ONE of the most prestigious festivals in the North-East of England took place over the weekend when music lovers were treated to all sorts of brilliant entertainment at SummerTyne Americana, now in its 13th year at Sage Gateshead.

Over the weekend music appreciators were treated to Americana music which also features blues, jazz, country, folk, hillbilly and country rock with some of the events taking place within the Sage and others outside on the Jumpin' Hot Club stage.

The opening night featuredGlenn Campbell's daughter, Ashley Campbell, who performed a brilliant set featuring some of her songs shortly to be releasednew album with one of the most poignant songs being a song called Remembering, which contains the line "I'll do the remembering for you Dad" which relates to her father Glen who has Alzheimer's.

Loading article content

Apart from showing her talent as a singer-songwriter she also entertained in great style with her banjo picking and sense of humour informing the packed house that she had sampled her first taste of Newcastle Brown Ale on her last visit when she played in her father's band and that it is one of the best beers she has ever tasted.

To many traditional country lovers the highlight of the first night was a performance by the sons of country music legend Merle Haggard who died last year.

Ben and Noel Haggard were accompanied by members of their fathers band The Strangers including pedal steel guitarist Norman Hamlett who was band leader with Haggard for 40 nine years.

Their performance to a packed Sage Two hall was electric and from their opening song they had their audience in the palm of their hand. In a completely laid back performance tantamount to a session in your front room with friends they treated the audience to a repertoire of their fathers songs culminating with the classic Okie from Muskogee.

Brilliant solo guitar playing from Ben emphasised the fact that the pair were not only great entertainers but were talented guitarists as well.

Not only did they prove that their father was still alive through his songs it was more emphasised by the fact that when it came to soundalikes their father's intonations and vocal styling emerged in almost every breath. A well-deserved standing ovation brought the four back on stage to close an excellent performance.

Brian Clough