An Evening With Applewood Road
In the cosy O2 Academy Liverpool one Wednesday night, Applewood Road took to the stage for a night of laughter, melodies, and laid back music. Originally three solo artists, who met in a coffee shop in Nashville, Amy Speace, Amber Rubarth and Emily Barker decided to be their own support acts for this tour. An interesting approach, it showed the diversity of each of their styles and voices in a stripped back environment. Each artist played four songs, introducing one another after their own set had finished, before finally joining together as the hauntingly-beautiful folk supergroup Applewood Road.
First up was Amber Rubarth, whose melodies and chilled out vibe were a perfect start to the evening. Since this night, I’ve had Wherever You Are stuck on repeat, purely for the calm quality to Rubarth’s voice. This juxtaposed against that of Amy Speace, who played next. Stylistically, Speace was a complete change to Rubarth – her country and bluesy ballads rocked the entire venue. Up last was Emily Barker, whose vocal ability continues to give me chills: having recently recorded her album, she is definitely one to watch.
The trio then joined together for the main event of the night, starting off with Applewood Road, the first track the songwriters wrote together. Playing mostly songs from their self-titled album including To the Stars, Sad Little Tune and Homefires, the band also gave us their take on R.E.M’s Losing My Religion, making it completely their own with perfect harmonies and only a single guitar accompanying.
Josephine, a song dedicated to Speace’s niece, was one of many highlights of the night, along with the heavily banjo-influenced Old Time Country Song. Between songs, the trio continued to keep the crowd involved, whether it was through their stories of how they met their partners, telling bad banjo jokes, or what they think about mid song – for Amy this seemed to be mainly the thought of kissing her husband, something Amber, Emily, and the rest of the room found hilarious.
After a lengthy set, the night drew to a close but not before upbeat ballad Honey Won’t You, which showed just how well the band work together vocally. Overall, the night was a success. Listening to Applewood Road showcase their music in such a small venue, the intimacy of which only added to the relaxed nature of the night, left me on a high and wishing I could repeat the evening again and again.