By Scott Birnie
Artist: Tattletale Saints
Date / Venue: Friday February 13th, Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga
An intimate crowd of 100 greeted 2014s Tui award recipient for Folk Album Of The Year ‘How Red Is The Blood' .Removing themselves from their usual line up of guitarists/vocalists CY Winstanley and double bassist/vocalist Vanessa McGowan to add drummer Tom Broome for their NZ tour in support of their debut album with a fresh set of yet to be recorded songs.
Opening with the melodic bluegrass inspired Kathleen introduced the uninitiated to the unique Tattletale sound. Heavily influenced by their current home in Nashville, Tennessee the trio glided their way through a plethora of deep blues, country and jazz inspired ballads. A casual explanation of love gone awry led to the beautifully sung ‘I don't sing so much no more' that would sit comfortably at home in a smoke filled whiskey bar of the deep south sauntered with the heartbroken and lonely. Throw in a cover of the talented Kelsey Waldon's ‘High In High Heels' and a masterfully constructed tribute to Ray Price to display their superb musicianship in a somewhat ad-lib jam session enabled all 3 to truly sit comfortably into their work.
Set 2 started with a ‘back to the old' with the duo performing some old songs as they were initially intended. Whilst powerful in their own right at this point I felt Tom Broome had such an impact that his absence was felt. Songs ‘Phillip On The Field' and instrumental ‘Jessica On Prairie Legs' portrayed real emotion and were rounded off with the APRA song of the year finalist ‘Complicated Man'.
The set was completed, after over 2 hours with the superb ‘Down The Road And Back Again' and the best of the night, melodic harmonica laden ‘Dancing Under The Dogwood Trees'.
With the strong re emergence of indie/folk, bluegrass/country music seeping into the mainstream, Tattletale Saints delivered a performance to enforce this next coming. With bands like Jamestown Revival and Bronze Radio Return taking on some of the biggest stages around the world its easy to see how and why the strong resurgence of stripping the music back to how it was initially intended to be heard has people listening, and Tattle Saints fall directly into this category with their own unique twists.
With a different venue (think dirty blues bar) and a more willing and interactive crowd, I can see this Trio gathering an immense underground and mainstream following. If we're lucky they'll be back soon, and I'll certainly be there again.