Can you handle authenticity? This is the key word that strongly springs to mind when you see Virgie And The The Handlers play live and especially when you meet front lady Virgie Lynne for coffee on Charing Cross Road.
Gallery Different on Percy Street was the perfect setting for their live gig. The added bonus was being surrounded by the wonderful artwork of Laura Beaumont. With tables laid out cabaret style, we were all waiting in anticipation and for my fellow guests intrigue and curiosity.
So whats the first impression one would expect from this four piece band? As Virgie Lynne quite aptly describes it is a unique, authentic nitty gritty appalachian Southern USA sound with a hoe down! Its clearly about the story and the lyrics and its the melody that drives the narrative.
And Virgie Lynne is not wrong! We were instantly grabbed by their relaxed and inviting allure. Sipping on red wine and encased in a creative bubble of glowing lights, the welcoming atmosphere really started to kick in and quite frankly we were all blown away.
Each musician is a mastermind in their own right. Corrado Cecere is a towering roman who’s methods of playing guitar jump out like lightening. He exudes a passionate understanding of music and control that brings every song to a level that doesn’t egotistically take over. Corrado is there with his fellow musicians and adds to the glue in a truly stunning way.
Madi ‘Mung Bean’ O’Sullivan is a mind boggling talent and one cant help but wonder what instrument doesn’t this lady play. A classically trained pianist she sings backing vocals and plays banjo, accordion, xylophone, drums, wooden block and numerous other percussion delights. Blimey Madi the list goes on!
Exquisite and stunning violin comes from the magical fingertips of Jonathan Derbyshire aka JD. An old soul in a young body who when off stage makes classical violins. His presence is so down to earth and his fine playing filled the gallery with a wonderful ‘take you on a spectacular journey’ energy. He added a vitality to all of the numbers.
Virgie Lynne is the superb front woman who adds her versatility as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Her voice is the perfect dynamic to the bands talent and uniqueness. She holds the audience with sheer confidence adding wit and honesty to all of her songs. Growing up in the bible belt of East Carolina she couldn’t wait to jump ship and head for NYC. Surviving the brutal 80’s music scene of Manhattan (where ego’s really came in the way) there was a price to pay. Paying to play was not an unusual term for New York musicians.
It seems Virgie Lynne is a survivor and a chance meeting in the Exmouth Market Tattoo Parlour was the best ever introduction back into music. Corrado Cecere was also familiar with Virgie Lynnes roots. He has traveled all over States as a musician and worked in music production with some very big names. Madi was the hidden gem discovered in a music shop in Camden and well the rest is history.
Virgie Lynne And The Handlers set was a magical mystery tour of original songs and covers. From the beautiful and spellbinding numbers of ‘Justice’, ‘Woe Betide’ and ‘Down The Country’ to superb covers of ‘Rocket Man’ ‘Jolene’ and ‘Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine’, we as the audience were part of their pack and loving every minute of it.
Virgie Lynne AndThe Handlers are the kind of band that can be transported anywhere. Old London Pubs with spit and sawdust to festival fields and quirky music venues. A truly memorable night and one that deserves being talked about.
And just for a cheeky taster check out their new debut single ‘Wouldn’t Put It Past Me / Dots Camden Session…..
Up and coming gigs – 25th October @ The Cavendish Arms SW8 – 2nd November @ The Old Eagle NW1
Words Celine Hispiche
Feature Photo Dare Cullen Jones
Article Photo’s Garry Salter