Rita Hoskins @ The Greystones - 18th October
Rita Hosking has all the right credentials to perform the traditional American music that enthralled a Tuesday evening crowd at The Greystones.
Hailing from the rural fastness of northern California, her father worked the night shift in the local sawmill and her grandmother travelled west to the Promised Land from Virginia in a covered wagon.
A young Ms. Hosking learnt to sing waiting for the school bus, but it's doubtful whether she would have felt self-conscious doing it - her nearest neighbours lived a mile distant and school was a two-hour bus ride away.
All the practice sure paid off. Her voice is soaring and confident, bringing the 'high lonesome sound' born of white rural America beautifully to this small back room in South Yorkshire. Hosking's songs are wonderfully grounded. She sings of hard work and hard-won experience; family fights, fire storms, slippery fundamentalist preachers, haunted houses and racing horses.
Fine support came from Michael Chapman, a 60s survivor still playing glittering, diamond-hard folk and blues guitar in his solo spot and providing sympathetic accompaniment on the final few numbers of the evening.
One voice and one guitar can get tiresome unless the voice is special and the songs engage from the off. Rita Hosking scored big on both counts.
Just a thought – the promoter might want to consider whether or not to schedule another acoustic musical evening on a Tuesday which, it turns out, is also quiz night at The Greystones. It didn't spoil a great show, but a more temperamental or less professional artist than Rita Hosking might have reacted badly to the competition from the quizmaster.