Melbourne roots group The Mae Trio played their first Brisbane headline show (23 April) in support of their second album ‘Take Care, Take Cover’.
It’s amazing to see a gifted, singing voice fill an audience with awe. But when three, sweet singing voices harmonise like those of The Mae Trio, an audience can be knocked to the floor as they were at Brisbane venue Lefty’s.
Opener Leanne Tennant showed great promise. Beginning with some gentle country songs, Leanne soon switched gears to a blues holler, rising above the crowd’s chatter and making them stomp along with her. Danny Widdicombe backed Leanne with electric slide guitar, adding extra twang or bluesy grit where the songs called for it.
The Mae Trio’s entrance wasn’t smooth, with the girls tripping over the instruments cluttering the small stage. Once the girls took their positions, they showed they are damn fine musicians, using mandolin, banjo, guitar, ukulele and cello to craft catchy bluegrass.
Sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby each take lead vocals on songs, with Anita Hillman providing backing vocals and the interesting addition of cello to fill-out their already gorgeous songs.
Opening song ‘Haul Away’ features reaching vocals making the song sound as expansive as the highways they sing of. ‘Call Me Stranger’ is a lovely ballad, with a high-note Maggie hits towards the end receiving a deserved round of applause.
The group even put their own folk-touch on Lorde’s ‘Buzzcut Season’, a song they own so well I would’ve thought it was an original had they not announced it.
The Mae Trio are just as charming between songs. Each of the girls told stories about touring, home and mocking their “22-year-old wisdom”.
Before launching into ‘Only Ever Growing’, the girls gave the audience a quick singing lesson so they could join in on the bridge. The crowd leapt at the chance to join the group’s honeyed harmony, with some pleasantly surprising the group by linking arms and swaying behind them.
Towards the end of their set, The Mae Trio put down their instruments to sing ‘Waterlily’ a capella led by Anita. While great musicians their voices alone mesmerised, with the audience attentive and still as to not ruin the magic moment.
The Mae Trio are a brilliant group, taking audiences through various emotions with their catchy melodies and sweet harmonies. If The Mae Trio are the future of Australian roots music, then the future is a very beautiful song.