Review: Rayna Gellert Trio – January 2017

Rayna GellertFriday was a pretty big day. First there was the small matter of the 45th President of the United States . Then there was the visit of the Rayna Gellert Trio to Whitstable Sessions .
“Tonight we inaugurate the new album and our tour… and that’s the only inauguration I want to talk about!” Rayna began.

So we all put the thought of President Trump to one side for the evening and got on with enjoying the visit of this renowned American fiddle player along with Kai Welch on guitar, keyboards and vocals, and percussionist Jamie Dick.

Actually it proved almost impossible to ignore the Trump spectre at our feast, but we made the best of it. When Kai joked of the apocalypse and remarked “we’re f****d” someone in the audience shouted back “join the club” – having agreed on that, laughter and music proved the best possible medicine on an extraordinary day.

I’m a big fan of the American old time string band Uncle Earl, of which Rayna is a founder member, but with this trio tour and the launch of the album Workin’s Too Hard, Rayna is blending a love of the old-time traditions and fiddle tunes with her own songs and music, which means we get a chance to hear her lovely voice as well as the fantastic fiddle playing she is known for.

So in a nicely varied mix we got tasters of the album including the beautiful, lilting Perry, the instantly catchy Grey Bird and the soulful River Town, interspersed with blazing fiddle playing, the hilarious disarray of the gospel song I’m Bound For The Promised Land which went a bit awry, and then the storming finale encore performance of the traditional tune Julianne Johnson.

It was a flying start to the tour and to the album launch. Afterwards Rayna tweeted “Man oh man, Whitstable Sessions is the best! Amazing gig, perfect (and forgiving!) first audience of the tour. Thank you!”

So at least one inauguration on Friday heralded the start of something great.


This review by Debbie Neech also appeared in K M Group newspapers.

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