The Round Up 14 with Danni Nicholls, Lost Hollow, Penny Riviera and Two Ways Home

June 7, 2018
The Colonel Fawcett
“He saved my world for me”

Penny Riviera was first up on The Round Up and it seems we were lucky to have her that night. At lunchtime she’d been unable to speak. She seemed fully recovered by the evening, singing clearly but with a husky edge that suited the songs.

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Sunshine Morning, co-written with  Jake Morrell, was about living and loving again. She performed with passion, living and loving the performance.

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In City Lights, she sang about what she learned from moving back home after six years away: “I think everything I wanted was everything you gave me to begin with.”

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When Riviera performed her latest single, Real Man, Two Ways Home’s Lewis Fowler joined in on guitar together with her guitarist, Tom Wright.

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She also performed The Girl From Instagram and talked about what had quickly become the unofficial theme of the evening, missing someone.

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“I cannot sit and sing”
“So I have to stand up too”
American duo Lost Hollow were on a vacation-tour with their children; two helped out on the night by passing the tip jar round! The relationship between the singers shone through in the full sound they delivered in songs like When I Get Home, and also in their back-and-forth banter.

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They gave a fascinating insight into the writing process in Nashville where”you couldn’t even sign a mortgage application without a co-writer” they joked. They explained that working with Don Rollins was usually an exercise in restraint, having to remind him “you’re being too poetic, bring it back to Davidson county.” For Ten Thousand Ways, it was different. They gave him permission to “go to Venus” with the lyrics.

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They came back down to earth with a love ditty, “a fun little song about eloping” and joked that “the ‘woahs’ are easy to write.”

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Lost Hollow drew the attention of their fellow artists, who noticed that the sound varied between ecstasy and devastation. This was evident particularly in Lorrie Harden’s vocal, which was higher in the mix. Danni Nicholls quietly sang along at times.

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“I left at 18 and vowed I’d never return. Then I became a singer-songwriter…so I had to pop home”
Quote of the day went to Danni Nicholls! That way with words and timing was evident in her lyrics too.

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As well as singing about Bedford, she captured longing and loss in Time, wrapped in bluesy guitar work.

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Her voice was sometimes rootsy and earthy while at other times breathtakingly pure. Beautifully Broken and Ancient Embers both stood out. The latter was about ‘self-love,’ which she quickly explained: “basically I wrote myself a love song.”

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“We can have a moment”
Fresh from a holiday to the U.S. where they got to see all the latest country stars, Two Ways Home had new songs to showcase. Back To Memphis had a better ring to it than Back To Bedford, Nicholls conceded! They also previewed a feel-good on the road song written with Ben Jonesy Jones.

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There was time for songs from the back catalogue too, including Closest Stranger and  Time Lasts Forever. We heard the story behind that song. Isi Mariee had written a letter to her grandfather but he died just before she had a chance to give it to him: “sometimes it’s just too late to tell people you love them.” Her vocals were beautifully enunciated and soaring.

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It wasn’t all emotionally heavy, there was still some trademark Isi bluntness: “some people are sweating a lot in this weather.” It’s true, to be fair! Don’t worry, Lewis, she didn’t mean you!

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Push and Pull closed things out, though several fans called for the Austrian techno remix that Kenny Foster pioneered earlier in the year! Tom Wright impressed with a guitar solo mid-song.

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The Round Up #15 is temporarily moving to The Bedford in Balham. Catch the fun on Thursday, July 5, from 7:45 p.m. with Southern Companion, Beth Keeping and Never The Bride. Head to eventbrite.com/e/the-round-up-july-5th-the-bedford-tickets-46901507672 for details.

Like what you see? There are more photos of the show over on Flickr. Please follow me there, and here:

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