CQAF: Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan & Sarah Jarosz

4St George’s Church saw the arrival of three of the most iconic voices of modern bluegrass music, Sara Watkins, Aofie O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz.

The trio have been touring as of late (a tour titled ‘Im With Her’) around the UK playing their latest coming together of musical minds, presenting us with some fresh tracks, beautiful covers and familiar tunes from their own solo work.

Churches now a days…in the modern times, one in which seems to becoming gradually more atheistic in nature, coming across one filled with people is hard to come by (unless on a Sunday), however stick three of modern bluegrasses most iconic voices on a stage in a church in the center of town?1 Now that’s how to draw in a crowd. Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan & Sarah Jarosz took to the small stage in St George’s church as part of the CQAF, for what turned out to be a soft, intimate gig, jam packed with memorable spine tingling moments for bluegrass fans and heart warming performances from the three.

The stage was a small but a beautiful setting for the gig, with the traditional religious art work and tall ceilings of the church providing a natural echo to form from any note that was strung out from the stage. The trio appeared with nothing but an acoustic guitar, violin and banjo, hooked up to a few small speakers and microphones. The three produced some awe inspiring harmonizing on songs such as ‘Crossing Muddy Waters’ and ‘Run Away’, along with foot stomping, sing along opportunities during songs like ‘Long Hot Summer Days’, a song that seemed to really go down well with the Belfast crowd.

3A real highlight of the night, that made sitting on the hard wooden church seats worth it was the performance of ‘Hornets‘, the song took place just as the spring sun had finally decided to set, darkening out the stained glass windows and allowing the church to be fully illuminated by the staging lights. This created a real relaxed intimate mood, perfect for complementing the sounds coming off the stage and bouncing off the walls and tall ceilings around us all sitting watching.

A beautifully simple gig to have been at, perfect setting, perfect performance, a perfect set list played by Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan & Sarah Jarosz. A gig I’m sure that will stay in the memory of all those who were present for quite some time to come. Niall Donnelly, GiggingNI.com