Club sheds its oyster shell with a year of favourites
“Whitstable Sessions is one of our favourite gigs in the world” – as acceptance speeches go the compliment doesn’t get much higher than that.
It came from the winner of the top award at Whitstable Sessions Music Club on Friday as it celebrated the annual awards night, and hosted a gig for the last time at the Oyster Stores venue before the club moves to St Mary’s Hall, part of the Umbrella Centre, in May.
Music for the evening came all the way from the Mississsippi Delta with Bronwynne Brent, a journey through American roots music, with a bit of blues, jazz and country and even a side trip to a “sort of” traditional Scottish song. Her last song of the night probably isn’t usually on her set list, but as it was Dame Vera’s 100th birthday, We’ll Meet Again was a fitting choice.
As if that wasn’t enough entertainment, we also had the awards. The winning artists respond by recording video thank you messages from wherever they happen to be in the world, to be relayed on the big screen on the night.
Song of the year – and this was pure coincidence – went to Bronwynne Brent for Devil Again following her previous visit to the sessions. On the evidence of her performance on Friday, she’ll be in the running again next year too.
Critic’s Choice (that’s chosen by me) went to The Small Glories, the fab Cara Luft and JD Edwards. Soundman’s Choice went to Ben Murray and Rosie Doonan, and Interviewer’s Choice went to Sam Lee.
And finally, the Session of the Year, voted on by club members and supporters, went to Furnace Mountain, and their video message echoed the sentiments of all the others – Whitstable really is their favourite gig and its audiences are the best. Debbie Neech
Bronwynne Brent took the audience on a journey through American roots music
Ben Murray, Rosie Doonand and viola player John Metcalfe, left, Sam Lee, centre, and top gig of the year, Furnace Mountain