Kami Thompson and James Walbourne are folk-rock duo The Rails. Blending Celtic, soul, blues and folk, these 2015 BBC Folk’s Horzion Award winners perform at Arlington Arts tonight (Friday, 8pm). Having had the legendary “Pink label” of Island Records (which released classics by John Martyn, Nick Drake and Fairport Convention in its original incarnation) resurrected on their behalf – their latest album Fair Warning is a mixture of traditional songs, unearthed from the famous folk archive at Cecil Sharp House, alongside The Rails originals. The pair create arrangements where, as they put it, “you can hear everything, it’s bare” so that the sound is more direct. Simple, no-tricks combinations of fiddle and electric guitar can be expected, teamed with Kami’s lead vocals and James’s harmonies.
James Walbourne is a former Pretenders guitarist whilst Kami Thompson is daughter of the Thompsons, Linda and Richard. Good stock to grow from, but this leads, of course, to comparisons with the work of the latter pair. You can hear Richard in Kami’s swaying vocal inflections if you’re really listening for it, but The Rails stand alone in their own special blend that seems almost ageless.
The Rails are supported by another offshoot of the Thompson family tree – Zak Hobbs. Tickets are £12. www.arlingtonarts.co.uk.