The crowd that braved the worst excesses of the Beast from the East were rewarded by a set of lively Americana, fine harmony singing, strong song-craft and rootsy virtuoso guitar playing when the Grahams made their Lichfield debut at the Guildhall.
Playing songs from their recent album, Glory Bound, a story song cycle about trains and live on the road, the married couple of Doug and Allysa Graham were joined by a live drummer and bassist to give their songs more dynamic drive, whilst the fleet-fingered guitar solos and the sonic invention of the vocals throughout the set was the selling point for the couple who met in childhood and have been inseparable since.
The setlist was peppered with tales of their storied life on the road, and in New York, in an environment that is shaped by political decisions, which also shaped the song-writing and their choice of covers.
Throughout the set, they moved from genre to genre, from blues, to rock, roots, folk, heartland rock, all played with their hearts firmly on their sleeves. We had the gospel like the singalong chant of Revival Time, or the slow loping gait of Biscuits, the incendiary country boogie of Gambling Girl, or the title track from their latest release, Glory-Bound. We heard the folk lament of Blow Winds Blow, and Kansas City, all twangy guitar and some leading drums.
An elongated encore, of Neil Young’s By the River, was a showcase for the group’s almost telepathic musical intuition, moving through many moods, and shows why this duo of songwriters are held in such high esteem.