THE Greystones may reside in the suburban idyll of S11 but tonight it’s going country.
The instigator is Rachel Harrington, Seattle-based singer-songwriter, evoking the ghosts of a bygone America.
Backed by a stunning band, the Knock-Outs, whom she met backstage at the annual Patsy Cline concert in Seattle last year, Harrington’s style is distinctly dark country.
Since their chance meeting, they have produced the self-titled Rachel Harrington and the Knock-Outs album at Seattle’s Avast studio – recording home to the Fleet Foxes and Soundgarden.
The album features bass, fiddle, guitars and additional vocalists, creating a sound that’s evocative of Loretta Lynn’s expansive country.
“I’ve always wanted to make a full country record,” says Harrington. “But I still wanted it to be a fundamentally West Coast derivative, one in which you could hear its Western influences.
“I wanted something that let you hear some of the songwriting of Loretta Lynn along with the California country of Gram Parsons and Buck Owens, along with some hints of the backing vocals of Ray Charles.”
Harrington’s career in music can be traced back to her childhood in Oregon and hearing Loretta Lynn. “That changed my life,” she says.
“Finally, I had someone I could actually sing like. And it was then I realised the connection between country and soul. The first time I heard Hank Williams I knew where he was coming from – the same place as Ray Charles, I could just hear it.”
Harrington may not be from the same background as Charles or Lynn, but musically their spirit lives through hers. And it’s a spirit she’ll be bringing to Sheffield when she transforms The Greystones into a honky tonk tonight.