Chicago-born alt folk duo Rue Royale display their candlelit songcraft, drawing on the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake, by putting in another acoustic appearance at the Bicycle Shop. Plus: Petunia & The Vipers, We Are The Ocean.

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PETUNIA & THE VIPERS

Norwich Arts Centre, January 29

Spending the early part of his career playing on every major street corner, subway station and park bench in Vancouver, charismatic lead singer Petunia – real name Ron Fortugno – has been a regular on the Canadian touring circuit for many years now. He plays 150 shows every year, regularly venturing over the border into the USA, and now bringing his band The Vipers over to Europe.

The country crooning outfit offer a dark and hip take on Americana. Lap steel and double bass give proceedings a gentle lilt, but there’s a dark side to this ensemble.

Petunia’s music is infectious — a rollicking good blitz of high-octane rockabilly and bluegrass numbers. His singing ranges from the most delicate you’ve ever heard to the most powerful, often within a single song — hillbilly-flavoured-swing inflected-ragtime-goodtime-thunderously rolling-one-of-a-kind-you-don’t-want-to-miss-this-sort-of-a-show. He has a huge repertoire of traditional music to draw from but also expect plenty of Petunia originals drawn from his seven albums so far

He and his band appear are like 1950s throwbacks but not in a overly knowing way and, not afraid to improvise, they don’t take themselves too seriously. The latest in a number of undiscovered Canadian treasures who’ve visited recently.

t Further listening: www.petuniamusic.com

RUE ROYALE

Bicycle Shop, January 29

Chicago-born alt folk duo Rue Royale display their candlelit songcraft, drawing on the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake, by putting in another acoustic appearance at the Bicycle Shop.

Ruth and Brookln Dekker — aka Rue Royale — have amassed 80,000 miles on the road in Europe alone since the release of their first eponymously-titled album in 2008.

Meanwhile, without the backing of a label or manager, between tours the couple has rustled up a cottage industry at their cosy Nottingham home.

Together they’ve printed, snipped, sewed and stuffed 7,500 Rue Royale albums. Fans have also been treated to hand-made Rue Royale knitted goods — how many groups do you know who sport hot water-bottle covers on their merchandise stand?

Meanwhile, over in cyber-space, RR have personally nurtured a large Facebook/Twitter following and racked up over 500,000 online plays. Not bad for a husband and wife song-writing team who, then living in Chicago, only started performing together six years ago, inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, Grandaddy, John Martyn, Jose Gonzalez and Elbow.

Their last album, Guide To An Escape, retained the acoustic duo’s hushed, evocative melodies but was notably richer in sound and wider in scope. Here they preview tracks from their forthcoming new album.

t Further listening: www.rueroyalemusic.com

WE ARE THE OCEAN

Waterfront, January 31

Post-hardcore Essex outfit arrive in Norwich promoting their third album, Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow, and rebuilding after a traumatic 2012 that saw the departure of their vocalist Dan Brown, who left the group to concentrate on becoming a band manager on a full-time basis.

Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow is their first record as a quartet and they admit that the parting of Brown made its recording “very difficult”.

New singer Liam Cromby told the NME: “The majority of the songs were written as the four of us and Dan’s bits would be added on at the end. As he was managing the band while we were recording the album, he was away a lot and it was mainly just the four of us.”

Bassist Jack Spence added that the band realised Brown’s presence on their recorded output was shrinking with each album and felt that this was a situation they had to address. “There were no underlying problems, but because he was managing the band, he was away a lot and not always in the studio. So Liam and me would be writing parts for him and they wouldn’t suit his voice and we’d have to rework things.”

Considering the circumstances, the resulting album is remarkably focused.

Support comes from Scottish post-hardcore band Yashin. Meanwhile having last year release their second album, Freaks Like Us, which spawned three singles, Straight Lines have just released a new EP Escapology, the title track of which sees the band expand their musical horizons into anthemic territory.

t Further listening: www.wearetheocean.co.uk

SOUNDS IN THE CITY

JANUARY 25

Leddra Chapman + Lee Broderick (pop/singer-songwriter) — Arts Centre

White Heat + Dead Wing (rock) — Brickmakers

Color: feat. Mampi Swift (dubstep/drum n bass) — Waterfront

Big Black Cadillac (rockabilly) — Walnut Tree Shades

Bad Touch (rock) — King Edward VII

Music House: feat. Matt Watson + Jeff Long + Lisa Ambrose (acoustic) — Wensum Lodge

Contra’s Jude Garrod + Jack Evison (indie/rock) — Blueberry

Acaysha (folk/roots) — Brewery Tap

Rock Monster: feat. DJK (rock) — Open

Lena Black & The Playboys (blues) — Hog In Armour

Stalker (rock) — Bar 11

Bill Downs (pop/acoustic) — Silver Road Cottage

Phil Male — Fiveways

JANUARY 26

Feral Mouth (Americana/indie) — Open

Differential + Purple Havana + more (beatbox/rock/charity) — Waterfront Studio

Rise + Section IV (prog rock) — Brickmakers

Egypt (rock/blues) — King Edward VII

Rossi Noise + Let Us Proceed (dubstep/rock) — B2

Adenland + Dark Horse (blues/rock) — King Edward VII

Bare Feet Records Showcase: feat. Kamilla Lovett + Golly Ghost + Tristan McKelvey + Koi Paraga (1pm) — Arts Centre

Red Leaf (rock) — Blueberry

The Cream Horns (blues/funk) — The Stanley

Beast With A Gun + Long Bone Trio (rock‘n’roll) — Olives

The Strollers (rock‘n’roll) — Arkwrights

Claire & Josie (pop/soul) — The Wildman

Honeydripper (blues/soul) — Eaton Cottage

Murphy’s Lore (Irish) — The Leopard

Replica (rock) — The Heartsease

Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Buck Inn

3 Up 2 Down (pop/rock) — Trowel & Hammer

Kevin King — Old Catton Maids Head

Hotsmoke & Danger — Golden Star

Barry Lee — Gas Club

Alan Ley — Bread & Cheese

Steve Allen — Heath House

Kevin Solo — Kier Hardie Hall

Shannan — Quebec Tavern

Chris & Lucy — Robin Hood

Graham Stacey — The Champion

JANUARY 27

The Leopard Trio (rockabilly/3pm) — King Edward VII

Dumfoundus (pop/acoustic/5pm) — Silver Road Cottage

Hayley Moses & The Bluegrass Forum (bluegrass/3pm) — Brewery Tap

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Lena Black & The Uptown Playboys + Dixie Mix (blues/jazz) — Wensum Valley Hotel

JANUARY 28

Kelly Joe Phelps (blues/indie) — Arts Centre

Jazz Jam: feat. Lee Vasey + Ian Hireson + Mark Jolley + more — Silver Road Cottage

Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades

Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

JANUARY 29

Petunia & The Vipers (jazz/swing/ragtime) — Arts Centre

Rue Royale (indie/folk/pop) — Bicycle Shop

Enrico Tomasso & Simon Brown Trio (jazz) — Oaklands Hotel

The Divide (rock/farewell gig) — Brickmakers

Phab Club: feat. Elation (pop/folk) — Vauxhall Centre

Sonic Arts 71 (electronic/experimental) — Forum

JANUARY 30

Henrik Freischlader + Albany Down + Nina Baker (blues/indie) — Waterfront Studio

Norfolk Blues Society Jam — Walnut Tree Shades

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Acoustic Jam — Micawbers Tavern

Traditional Irish — Gatehouse

JANUARY 31

We Are The Ocean + Yashin + Straight Lines (rock) — Waterfront

Metal Lust: feat. Korpiklaani + Metsatoll (metal) — Open

Nigel King Band (pop/rock) — Brickmakers

Ghostriders Western Club: feat. McKenzie (country) — TA Centre

Tony Brook (Americana/blues) — Ten Bells

The Planks (blues/soul/funk) — Walnut Tree Shades

Johnny Jump Band (country/blues) — Micawbers Tavern

Albert Cooper’s Jazz Life — Rumsey Wells

Lee Atterton (jazz/rock‘n’roll) — Bar 11

The Black Hearts (rock) — Rose Tavern

Open Jam — King Edward VII

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