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The Black Feathers at the Brewery Blues- 15th May 2015


The Black Feathers

Viktoria Gustafsson-Dahill reviewed the latest Brewery Blues show, photos by Steve Fearn

Acoustic folk tends to be overlooked by the average lover of music. Previous evenings of fluid jazz gave way to this imaginative and soul-invoking display of raw vocal talent put on by the Brewery Arts Centre. All were in wait for The Black Feathers, two locals who were featured on BBC Radio 2 after their debut EP ‘Strangers We Meet’ took off with supportive folk fans. Since then, the duo has toured the UK, Germany, and parts of the United States. 

Hattie Briggs

Ells and the Southern Wild opened first. The frontman — who happened to be a woman – announced that she was nervous. I struggle to imagine a nervous musician being able to deliver as beautifully as this artist. Songs like ‘The Photographer and the Owl’ and ‘Gathering Storm’ exhausted what appeared to be an already well-worn acoustic guitar. The vocals were deliberately overpowering and righteous, shaking the wine cellar and adding to the homely, almost living room feel.


Hattie Briggs continued the beautiful melodies, partly by incorporating covers of famously tuneful songs like ‘Fields of Gold’ by Sting. The entirety of the room began to sway to the music permeating all those present. One could think we all possessed the same heart simultaneously beating with the music.

The Black Feathers intended to show us a little bit of everything to prove that their versatile vocals and heavy guitars could conquer every human feeling. There was an urge in their deliberate attempts to capture our hearts. Death and life were both expressed in the same sentence as if their harmonious existence stood as something that shouldn’t strike fear into our cores. 

Ells and the Southern Wild

At times the guitar was raw and I could feel the calluses being inflamed and intensified. They sang of strangers, close friends, the occasional lover or one to-be-loved. The room warmed to them in turn. The final performance was done off stage to further back that voice-powered trance of acoustic folk music.


Though I nearly froze on the walk home, the night proved to be something spectacular and boasted elements of blues, folk, and a hint of rock. Tears were shed and hands were clapped into numbness for the local talent of Cirencester and Stroud. Magic was created here and still resonates from the talent and music generated in fond memory of a simple country life left behind, and all for our enjoyment. I look forward to many more nights organised by the Brewery Blues and graciously put on by The Kings Head in this cosy venue.               

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