Red Sky July opening for Sheryl Crow at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Wednesday 29th October 2014.

Images and review by Kevin Cooper

Red Sky July are a trio with a phenomenal pedigree; comprising Shelley Poole from Alisha’s Attic together with her husband Ally McErlaine from the group Texas who have both joined forces with Charity Hair from The Alice Band. Each of them have their fair share of musical backgrounds with their own individual sounds, so it is no surprise that they have landed on the alternative country sound for this latest project.

Whilst their debut album of the same name was an instant success, the release of their new and second album, Shadowbirds had to be put on hold whilst McErlaine recuperated after a brain aneurysm. Now touring in their own right and supporting Sheryl Crow and 10cc to promote this album, they performed to an audience who was full of reverence for this very talented group.

They are described by some as having a love for the vintage stylisation of country rock music which is evident in the use of the banjo and fiddle used in Evening Song. It is easy to imagine the band playing in the Southern State bar scene singing about the traditional country theme of love, blues and love of the American landscape. However traditional the kind of music that they might play, it is also timeless in the way that it fits in today’s country scene as it did ten, or fifteen years ago.

Their songs showcase their intricate harmonies and melodies. There was the light up tempo numbers such as Here Then Gone and the slower waltzing numbers such as Renegade. The guitar work by McErlaine was fabulous on the old track, Already Gone, whilst the vocals were sublime in new song, Made For Each Other. On Lay Down Your Love, Red Sky July wore their heart on their sleeves, as this powerful harmony driven folk/country trio meant every word they uttered.

The whole set, whist only 30 minutes in length, was absolutely delightful and it was clear from the respect and appreciation that this Nottingham crowd showed them, that this will not be their last visit. Checking before they came on stage, Poole announced that their album had gone into the country charts at number 3, and on this showing it was easy to see why.