Husband and wife duo Michael Trotter Jr and Tanya Trotter drew some of the biggest cheers of the weekend with their revival-style fusion of blues, soul, gospel and country for their Sunday afternoon set at The Long Road 2023.
Dancing together, sharing a mic and locking eyes across the packed Interstate tent, they smouldered across a set which saw them create an intimacy that drew listeners into the bond that sprawls across all of their music.
With Michael on the keys they allowed themselves to draw out their instruments into long, languid phrases that veered as wildly as their astonishing vocal runs, their delivery as belting and pristine as any of their recorded tracks.
'Yesterday's Burn' was the perfect platform for Michael to lean into his country drawl as the pair slow danced on stage, moving closer together to really pour out the words. "Tell me what's wrong, who hurt you baby? Lay in my arms, I'll serenade you" they coo, the crowd swaying along.
"Nashville's changing a lot," they told the crowd. "We're changing it". For those who find Music City has changed too much they can always find an alternative in the UK where, as Tanya told the crowd, "you're creating your own Nashville, I love it”.
In an atmosphere so encapsulating it’s easy to forget where you are, and Michael seemed to at one point, telling the Leicestershire crowd “thank you London”. If a temporary displacement is the price of being drawn into such a thoroughly soul-affirming musical cocoon then the crowd were more than happy to oblige.
Speaking of home, the duo were eager to remind the crowd “We got something we want you to take home. It’s called merch. You’ll be responsible for helping us get home”, a joking but jolting reminder for the crowd of quite how far country music has come on these shores and the quality of artists flocking here in a steady stream.
Name-checking and drawing on the spirits of James Brown and Lightnin’ Hopkins, the pair took their time drawing the set to a close, making sure every corner of the tent felt their gratitude. If home is where you find it, it’s also where the War and Treaty bring it, and in just 45 minutes they created a home that the crowd simply never wanted to leave.
For more on The Long Road Festival 2023, see below: