A Review: Lady Maisery

Billed as a welcome return of folk music to the Corn Hall, Lady Maisery offered up something altogether richer and more varied. Hannah James, Rowan Rheingans and Hazel Askew showcased their considerable music talents with a confident ease, alternating between stripped back a cappella singing and a complex blend of banjo, harp, accordion and foot thumping.

While the Unthanks inevitably spring to mind (with an occasional underscoring of Wishbone Ash) Lady Maisery’s sources and collaborators are many and varied. Todd Rundgren’s Honest work sat surprisingly well with the traditional Diggers’ Song, while a brief extract from Emily Hall’s Rest left the audience keen to hear more. Sydney Carter’s Crow On The Cradle was another undoubted highlight, as was their signature diddling, but it was during the band’s own compositions – most notably A Father’s Lullaby – that the band personality really shone through.

Tempting though it is to alight upon the unique sound of Rheingan’s homemade bansitar, or James’s fancy footwork, or Askew’s love of physics, Lady Maisery are distinguished not by their constituent parts, but by the clockwork precision of the whole, not least by the most exquisite, elevating vocal harmonies you are ever likely to hear.

By David Vass