Review: Kacy & Clayton, The Band Room, Low Mill, Farndale, March 1

THE abiding feeling from this concert was one of a missed opportunity.

Kacy & Clayton are rightly regarded as the rightful heirs to the Americana crown, with a world-class guitarist and a singer, who well recorded, that could entice men to the deepest fathoms.

Playing to a quiet, but sympathetic crowd in the wonderful Band Room on the moors, this really should have been an easy victory for this pair of second cousins from Saskatchewan, Canada.

Yet, somehow it didn’t entirely click. With three strong albums to their name, this was a chance to charm, showcase new material and whet the appetite for the 2019 album, completed in January. None was taken, which suggests a lack of confidence, or perhaps a way of lowering expectations that have been steadily building around the duo?

Last Saturday's set also lacked flow, exacerbated by frequent tuning interludes. Uncredited material could point towards a more country sound and continues to blend modern alienation to song forms that have an impeccable pedigree.

The pair were touring without their band, so took a musical step back. They dispensed almost entirely with songs from The Siren’s Song album, favouring more obscure, folk-orientated numbers.

There was much to enjoy, nevertheless. Their concert favourite Brunswick Stew was wonderful, as was Seven Yellow Gypsies. Kacy’s voice was closer in spirit to Emmylou Harris than Shirley Collins, while Clayton’s acoustic guitar playing was consistently original, up there arguably with luminaries like Davy Graham.

"There’s nothing original about us," Kacy said in a surprising comment, and while she was right in that there is little truly new under the sun, she was too self-critical. The duo are so well steeped in folk and country that they are masters, bringing the best of the old up to date.

Their version of Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Hardin brought the biggest smiles from the stage, but their own This World Has Seven Wonders was better; modern, retro and melodic as hell. Still in their early twenties, there's much better to come.