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Over three years have passed since first having the pleasure of seeing Sarabeth Tucek perform at Night & Day Café in Manchester in support of her outstanding self titled debut album. It was a performance that firmly cemented my desire to see her play again as soon as possible which, given the strength and quality of her work, I was sure would not involve too long a wait. Sometimes however, things don’t quite work out as expected and this evening’s performance offers me the first chance to see her play live since that night and this is achieved thanks to my good friends driving skills and the use of his trusty sat nav by which means we negotiate the North Yorkshire Moors arriving a little before sunset in Farndale – a setting so breathtakingly beautiful that later that evening Sarabeth herself would tell the audience that during a walk earlier that day in the nature reserve she was moved to tears.

Here we find tonight’s modest and charming venue – The Band Room – a simple wooden structure built for the Silver Band in the 1920’s and something of a local institution. The hall is filled with people, some sitting, some standing and all eagerly awaiting tonight’s performance. Soon the wait is over as Sarabeth and her long term musical partner and producer Luther Russell quietly take their places on stage. Whatever the choice of songs for tonight I am sure that the crowd would have been satisfied but to everyone’s delight she informs us that we are to be given the unique opportunity to hear them play her new album ‘Get Well Soon’ in its entirety and in the order in which it was recorded. Since that last visit Sarabeth has faced many challenges in her life, none greater than the passing of her father and it’s from this dark and painful time that she has drawn upon to create an album filled with the feelings of sadness and loss that threatened to consume her life.

If having the courage to put these feelings into words to create such a powerful and challenging record were not enough then try to imagine how any of us could begin to pour out these personal emotions before a room filled with strangers. This is what Sarabeth does tonight from the opening track ‘The Wound And The Bow’ - in which she details the beginning of the grieving process – and continues right through each track that follows, recalling in equal measure both fond memories and bitter frustrations of being robbed of a loved ones presence. Throughout the set Sarabeth puts her very soul into each song and her gorgeous voice is complemented perfectly by Luther’s harmonies and the brilliance of his guitar work which could easily have overwhelmed such delicate vocals but in the hands of such a talented musician serves only to enhance them. All too quickly we are approaching the final track ‘Get Well Soon’ which reveals perhaps more than any other not only the level of torment that she suffered but also the feelings of hope and optimism that her darkest days are behind her. If you can listen to this without a tear in your eye then you are a better man than me!

If the show had been brought to an end at that point we would have gone home well pleased with what we had seen and heard but we were further treated to an encore that included a wonderful cover of ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ and the stand out track from the first album – ‘Hot Tears’. The performance over and away from the stage, they mingle with the crowd signing CDs and posing for photographs where requested with Sarabeth strikingly attractive, quietly spoken and charming and Luther outgoing, warm and friendly. They still have some dates left on this tour and they have promised to return in September. Do yourselves a massive favour and make sure that you are there when they do.   

Review & photos by Shay Rowan