With folk music an integral part of the Jefferson’s sounds, support act Auburn, a UK band fronted by vocalist Liz Lenten, seemed the ideal choice to get the healthy sized crowd into the mood for the guys and gal from over the pond. Playing as a three piece acoustic unit tonight, my first impressions took me back to another 60’s trio, The Springfields (ask your parents!). I think the gentle, laid back nature of opening song ‘ Sitia Bay ’ almost caught the crowd in two minds, so polite was the applause. Slowly, Liz and the boys started to win them over with a set of their bluesy, folksy story telling music, undoubtedly heavily influenced by sounds American.
With solid, if not spectacular support, given that they never moved from their respective stools, from guitarist Mark Gustavina and bassist Jevon Beaumont, Liz Lenten at times sang with a frailty that gave her songs an atmosphere and emotion that a balls-out delivery might have ruined, not that she hadn’t got the power when needed! Al though showcasing a new, soon to be released album, Mixed Feelings, I have to say my set highlight was the aforementioned ‘ Sitia Bay ’, with its Billie Holliday vocal treatment.
Given that we now had an hour to wait before the appearance of Jefferson Starship, could not Auburn have given us a couple more, I wonder.
Live review from Wolverhampton, Robin 2, Feb 2015
The brand new CD Love & Promises recorded in Nashville, TN. Will be released 17th June 2016. Watch this space for more details…
at The Convent
Auburn Acoustic supporting – Saturday 12th September
Get your tickets here!
From the U.K. comes the latest release from the acoustic, Americana , roots band Auburn entitled “Mixed Feelings.” They are looking to build upon the success of their last album ” Nashville ” (Review: jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com) which debuted at #1 on the U.K. Americana music chart.
Their new twelve song release begins with the slow jaunt of the title-song, “Mixed Feelings” as lead singer Liz Lenten works her jazzy vocals into the song. The country-blues of “New Years Day” and the gentle touch of “Friends” is an awakening to the amazing songwriting within the band. They look to pick up the pace with “Hell Hath No Fury” as Liz’ sweet vocals does not match the intensity of the song’s quick, country tempo. It all comes together for the sweet country twang of “Out There” and “Wood For The Trees,” before closing with the folk gem “Feel The Sun.” Auburn are following the release of the their new album with some live shows beginning September 11th. To find out more about their latest release “Mixed Feelings, please visit their website at auburn.org.uk.
OK, for the record, did you know that acoustic ensemble Auburn actually broke up almost a decade ago? I know, right! But luckily for us fans they reformed back in 2011, subsequently released the critically acclaimed, and quite brilliant, Nashville last year, and now have a brand new album, Mixed Feelings due out this upcoming September 11th, 2015.
Chock full of sonic world elements of fused blues, Al t-country and roots music, with soulful lyrics and catchy pop rhythms, Mixed Feelings will not have you harboring anything of the kind for its indepth, and tuneful musical output.
Moving swiftly on and having saddled up their unique blend of Americana , the first track is the title track, ‘Mixed Feelings.’ Brought forth by the raw, real, emotional blues roots tone of lead singer Liz Lenten, her lyrically genius and vocal expertise are a perfect match for the band that backs her at every turn. Consisting of Lynn Williams (drums), Mark Fain (bass), Justin Moses (fiddle, banjo, dobro), Barry Walsh (piano, wurlitzer, organ), JT Brown (Harmony vocals) and award-winning producer Thomm Jutz on guitars, the album fairly begs for repeat plays after each and every listen.
Next up is the poppier vibe of ‘Love Lost Its Way,’ a delightful cut that wouldn’t have been out of place had it have existed in the mid-70’s. With all the songs recorded on her beloved vintage Martin guitar called Rosie, Lenten’s troupe are precise, detailed and come to the fore as a collective force on each and every track. Cuts such as the tale of domestic abuse, ‘New Years Day,’ the gentle beauty of ‘Friends,’ and the banjo-fury of ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ are prime examples of not only Lenten and her band’s musical expertise, but of the producing talents of Nashville, Tennessee-based Jutz (Nanci Griffiths, Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey).
Mixed Feelings contains 12 brand new songs, covering all the usual emotional issues, such as love, loss, domestic abuse and manslaughter, confusion, perseverance, trust, friendship and psychotic-stalker-dumped-girlfriends, but one of the true highlights for me is the brilliant ‘Crystal Stairs.’ A blend of old school, gentle blues funk and plucked guitar sway from Jutz, Lenten’s voice starts to resemble Joplin quite like no other track before it.
With a new album and a major UK tour supporting the legendary Jefferson Starship’s 40th anniversary tour, Auburn has been captivating audiences around the country with their unique blend of Americana , blues and roots music for a long time now. Mixed Feelings is an album that sounds like it was born on the calming breeze of the 70’s, and has been gently unearthed for our listening pleasure here in 2015. The simple storytelling of ‘Lovers Lullaby’ is next, and that is followed by both ‘Out There’ and then the country-tinged ‘More Than Everything.’
On an album that was (remarkably) recorded, and mixed in just 6 days, the bluesy soundscape for Lenten’s distinctive vocals continue onwards with ‘Wood For The Trees,’ a track which personifies the entire troupe perfectly. This glorious album then comes to a close with the ridiculously lyrically stunning ‘Quite Life,’ and then, finally, the mid-tempo flow of ‘Feel The Sun.’ As Hunter S. Thompson once said: “Buy the ticket, take the ride”, as you will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
AUBURN/Mixed Feelings: Just like the Brits did to us with the blues, they’ve come to Nashville and recorded a killer set of Americana which they are now selling back to us. Getting away from the usual radio driven fodder, Auburn makes wonderfully atmospheric music that feels inspired by Ry Cooder but the lyrics are delivered in such a way that unless you really listen closely you miss how this stuff reads like the kind of country that first turned rappers on to Johnny Cash because he was such an OG. This set is equally strange and magical and sure to entice you in ways you never imagined. This is the kind of off the beaten track stuff boomers have been clamoring for. Killer stuff that really takes you by surprise.