I am glad to be out of London. Lying on the grass at Trinity Folk Festival, just off the market-strewn high street of Guildford, I feel so removed from the grey, imposing city I left that morning. A song, I would later learn is called ‘Journey’, begins to play and I’m pulled back to the Courtyard Stage, the smell of beer to my left, of barbecue on my right, and the sound of Downtown Roundabout filling my ears. Who would have thought that a Guildford-based six-piece would be what reminded me I love Americana? Who would have thought that, despite spending the last month sitting in Clapham Common sipping ciders, today would be the day I finally felt like it was summer?
For the next 30 minutes this feeling doesn’t fade. Downtown Roundabout‘s set is consistently uplifting, refreshing and invigorating. Their songs inspire nostalgia for things I haven’t experienced yet while tapping into sensations which I have. A testament to good storytelling. Around every country-picking guitar solo sit lyrics which are as intriguing as they are beautiful. “This darkness makes me who I am” from the poignant ‘Black Dog’ won’t leave my head. Does this song carry a positive message or a negative one? Obviously a good excuse to listen again.
For half an hour I have completely forgotten about the grey, imposing city I left that morning. The music has thrown me back to a year ago, when this serenity was the norm, before cobbled streets gave way to bland pavement. Downtown Roundabout end their set on a high with the pure country sound of ‘Secrets’. As I take my seat on the train back to London I find their demo, put my headphones over my ears, and let it play all the way home.
For fans of: Dave Matthews Band, Bobby Womack, Chris Stapleton