LIVE REVIEW: Rose City Band, Scott Hepple @ The Cluny, Newcastle (06.09.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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There are few musicians as consistently good as Ripley Johnson, whose exceptional skill is evident across all his projects. Tonight, though, is all about his most recent venture Rose City Band. Opening the show is Scott Hepple, whose short set certainly made an impression, a perfect blend of folk and psychedelia coupled with a distinctive vocal style. That blend of genres is carried through to Rose City Band’s set, albeit a slightly more embellished take on them. Opening with Silver Roses, this relaxed swirling track sets an initially gentle pace. However, this fluctuates throughout, the difference between second album Summerlong and most recent offering Earth Trip is huge.

With tracks like Only Lonely and Reno Shuffle, the room comes alive, the hefty hit of pedal steel rising to the fore in these songs along with an irresistible groove that forces your foot to tap along. These upbeat tracks swagger and take on more of a country sound, though they never detract from Earth Trip’s rustic folk psychedelia. Rabbit and Ramblin’ With The Day are the standout tracks from Earth Trip, and they shine here tonight, particularly Rabbit; the bright pedal steel ushering in a country sound that really lights up the set. Rose City Band close the way they opened with the gentler Dawn Patrol, rounding off an exceptional show.

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