Acoustic couple go Russian in St Leonards
St Leonards-based singer/songwriting duo, Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, plan to put the ‘Russian Gallery’ on their music tour map by including it as their local venue in their upcoming tour next week. Chris Cormack chatted with them on their intriguing progress in the music business.
Described by the NME as having “Fairport Convention’s folk with Fleetwood Mac’s pop sensibilities” and championed by the likes of Bob Harris and John Kennedy, the pair have enjoyed a busy 18 months of shows, with highlights including playing the Acoustic Stage at last year’s Glastonbury and The Arc at Larmer Tree Festival.
On the face of it you would think that a tour of seven shows in seven days with venues as far apart as Cardiff and Norwich, Manchester and Blandford, would be quite a punishing schedule in an LPG fuelled camper van, but not a bit of it, last Autumn they played 28 shows in five weeks across the country. They have toured with the likes of Loudon Wainwright, Damon Albarn, Richard Thompson and Beth Orton, Ade Edmondson’s Bad Shepherds and legendary producer Ethan Johns.
Trevor and Hannah regard themselves as songwriters above all else, with an emphasis on meaningful words; they had an auspicious start in the business, when, as students together at Goldsmiths College in south-east London, they founded the Lantern Society in Farringdon, “unique and exciting in the London singer-songwriter music scene” and “home to some of the most original and talented singer-songwriters in London.” They are now working on their fourth cd album, which, like the other three, will consist almost entirely of their own songs. Punters on next week’s tour will have the opportunity to hear some of their newest songs for the first time alongside the old favourites.
Sometimes described as ‘retro-pop’, Trevor and Hannah like to identify themselves with less commercially oriented pre-80s singer-songwriters, such people as Cat Stevens and Paul Simon. In more recent times, in Trevor’s view, the songwriting process has become obfuscated by commercial imperatives that often attribute songs unduly to the frontmen while the real composition takes place in back-rooms with teams of writers bent on satisfying some commercial formula.
The duo are most pleased with their last cd, La Ferme de Fontenaille, which captures them at their most playful and least restrained. Included here are For a minute there, filmed at Rock a Nore at the very point where the rockfall took place; this adds new meaning to the phrase ‘après moi, le déluge’! Also while you are
at it, why not take in the song A proud surrender? Thursday’s gig also takes in a brilliant musician from Sweden, Ben Folke Thomas, whose guitar flourishes are described as ‘Knopfler-esque’ by Americana UK.
This Summer you might catch Trevor and Hannah at one of the many music festival gigs, including the Elderflower Festival near Lewes, Leigh Festival near Southend and Frome Festival, with several more under negotiation. However seeing them next week at the Baker Mamonova Gallery in St Leonards gives you a chance to check out the ‘Russian Gallery’ as a cool venue with interesting design and artworks; I am told that behind the scenes are interesting relics from the old cinema that could eventually be refurbished and reintroduced, given the right level of community support!
Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, with very special guest Benjamin Folke Thomas, at the Baker Mamonova Gallery Cafe, Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0EG, 7.30pm, Thursday 13 March. More info and tickets.