If you live in the North Surrey or West London areas and you like to come out and support live music once-in-a-while, then it is almost certain that you will have seen Elaine Samuels and her band Kindred Spirit playing live. Elaine is simply the hardest working music-maker on our local scene — playing regular concerts throughout the area. A real asset to the community.
And last Saturday night — 18th April — was Elaine’s special night. Because it was the launch show for Kindred Spirit’s new album “Phoenix Rising”. Held at St. Augustine’s Church, Whitton — with money raised from the concert going to the wonderful local charity “Homelink”.
The show started with a Fleetwood Mac cover to loosen things up… then right away we went into the first track of the album titled ‘Kindred Spirit.’
This had mellow beginnings that grew magnificently into vibrant reflections. It was a clever composition and, right away, we knew we were in for a great evening.
Second track ‘Life is a Circus’ was one of our favourites. It was poppy and totally clap-along enjoyable.
The acoustics of the church were not entirely favourable for the acute and often smooth-rolling voice of Elaine. But the instrumental accompaniments always hit-the-spot. With sparkling violin (and even creative pizzicato on at least one song from the impressively talented Gavin Jones) and astonishing flute and sax play (from the multi-talented Catherine Dimmock) plus reliable and poetic bass-play from Mike Hislop (he also provided smooth and efficient backing vox. )
Les Binks (best known as the drummer from Judas Priest) provided the artistic and well-balanced percussion.
At one point there were at least eight musicians on stage (many of the musicians who had worked on the recording had made special journeys to be able to join Elaine for this special night) and the pews were packed with delighted music lovers. It was a celebration of all the best things in life… Good company, wonderful sounds and a peaceful, sacred place to meditate on those things that we sometimes take for granted.
A high-point of the evening was “A Horse with No Name” (written, oddly enough, by a man from England named Dewey Bunnell) but made famous by ‘America’ for ‘America’. This song can also be found on the new album by Kindred Spirit.
Other covers included a lively and bouncy version of “Lola” (Kinks), which we appreciated, but mostly this was a night of self-written compositions. And creative excellence.
And so by the time we reached the rise of ‘The Phoenix’ we felt proud and lucky to be witnessing this first ever public performance of the album in full. This song is an impressive number — complicated enough to be considered ‘Prog’ — but not intimidating in any way. It is easy to get into… And at St. Augustine’s Church it was a beautiful and harmonious piece.
Congratulations to Elaine and all of the band at Kindred Spirit — thanks for putting on such an excellent evening of musical entertainment.
And we wish you every success with this rather special new album.
Words and Images: @neilmach 2015 ©