Laura Cantrell - St Bonaventure's Parish Social Club
“Hello, St Bons!" You know the artist is familiar with a venue when they welcome the crowd in shorthand. Laura Cantrell has been to St Bonaventure’s Parish Social Club more than once before, as recently as October in fact. That she's back so soon is testament to the regard the New Yorker is held in on these shores; indeed, tonight's show was upgraded to the upstairs room, rather than the smaller main bar area. It makes for an evening reminiscent of a school concert, providing Cantrell with the opportunity to tell an anecdote about a pantomime held there recently.
An exciting reveal is that country flavour of the month Sturgill Simpson is supporting, and he puts on a half hour of proper country, his thick Kentucky accent laying on the authenticity of his acoustic guitar. Cantrell has more anecdotes about the social club, a YouTube clip she was sent of “square dancing” in the venue, and of one of her songs being used in the teen drama Skins (set in Bristol), possibly the least likely licensing opportunity one can imagine.
She’s also very relaxed in the environment, which allows her to put on an intimate show of songs from her whole repertoire, and not get caught up just playing her latest album - although 'All The Girls Are Complicated' and 'Someday Sparrow' are two of the highlights. 'The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter' from 2000's Not The Tremblin' Kind has some sparkling guitar work from sideman Mark Spencer, yet the muted reaction to 'Kitty Wells Dresses' suggests the 2011 tribute album of the same name didn't make too much of a mark. Before the encore starts there’s the usual shouted request from the audience for another from her 2000 debut: “'Two Seconds'…. I’ll cry if you don’t play it.” “Well, we don’t want anyone crying tonight,” came the response.
It was that kind of pleasing evening at St Bons.