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"Songs of Hurt & Healing" - Larkham & Hall (Folk Noir)

Gloriously soulful songwriting powerhouse 'Larkham and Hall' from Bristol, live streamed a stunning forty minute set from Frome's Visual Radio Arts….to the world.

Sarah Larkam sings with sensuality and power, and yes, she knows she sounds a lot like Stevie Nicks! Elliot Hall is more of a rasper with a rock and roll edge to the voice and the songwriting credentials of a long time admirer of Dylan and Cohen. He is as large and shambling as she is tiny. As he gets manfully to grips with mismatched shirt buttons and a recalcitrant mouth organ frame she tunes up, smooths down layers of lace and tulle and rearranges waist length blonde locks to accommodate the most enormous set of studio headphones.

Both play acoustic guitars and mandolin, taking it in turns with each others songs and supporting harmonies. Live performance and the new album 'Songs of Hurt and Healing' are intense experiences.

Elliot, who won the Bristol Songwriters' award a couple of years ago, feels that the popular song can and should cover difficult topics and to that end writes movingly about; dementia, the triumph of love over hate in the wake of recent terror attacks... abuse, and about him and her; 'Larkham and Hall' are in fact the recently married 'Hall and Hall', so they write movingly about that journey too and their life together afloat on a boat in Bristol Harbour.

Every day, Elliot Hall lives an astonishingly powerful story about the redemptive power of music. He talks openly about his earlier struggles with severe mental health difficulties and how he was able to cure himself through picking up a guitar and making songs. These days Elliot and Sarah run a project in Bristol called 'Mind Your Music' that uses music to support vulnerable people and those recovering from mental illness. Mind Your Music is a charity and relies on Arts Council funding and donations to continue.

Visual Radio Arts is doing something important for music appreciators. The existence of this buccaneering band of volunteers and enthusiasts is further evidence of Frome's growing reputation as a small town with a huge heart (for music). Sara Vian's witty interview with 'Larkham and Hall' is also not to be missed.

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