July 17, 2016
Barbican Centre, London
For Applewood Road, Sunday was no day of rest. First up was an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show. The sweet performance of Old Time Country Song, in its simplicity, made more sense in these tumultuous times than the weak promises and prevarications offered by the featured politicians.
When the cameras stopped rolling the race was on to get Emily Barker to her main stage solo set at Truck Festival; Applewood Road had performed there as a trio two nights before.
As soon as the final notes rang out in rural Oxfordshire, it was straight back to London for the Applewood Road set supporting Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Darkness fell and spotlights picked out Amy Speace, Amber Rubarth and Emily Barker in monochrome outfits. Linen and lace, black and white simplicity, like the songs to come.
As the talented trio stepped up to the microphones in unison, there was only one way to introduce the band Applewood Road to the uninitiated. It had to be Applewood Road, the song that started it all.
The song, like the album (*also* called Applewood Road) was recorded live direct to tape. Therefore, the live performance was indistinguishable from the recording, and just as beautiful.
The effortless harmonies soaring through the theatre set the tone for the all-too-short set to come. Whether delivering serene a capella songs or raucous, stomping numbers, and whether displaying folk, country or honky-tonk influences, the vocals were key.
As usual, Amy Speace’s stunning song Give Me Love was a highlight, as was Amber Rubarth’s distinctive arrangement of R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion.
Emily Barker invited everyone to Applewood Road’s headline show at Islington’s Union Chapel on November 21. Judging by the speed of record sales in the interval, everyone’s coming. Save me a seat!
Applewood Road’s performance on The Andrew Marr Show can be streamed on iPlayer for the next month (fast-forward to 57:00).
Wondering about Mary Chapin Carpenter’s headline set? Amber Rubarth describes it best:
It is such a rare and beautiful treat when you meet someone who so seamlessly weaves between deep invitation into personal vulnerability and incredible wild generosity. Tonight we got to open for Mary Chapin Carpenter and witness her mastery of dancing between drawing everyone in and filling space lovingly outward. Not only is she one of the most immediately kind artists I have met… that would be enough. Seeing her perform tonight for an enraptured Barbican audience in London moved me to tears and I found myself more than once closing my eyes transported to some other realm by her voice and songs. Her deeply rooted low tones comfort and hold you while her sweet powerful highs infuse you with overtones of hope and strength. You can feel the depth of the experience she lived in order to realize each song as her spirit fills the room. What a truly gorgeous night. Do yourself a favor and get her newest album if you haven't already. Huge gratitude to Mary Chapin and her incredible band and crew for welcoming us so sweetly as support on this tour. It is a true honor and we're so excited for the rest of the concerts this month. Also, huge love and support to everyone who was there tonight, one for the books. ❤️🙏 #MaryChapinCarpenter @m_ccarpenter #ApplewoodRoad #BarbicanLondon
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