Kristabelle and The Southern Jubilee Ringers @ Turner Bowls. 6th Mar, 2015
by Chenoeh Miller
Her smooth deep vocals are highlighted by a killer ensemble and a knock out pair of boots, but the crowd is small and the sound is low.
The Turner Bowls club is a favourite local venue. No, really, what’s not to like? There’s a pool table, cheap drinks, a dollhouse stage, the gorgeous CMC welcoming committee and a regular line up of some of the best bands in town. So I was stunned on this particular evening upon my 9pm arrival, to find a mere 23 people scattered around the rounded tables. Perhaps there was another party that night that I didn’t know of. But I wasn’t about to let the vacant space deter me from enjoying a rare parenting free night, toe tapping to one of my favourite recent musical finds. As self nominated die hard fans, my friends and I quickly nicknamed them ‘The Kristabelle’s’.
Within minutes they arrive on stage, each with a sunshine gaze and singin’ of springtime on the range today. I am instantly reminded of the UK band Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. Only these folk are less dirty, less rockabilly and more the pure country sound that I love. Like Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton.
Cary Grant and Beatie Bow on guitars, Clint Eastwood (circa 1965) on double bass and the divine sunshine that is Alice in Wonderland* on violin and banjo with her enviable blue boots. Alice and Beatie wear classic country matchy dresses. They are all heart and poise; their harmony and teeth exquisite in every way.
Cary is smooth with his supportive and constant presence. His winning smile tells me that he loves being here. And his upward facing steel string clangs superb as he expertly manoeuvres central focus from himself to his adoring Belles.
Clint’s relentless energy keeps us enthralled despite the empty space in the room. His legitimate banditry reaches lovely peaks when he tells inter song tales with Beatie.
I want to hear them more. Alas the sound is low. My friend and I discuss who will ask the sound guy to turn it up. She does, to not much avail. The instruments and vocals remain low. The few of us there would have taken a cue from the volume to dance but the softness kept us in our seats.
I first saw this group at a Backyard Bachanalia some weeks before when their energy was much bigger – perhaps incurred by the bigger crowd. Evidently these still sitting few were given a lesser joy on this round.
I love this group, but I crave their possibility and a more consistent energy. Still, they are my favourite local band at the moment and I can’t wait to see them again.
*names changed for no particular reason.
They are in fact: Cary – Kevin Bradley; Beatie – Jacqueline Bradley; Clint – Ed Radclyffe
And Alice – Krista Schmeling
Together they are Kristabelle and the Southern Jubilee Ringers