But first a mention for local musician Dave Onions, who provided an entertaining and impressive supporting set beforehand consisting of six songs including "Train Of Fools", "WIP". "Busking" and my personal fave "Aftershock". In fact, Dave has an interesting ELO connection in that the track "Global Man" on his second album "Six Degrees Of Separation" was produced by none other that ELO keyboard maestro Richard Tandy!
The new look Quill arrived on stage not longer later and from the first moment, they were full of pleasant sonic surprises. This was the first time that I'd seen and heard the ultra-talented Abby Brant, new bassist Matt Worley and ex-Robert Plant percussionist Andy Edwards perform together with the established trio of leader Joy, violinist Kate McWilliam alongside ace guitarist Tony Kelsey and their delivery of Pete Seeger's "The Bells Of Rhymney" revealed not only a new song but that new sound. If that didn't grab the healthy attendances attention, then the three  new songs from their forthcoming new studio album, namely "Black Dog Day", "Better Late Than Never" and "Say Goodbye" most certainly did! They blended effortlessly with the reinvented "Matador", "Say It Ain't So", "Nine Mile Camp" and "Life Is Life" - so different and yet almost completely new. Abby's fantastic delivery of Steve Winwood's ethereal "Can't Find My Way Home" was wonderful as was the sublime new Quilltastic rendition of Mike Scott's "The Whole Of The Moon". I also loved the 'new' medley that took the place of "The Celtic Experience" but the biggest smile on my face was generated by the transformation of Jeff Lynne's wonderful power ballad "Telephone Line" into a sultry, bluesy masterpiece. The band saved another surprise until they launched into a new encore incorporating The Beatles "Abbey Road Medley" finale of "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight" and "The End" to send those watching into animated rapture.
This concert revealed a paradox regarding the band who are Quill. The names and faces of two thirds of the band have changed since I first saw them perform live yet, even with the dramatic change in set list and the transformation of their sound to that of smooth Americana, they were still Quill. A newer, polished Quill who promise much as they start recording their new album this week. Much credit is due to Joy Strachan-Brain, who continues to wow audiences with both Quill and her growing reputation as one of Britain's most adaptable and best female singers.
Quill will next be performing on Friday 22nd April at The Robin 2 in Bilston. Tickets are priced at £12.50 in advance or £15.00 on the night. See you there?
Quill performed: “The Bells Of Rhymney” ~ “Black Dog Day” ~ “Matador” ~ “A Showman’s Life” ~ "“Better Late Than Never” ~ “Telephone Line” ~ “Can’t Find My Way Home” ~ “Life Is Life” ~ “Say It Ain’t So” ~ “Falling Slowly” ~“Nine Mile Camp” ~ New Jig Medley ~ “The Whole Of The Moon” ~ “Say Goodbye” ~ England Medley: “Wild Mountain Thyme”/“England”/“Jerusalem” ~ Encore: “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight”/“The End”
Find out what Quill are up to by visiting their official web site via this link thus: