Nearing the end of a punishing 40-odd-date tour of the UK and Ireland, the Corn Potato String Band entertained a healthy turnout at the intimate surroundings of Bournemouth Folk Club’s latest home, the Sugar & Spice Club.

Armed with a host of instruments, three fiddles, two banjos, acoustic guitar and Dobro, the trio played selections from their less than innovating titled albums, CORN POTATO STRING BAND and CORN POTATO STRING BAND VOLUME 2 together with several to be included in a forthcoming new release.

Aaron Jonah Lewis, Lindsay McCaw and Ben Belcher concentrate on music representing the central and southern states of the US and draw on material from all eras but played in down home old timey fashion with all three huddled round one microphone Del McCoury style. Their music was nothing short of infectious as instruments were constantly swapped around giving all three the opportunity to show off their undoubted musical talents.

Despite all this changing around, and Lindsay changing into tap shoes for a couple of instrumentals, the band managed 25 numbers in two all too short 45 minute sets. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s Cigarettes, Whiskey And Wild, Wild Women set the scene for what was to follow; an eclectic mix of bluegrass, waltzes, ballads and fiddlin’ or banjo instrumentals. The rather complex Russian Rag, Bob Wills’ That Hot Lick Fiddlin’ Man and Route 77 all tested the band’s talents to the full and they came through with flying colours.

Corn Potato String Band often prefer to put their own stamp on well known classics and Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes was transposed as a ‘response'; I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes. Similarly they adapted the Woody Guthrie favourite Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet by injecting extra lyrics. I really liked their take on Slim Whitman’s There’s A Rainbow In Every Teardrop; a lovely waltz with a great yodelling finale. Raleigh & Spencer, a tale of two towns burning down leaving the inhabitants with no liquor also went down well with the BFC faithful. Their own Corn Potato Stomp and Louis Armstrong’s Dummy Song started to bring things to a close and they finished with Roy Rogers’ Oompah Rag, another great instrumental.

The encore, Listen to the Mocking Bird had Aaron replicating bird noises on the fiddle; very, very clever and as he said, ‘one for the twitchers’. This band is certainly an extremely polished outfit and although Lindsay and Aaron both missed an entrance mid-song, these minor blips went largely unnoticed. Anyone into old timey fiddlin’/banjo music would do well to check out the Corn Potato String Band or look out for them when they tour again, hopefully in 2016. John Roffey www.cornpotato.com


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