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The California-based singer/songwriter Rita Hosking returned to the UK this week for a two-week tour along with musician/husband Sean Feder by her side and with a brand new album under her belt. Tonight Rita and Sean arrived at the Back Room in Cottingham fully equipped with guitar, dobro and banjo in order to debut a handful of new songs from that record, together with some of Rita's more familiar material. With her harmonica rack in position, the duo kicked off the first set with Something You Got, which also opens Rita's last full-length album BURN, featuring some tasty dobro accompaniment courtesy of Sean.
Shrouded in near darkness, the two musicians soon relaxed into their first set, which effectively relaxed the audience for the next forty-five minutes. The set not only featured songs from the new record such as Sierra Bound, Clean and Parting Glass, but also one or two from Rita's back catalogue including Kitchen Table and Chairs from her ARE YOU READY period and Little Joe and Holier Than Thou from the COME SUNRISE album.
Alternating between dobro and banjo, Sean provided some intuitive playing to accompany Rita's songs, always underpinning his wife's guitar and vocal and never taking centre stage, apart from when the duo performed Townes Van Zandt's White Freight Liner in the second set, for which Sean took the lead on. Sean followed that with an Earl Scruggs banjo medley, which included the theme tune from the Beverley Hillbillies.
Returning to songs from the new record, the duo performed both Nothing Left Of Me and Five Star Location, two new songs recently added to Rita's body of work, each featuring Sean on dobro. Throughout both sets, the focal point was Rita's distinct voice and the songs, with the instrumentation complementing the arrangements. Towards the end of the set, the duo revisited some of Rita's best known songs such as Ballad of the Gulf of Mexico and the radio friendly Dishes, before finishing with the title song from the COME SUNRISE album. Running over slightly, the duo returned to the stage for the final encore of the aptly titled I'm Going Home, which proved to be the perfect finisher.