Irish folk duo Hudson Taylor returns to Boston for enthralling show at City Winery


Morgan Hume/Arts Editor

After supporting Hozier and Gabrielle Aplin on shows in Boston during their North American tours, Irish folk duo Hudson Taylor is no stranger to the Hub. On Saturday, the band returned to the city for two back-to-back headline concerts at the City Winery.

The energy was high from the moment brothers Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor stepped on stage, along with another pair of brothers, Tadhg and Oisín Walsh-Peelo, who accompanied them. They dived right into their show with two upbeat songs that got the audience to sing along and move to the rhythm. Hudson Taylor kicked off the night with “Travellin’” that was released last year, followed by the song “Care” from their 2015 album “Singing for Strangers.”

Hudson Taylor’s set list included a solid mix of old and new music from their entire discography, spanning from their 2013 EP “Chasing Rubies” to their most recent release, a mini album titled “From Bear Creek to Dame Street.”

Oftentimes, people have the misconception that folk and acoustic music is only mellow and slow-tempoed, but Hudson Taylor proved that it can also be lively and exuberant. The men on stage kept the zeal alive the whole night long with foot-stomping beats, like in the song “Easy Baby.”

Along with their danceable tracks, there were also points during the show where the duo slowed down their set and put their other instruments aside to showcase their flawless harmonies. The moments of the concert when all four performers moved to the front of the stage and gathered around a single microphone were breathtaking as their voices blended together effortlessly.

Morgan Hume/Arts Editor

Whether the song was upbeat or dulcet, the duo radiated passionate energy on stage. The music poured out of them not only through their voices, but through their body language and concentrated facial expressions. Although the stage was small and not every song was fast-paced, Alfie was constantly dancing and made use of the entire performance area.

Although the artists played a wide array of instruments, from the bass guitar to the violin, Alfie and Harry’s vocals were enough to carry the show. For example, although the brothers each played the acoustic guitar for the song “Old Soul,” very little accompaniment was needed because it was their singing that was so captivating.

There were also songs the group chose to sing acapella, letting their smooth voices steadily fill the venue. One of the last songs Hudson Taylor sang was “Shot Someone.” As they sang the soft tune at the center of the stage, camera clicks ceased and the room stood still as the men’s pure vocals left the crowd spellbound.

At certain points during the concert, the duo paused to explain the meaning or inspiration behind some of the song’s lyrics. For example, the sweet track “Holly” was written while Alfie and Harry were on the road away from home and they realized they missed their little sister, Holly.

They also opened up about the song “Don’t Tell Me,” an empowering track about standing up to hate and inequality, and embracing who you are as a person. It was interesting to hear the brothers introduce the songs with small anecdotes because it showed the meaning behind the folk songs and revealed more about Hudson Taylor as songwriters.

Morgan Hume/Arts Editor

Alfie and Harry made references to Boston all night long, finding little ways to incorporate the city into their show, such as changing the lyric “Here I am, I’m in Amsterdam” in the song “Travellin’” to “Here I am, I’m in Boston.” Hudson Taylor always encouraged the audience to clap or sing along, and their interaction with the crowd made the performance feel intimate and personable.

Before Hudson Taylor began their set, singer Craig Stickland opened the show. Stickland showcased his wide vocal range by beautifully hitting every low and high note. He performed original songs that he plans to release at different times in the coming months.

Hudson Taylor recently finished their two week U.S. tour with their final stop on Feb. 14 in St. Paul, Minnesota.