty band out, oh and buy all their albums too, you wont regret it…..

Les Linyard

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