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Landermason turn on the style

Published on 22/06/2007

Fiona Lander and Paul Mason, the duo from Bellingham better known as Landermason, performed a varied programme that included lyrical ballads, traditional jigs and more jazz-orientated numbers. The concert at Queen's Hall, Hexham, coincided with the launch of their new CD, The Reason. Normally performing as a duet, with Paul on acoustic guitar and Fiona on keyboards, penny whistles, saxophones and clarinet, for the concert they were joined by three other musicians. Double bass player and composer Tim Appleby demonstrated his experience and expertise, adding flare and style to the swing sections as with When the Boat Comes In, in which he clearly enjoyed 'slapping' the bass. Percussionist Andrew Lisle showed maturity and restraint in complementing the lighter, folk-based songs as well as the jazz through his imaginative use of brushes and bongos. Pip Emler has sung backing vocals for Landermason in previous performances, and Fiona and Paul's harmonies were enhanced by her pure tone, creating a well-balanced, rich and full sound. The whole performance was really enjoyable with the audience left feeling uplifted. For me the highlights were Somalia, in which we were awed into silence by Paul's skilful and emotional guitar playing, and the debut performance of When the Boat Comes In, in which all five musicians participated in this original and inspired arrangement of the traditional folk song to produce a jazz/swing atmosphere. Fiona's clear, unaffected lead vocal was complemented by the supporting voices of Paul and Pip: the three-part harmony was particularly effective in the opening number Angel of the North, and in I Know There's a Reason, the title track of the new CD. Paul's mastery of the acoustic guitar was demonstrated, showing dexterity and emotion in the hauntingly beautiful Tribe, in contrast with the jazzy, offbeat feel in Words Unsaid and The Mirror. He also treated us to more of his pleasant vocal talents than in previous performances, taking the lead in the delightful Please Yourself and in Hero, a wistful song about a childhood sweetheart. Landermason are currently touring the UK, and will next be performing in the Queen's Hall on September 30.