Boomtown – The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It’s been a year of disappointments, nowhere more so than in the music and arts community with gigs, tours and festivals all falling by the wayside like a house of cards. And when the fickle hand of fate upsets your plans there are only really two responses. You can either feel sorry for yourself, moan and whine and take things personally. Or you can turn the frown upside down…sorry, that sounds so American….and use the experience as the basis for your next song. And it is the latter approach that The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show opts for.

The title makes for the perfect teaser, especially if you are festival going folky, but the lyrics tell the whole story in a pretty matter of the fact sort of way anyway. And they do so in a very philosophical fashion, you can almost hear the “oh, wells,” the “perhaps next time,” and the “shit happens,” sentiments running through the whole affair.

And as always the story is set to their wonderfully raw-edged, busky, folky, honest and fun music, pretty much the opposite of those East London folk gatekeepers of recent times. This is rural punky-folk in all its glory. The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show is a band that focus group led songwriters such as Mumford and The Whale could only ever dream of being. This is back of the transit van, cider-festival music. This is real ale supping, country pub music. This is music forged in cow-shed rehearsal rooms and played on the back of a hired flatbed trailer at local country fairs. This. Is. The. Real. Deal. (Again, sorry for that last sentence, I don’t normally go in for that sort of cliche and hyperbole.)

They may not have played Boomtown but they did get a fantastic song out of those collapsed plans. And that has to be a better result in the long run, hasn’t it?

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