SummerTyne Americana – review

Sage, Gateshead

SummerTyne is a soulful celebration of American roots music and culture, and this year carried a distinct Cajun flavour in every sense. Cooking and music-making are inseparable on the bayou, as proven by a mouth-watering concert-cum-cookery demonstration by members of the Louisiana musical dynasty, the Savoy family. Brother Wilson led his Grammy-nominated ensemble, the Pine Leaf Boys, through a raucous selection of traditional Acadian two-steps while sister Sarah made jambalaya. The secret to authentic, southern-country cooking turns out to be quite simple: add lots of cayenne, and some of the finest Cajun musicians in the country, then stir.

There's even a Cajun enclave in the Swiss Alps, led by the wonderfully frenetic Mama Rosin, whose brand of accordion-powered zydeco-punk ended with numerous percussion instruments being tossed into the audience, followed by the band themselves. But the ultimate fix came from the grand vizier of New Orleans voodoo-funk, Dr John, whose mesmerising performance was as close as you'll come to witnessing a shaman summoning spirits. While there have been plenty of magical performances conjured from the Sage's Steinway grand piano, this was the first time someone had placed a skull on top of it.

Rockabilly diva Wanda Jackson scored the biggest hit of a 50-year career when Jack White produced her album The Party Ain't Over. She's still an inspiration, though she mouths an apology during a cover of Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good. You have to draw a line somewhere, and lyrical references to carpet burns and toe-sucking are further than the average septuagenarian, born-again Christian rock goddess might be expected to go.


Alfred Hickling

The GuardianTramp

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