Picture the scene. You arrive in the middle of scenic Warwickshire on a school night to see a band perform in a small village hall, where the average age in the audience surpasses retirement easily. What would Sally Maybury find here…?
I was assured by my friend that the evening would most definitely be “my thing”. Man, was she right. Flats & Sharps not only blew the roof off that sleepy village hall, they also blew my mind!
A four piece Bluegrass group hailing from Penzance in Cornwall, they delighted the audience with their toe-tapping, energetic and somewhat mesmerising music. The band met when they were at college together, and by their own admission they bunked off lessons to go busking; one of the best decisions they’ve made, I’d say!
The band comprises of Josh on guitar, Mikey on mandolin, Liam on double bass and Danny who plays both the fiddle and banjo, and they all sing. And when they sing it’s truly something from another world. Their harmonies were second to none and had my ears aching to hear more.
Mikey led the night, and his comedic links between songs kept the audience laughing. They played a variety of songs (many from their new album In the Glass) including ‘I’m Doing Fine’, a rather funny take on the classic line many hear during a relationship.
‘For my Sins’ is a track about being locked up, and for me this song really shone through as you got a glimpse of the raw talent and vocals of Mikey in particular. And whilst many of us were busying ourselves in the garden and binging TV series during the Coronavirus pandemic, Mikey was putting pen to paper creating ‘We Should Be Friends’. a slower more folk sounding track that really showcased Liam and his angelic voice.
Each band member got their own moments in the spotlight during the set, and it was amazing to see the versatility as each one played through a plethora of songs that covered traditional bluegrass, absolutely exquisite harmonies and a stage presence to rival others.
During the interval I got chatting to them about the Country music scene here in the UK and how lucky we are to have some great festivals where we can all enjoy together, and it transpires they are indeed playing at one of our favourite events of the year. So please, please, please do yourself a big favour and make sure you catch Flats & Sharps at The Long Road Festival this year. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.