To be able to do something you love, and do it well, for decades is a gift many are denied. But for those lucky few artists, a lifetime of music can delight entire audiences year after year.
Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings are among the lucky ones. Performing in front of a large and energetic audience at Grassington Festival on 25 July, they proved, once again, that talented musicians and good music can stand the test of time. The former Rolling Stone has gathered around him some of the greatest soul, blues, and rock ‘n roll musicians, creating a fluid group that performs so comfortably with one another that you almost feel that you’ve stumbled upon a jam session in someone’s garage, instead of a packed marquee in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. They’re music, done right.
Seattle-based singer/songwriter Emily Cimber opened the evening on a sunny evening in Grassington. Her raspy voice, lyrics that are the perfect combination of romantic, dark, and touching, and talent on both guitar and piano set the stage for a great night of music. Her work is a mix of country and folk, and songs like “Saying Goodbye” had the audience leaning in to one another and asking, “How do you spell ‘Cimber'”?
The lead in to the evening’s headliners was perfectly coordinated, with Wyman taking the stage to a loud chorus of applause and introducing the kings (and queen) that make up the Rhythm Kings. Highlights of the evening (for me, at least!) were without a doubt Frank Meade’s masterful performances on the harmonica, Bev Skeet’s incredible vocals on “This is a Man’s World,” and the opportunity to hear a range of classics that I haven’t heard in years, with a new twist.
Seeing Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings live in concert? Awesome.
An introduction to Emily Cimber, a new talent who’s right up my alley? Amazing.
The opportunity to engage in audience participation during “Talk to Me, Baby” with legends of their craft? Absolutely priceless.