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Hey Harley review: An elegant brand of genre-melding

Nashville-based duo Hey Harley's appearance in the refined surroundings of the Elmwood Hall is actually quite fitting.

A collaboration between established singer-songwriters Lizanne Knott and Bill Reveles, staples of the underground Americana scene - Knott, in particular, has developed a significant cult following in the UK - they bring their own elegant brand of genre-melding to the Belfast Festival at Queen's.

Like The Civil Wars, without any of the destructive civil warring, Hey Harley relies on the qualities of its individual components to create a spare but pleasant sound, all relaxed confidence and twinkling acoustics.

Mostly unchallenging, the music comes infused, nevertheless, with lyrics strong and clever enough to decorate familiar themes: love, family, poverty. Thankfully, the uplifting melodies and bluesy "get even" tracks serve as ample reward for the occasionally vanilla efforts that tend to surface in this kind of easy-listening style.

Knott and Reveles seem to enjoy each other's company, their mutual affection lending the set a lightly intimate air. Knott's voice, however, is the real star of the show, a tool as capable of beautiful clarity as it is of conveying whispering sensuality.

Filling the grand old hall throughout, it raises hairs and spirits alike.

Three stars

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