I CAN’T think of a better way of spending a dark, wintery Sunday evening than listening to an Americana folk-rock band from Nashville, Tennessee in Milborne village hall.

The Artsreach event was a complete sell out, with people travelling to the village to see The Grahams duo Alyssa and Doug perform with their band. Band members included Pat on drums and Aaron on bass, along with tour manager Brian Bongo Davis.

Originally from Manhattan, Alyssa and Doug Graham grew up as childhood sweethearts, making music, marrying and moving to Nashville.

On Sunday night, the band played songs from the duo’s first album Riverman’s Daughter, which debuted in 2013 and was written with long-time collaborator and lyric-writer Bryan McCann.

The album emerged from their experience of traversing the Great River Road, which parallels the Mississippi. The set included the hauntingly evocative Blow Wind Blow – a song we can all relate to of personal loss. I didn’t believe it was possible to cover Neil Young’s Down by the River but they did – amazingly, somehow making it authentically their own. They also sang songs from their album Glory Bound, based on their immersion experience of riding the railroads to the great plains of America.

Alyssa’s powerful vocals and Doug’s beautiful harmonies and original lyrics were an evocative fusion of roots music and railroad history. They are singer songwriters who have an ability to write songs from their personal narrative, memory and history, which seem timeless. It’s as if their traditional retro sound has always been part of the roots scene.

Their musical genre is where folk-rock, country, bluegrass and rockabilly meld together. The Grahams took us with them on a journey across America, with a wide narrative of back-stories rolling along down route sixty six and the Mississippi river.

There was dancing in the aisles on Sunday night and much foot stomping and hand clapping after the Grahams finished their set with the energetic Glory Bound and we and our neighbours cheered ever so loudly for the encore!

Thank you so much to the village hall committee, co-directors, Kerry and Yvonne of Artsreach at Little keep and Sarah for making it all possible.