The sounds of California…
the climate of Seattle.
Maverick Saturday had the real flavour of the West Coast, particularly on the open air Southern Sounds main stage, with a wide range of the Golden State’s sun-drenched sounds and an increasingly ominous Rain City sky.
Kev Walford & Kelly Bayfield were the ideal breezy main stage openers, with Crosby/Nash-like increasingly complex multi-voice harmonies on Money Rules In My World Now, and the moody Renaissance-style proggy folk of The Whistling Man with Kelly’s limpid clarity and a gooseflesh-raising midbreak of noodling Telecaster, soft mallet toms and lush wordless Crosbyesque harmonies.
Plunger Music 07/2019
Tony Bell, Grapevine Magazine, May 2019
A Belated Postcard from Sun-baked Suffolk …
One of the highlights of Plunger’s 2018 was the three scorching days spent at Maverick: while we were there our AirBnB hostess Suzanna gave us a copy of this CD by local artists Kev Walford and Kelly Bayfield. And like much of what Plunger saw at the festival, it’s a case of “Never heard of them… ooh, they’re good aren’t they!”
You might think veteran Kev (check out 70s band Silk) and not-so-veteran jazz singer Kelly an unlikely pairing for an Americana/folk outfit, but despite their diverse origins Walkin’ combines them for very stylish results. In fact the words ‘stylish’, ‘sophisticated’, and ‘complex’ cropped up throughout Plunger’s track-by-track notes.
There’s more than a touch of Crosby, Stills and Nash (in varying combinations and degrees) to much of the album: there are C&N flavours in the mix of unusual-and-sweet progressions and harmonies in the enigmatic string-backed West Coast folk of Money Rules In My World Now, in the chilling harmonies and hypnotic finger-picking of Stray’s dreamy San Fran/English folk hybrid, the lush vocal arrangements (augmented by guesting Honey & The Bear) in a breezy Blessed Are The Heartbreakers and the unexpected chords and off-kilter rhythms of Everything Changes.
The title track’s rootsy Western troubadour country conjures a little more of Stills, as does the traditional-sounding melody and luscious harmony voices of Blessed Light with its upbeat clap-and-percussion close. With complex expansive chords and Kelly taking lead vocal, Please Don’t Leave The Gang (a Silk tune) leans more toward CSN’s muse Joni (with a touch of Annie Haslam) while Kelly takes the spotlight alone for a heartfelt a cappella Lullaby.
While much of Walkin’ has a heat haze reverie vibe (in keeping with Plunger’s memories of July) there are more boisterous numbers: the fiddle-rich Appalachians-via-Aldeburgh hoedown-with-polish Charlie Boy; the salty shanty of Lazy Sailor with Kelly’s husband Mat sharing lead vox; and the bouncy Stealers Wheel-like closer The Rich Man’s Held (By The Shackles & Chains).
We’re ashamed to admit we’d put Walkin’ to one side to “get round to later…” Now that we finally have, we love it: it’s an ideal evocation of those laid-back dog days in Suffolk. Plunger get to hear quite a few new albums, and the proportion that get a listen (or maybe two) then disappear into the pile is pretty high: this is one of a handful that’s going on repeat.
Walkin’ is available from Kev & Kelly’s bandcamp page
Plunger Music, Oct 2018