Review: Duo of divas delights Cobblestone crowd

Folk-soul torch Holly McNarland displays powerhouse vocals during Saturday
Folk-soul torch Holly McNarland displays powerhouse vocals during Saturday's double bill with Nicola Linde at the Cobblestone Pub.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Singer Holly McNarland, and opening act Nicola Linde, displayed soaring vocals that made them stars among Cowichanians during Saturday's concert in the Cobblestone Pub.

Linde amply warmed the stage with solo prowess, dispensing affable modesty while playing Just A Game (bound for her EP disc), and I Wonder (she performed this one at New York's tough Sugar Bar), before recreating Monster, tracing how we can make our own demons.

Victoria-based Linde's brand of confident delivery during her folkistential originals made her a delight.

And she was the perfect opener for barefooted, bar-friendly fare from McNarland.

Still sporting a slight hangover, McNarland hinted for, and got, shots of Jagermeister for herself, husband Chad Hunt (rhythm guitars), and sideman Jay Slye (lead and lap-steel guitars).

But McNarland's sobering vocals spoke of realities we can all relate to: loneliness, pain, hope, loss and longing.

Like Linde — who's a big fan of McNarland and Alanis Morissette — Torontonian McNarland poured out staggering aural range on Widow's Pain, Run Body Run, You'll Forget About Me (a divorce song), The Waltz, Sad Songs, and her hit tune Numb.

McNarland and the guys also tossed in a choice cover version of country standard Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.

The Cobblestone's various rooms nicely offered live views of the stage via wall TVs.

Judging by the rousing reception for these two powerhouse divas, let's look for their valley reprise soon.

Folk-roots concert rating: 8.5 notes out of 10.

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