On the stage at Christ Church Downend, under the stained glass window of St Cecilia, patron saint of musicians, an almost-full church of music lovers were left enthralled by an evening of fine music; first from local act Susie Dobson, and then from the phenomenal Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys.

With a new EP on the horizon, SUSIE DOBSON treated us to a smattering of traditional and contemporary songs, delivered with a breath-taking voice and accompaniment from ukulele, dulcimer, guitar, and violin. Just over a year since her first appearance, it’s clear to see that this talented 18-year old has grown in both musicianship and confidence. Surely big things await.

But it was for the headline act, SAM KELLY AND THE LOST BOYS, that most of the 120+ audience had parted with their hard-earned cash, and the four-piece certainly did not disappoint.

Starting with a number of rousing sing-a-long choruses, it soon became apparent that Sam Kelly has the kind of voice that almost doesn't need amplification, but with the added impact of drums, cello and banjo against his own guitar, the sound really filled the whole church.

Before the end of the first half we were lucky to experience a quite unique rendition of the Dire Straits classic ‘Sultans of Swing’ - complete with banjo solo from Jamie Francis - and then a moving love song in the Cornish language called ‘Gurello’, which translates to "let it rain." All of this was delivered with a style that felt both contemporary and refined, yet also fun and exciting.

The second half was equally as energetic, finishing with a high-paced cover of Fleetwood Mac's ‘The Chain’.

With the heavy drums and occasional appearances of electric guitar, one could be forgiven for wondering: is this folk music? Is this rock music? Is this something else entirely? All that can be said for sure is that it was an utterly entertaining night full of great music from very talented musicians. St. Cecilia would be proud.

Words: Joe Brydon 

Photo: Alan Cole