Review and photography by John Bentley

Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum are cousins who grew up in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Kacy and Clayton’s musical partnership was forged by a mutual love of timeless old traditional music. Starting off playing in local venues they’ve since gained many fans and admirers and their most recent acclaimed album ‘The Siren’s Song’ was produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. The duo are currently touring in Europe and tonight they follow up their London gig with a debut visit to The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge. Recently they’ve gigged with an electric band, but for the current tour the pair are playing acoustic.

Kacy and Clayton at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

As demonstrated on stage tonight, their repertoire is diverse, taking on board not just their expected North American country, blues, folk and roots heritage, but also influences from the likes of British folk musicians such as Fairport Convention, The Watersons and Shirley Collins. The Siren’s Song album, with electric backing band, took Kacy and Clayton to new heights in the area of alt-country, but still central in tonight’s stripped-down acoustic performance are Kacy’s beautiful pure voice, the duo’s vocal harmonies and Clayton’s subtle guitar picking, influenced by the likes of Richard Thompson and Bert Jansch. Kacy’s singing is a sort of a wonderful combination of the purity of Sandy Denny’s voice with the country twist of Emmylou Harris. Live tonight, with just their voices and one or two acoustic guitars to carry the songs, the rich capabilities of both musicians are demonstrated.

Kacy and Clayton at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

Rich, briefly acting as the Trades Club’s MC this evening, introduces the band on stage with the promise that they will be airing The Siren’s Song album. However, the band seem to have different ideas. Maybe Kacy and Clayton are bored with playing those songs, because the album dates from 2017 and, through the next hour, we get a mixture of songs from various stages of their career, plus some unfamiliar new material. Nevertheless, it would have been good to hear a few more songs from their (so far) seminal album.

Kacy and Clayton at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

Kacy does most of the solo singing, but Clayton occasionally takes the lead starting with new song ‘High Holiday’. Old favourite ‘Strange Country’ demonstrates the duo’s trump card of Kacy’s immaculate voice and Clayton’s absorbing guitar picking. The traditional ‘Seven Yellow Gypsies’ digs into their love of British folk music, dealing with a well-off lady running off with gypsies: it demonstrates their great harmony singing, with a tasty bit of guitar instrumentation in the middle from Clayton. Kacy’s voice is wonderful and characterful, although I would like to be able to hear the words more clearly. They then jokingly announce a couple of so called ‘agricultural songs’, tapping into their rural background heritage in the isolation of the great rolling plains of central Canada. Love of British folk musicians is demonstrated by covers of Norma Waterson’s ‘Go and Leave Me’ and ‘The Santa Fe Trail’, a song learnt from Clayton’s favourite English traditional singer, the late Peter Bellamy.

Kacy and Clayton at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

Setlist (taken from Kacy’s notebook): Cross By The Highway; In a Time of Doubt; High Holiday; Strange Country; Seven Yellow Gypsies; The Bar Double; Auctioneers and Bankers; Providence Place; The Santa Fe Trail; Brunswick Stew; Spare Me Over One More Year; The Rio Grande; Go and Leave Me; Carrying On; Sweet Orchestra Sound.

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