Jubilee Wharf witnessed the most genteel of hoedowns on Saturday night when the Carrivick Sisters brought their blend of bluegrass and folk to Penryn.
Opening, unaccompanied, with a touching song involving star crossed lovers, tragic death, and a haywain, they then launched into a reeling instrumental entitled Making Horses.
Multi-instrumentalist sisters Charlotte and Laura were then joined onstage at Miss Peapod’s by John Breese on stand-up bass, to take the audience through a rollicking and rolling two hour set. With songs from their new album, as well as several covers, the gig featured the usual country-folk tropes of close harmonies, finger picking strings, and narrative songwriting, all carried off perfectly.
Songs such as Over the Edge (about the Newquay riots), Garden Girl (about a statue in a stately home), and If You Asked Me (about the irrationality of love songs) were charmingly introduced with tales of their inspiration or origins. Laura, seemingly the shyer sister when it came to conversing with the audience, more than made up for any reticence with plangent, emotive slide work on the dobro and lightning fiddle playing.
The trio made the evening fly-past, gliding smoothly from folk ballads such as Pretty Fair Damsel (apparently the only traditional folk song with a happy ending), through the ceilidh-like reel of Salamander, to the lightning-quick cover Lazy John, which had toes tapping even if there was no dancing on the tables.
The two sisters put on a performance that showed true talent, drawing on their own British heritage and mixing it deftly with the Americana they so clearly love, to produce a warming performance on a chill Cornish evening.