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Music Review: Tiny Tin Lady – Ridiculous Bohemia

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Acoustic folk with delightful splashes of violin, welcome you to the second album from UK’s Tiny Tin Lady. Formed by sisters Danni and Beth Gibbins in 2004, Tiny Tin Lady is a four piece all girl band originating from St. Helens in Merseyside.

They quickly earned slots supporting Fairport Convention and followed that with an appearance at Fairport’s Cropredy Festival. Soon afterwards they recruited bass player Helen Holmes and the trio went into the studio before emerging in 2006 with The Sound Of Requiem.

It received many excellent reviews and suddenly Tiny Tin Lady were one of the most talked about new folk bands on the circuit. That year also saw the arrival of violinist and vocalist Kat Gilmore and the new four piece set off supporting Fairport on their 40th anniversary tour. They also supported Midge Ure and Jah Wobble as their reputation grew.

Over the next couple of years they played over forty festivals including Glastonbury. All that hard work was paying off for the band with main songwriter Danni attracting rave reviews from the likes of Ralph McTell, and Richard Thompson.

Remarkably Danni is still only in her early twenties. Her sister Beth Reed-Gibbins is even younger but possesses a voice that makes this fact totally irrelevant. Beth’s singing is so good that half way through the bands rendition of Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” at the Cropredy Festival the audience burst into spontaneous applause.

The Cropredy audience are, of course, made up of lovers and leading aficionados of folk music alike. Fairport Convention themselves described her as ‘simply incredible’. An impressive recommendation indeed.

Sister Danni’s guitar skills are in the style of Bert Jansch. Passionate, driving, rhythmic, and yet stylish and intricate. Kat Gilmore provides those atmospheric strings, whilst Helen Holmes, regarded as one of the best female bassists in the UK, underpins it all with some funky lines.

Their musicianship, performance, and songwriting cannot be faulted and Ridiculous Bohemia underlines their potential with some excellent moments. Soaked in an atmosphere of delicate harmonies Tiny Tin Lady write and perform rootsy folk of the highest quality.

For the album they also draft in some impressive guests such as Fairport pair Ric Sanders and Gerry Conway. There is a lot of maturity coming out of the speakers with this album. They weave intricate patterns between the vocal harmonies and guitar. All of this is topped off by the violin.

Listen a little deeper and the lyrics often delve into the dark side of disillusionment cleverly set amid a warm glow within the music. This is best illustrated on the excellent track “The Road To Ridiculous Bohemia.” Any band that can write songs of this quality and then set about performing them in such a beautiful and yet powerful way deserves to be noticed.

There are occasional hints of Desire era Dylan with the violin adding that extra dimension. Opening with the reggae vibe of “Fall Into Line,” the albums moves smoothly through several highlights. “Anti-Social Sciences” is a solid early example. The gentle “Green And Brown And Grey” again showcases everything good about the band.

“In My Room,” an original not a Beach Boys cover, leads nicely into an uptempo “Dubble Bummage.” The vocals on “Pretty Eyes,” the world weary lyrics of “Seven Weeks Of Strip Poker” which is lit again by wonderful violin, and an excellent “Growing Pains” all ensure that the mid section of the album hooks you further under its spell.

The title track breezes through with lyrics we can all relate to, when the morning after dawns. “Love Is A Duel” again opens with some lovely acoustic guitar, before the closing track “My Heineken Keg” brings it all to an end with a up on the table party stomp.

This is a young band with a huge measure of maturity in all they do. All the signs are there that they can carve out a very bright future for themselves.

After all, when the likes of Fairport Convention add their impressive weight behind them, then you don’t need me to tell you that this is a band to look out for.

You can check out Tiny Tin Lady on their official website or on their myspace page.

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About Jeff Perkins