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Image: Rhys Lewis live at The Cellar in Oxford by Stephen Woods

Rhys Lewis Just Raised The Bar

Written by Stephen Woods

Brilliant was the only word I could think of to describe it. It was a dry and cold Thursday evening in Oxford. As I made my way into town some of the shops were still open as day became night and we were in that strange transition period between day-life and nightlife. I was in my own thoughts and thinking about the evening ahead and snug in my coat and scarf as I made my way to the venue and I was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

We were eased into the evening by Esme Neale who is a singer-songwriter from London before The August List stepped-up with their contemporary alternative sound. Esme is a typical singer-songwriter with her guitar and stories to tell and it was a nice way to start. The August List are a duo from Oxford who comprise of Kerraleigh on vocals, Harmonica and Stylophone and Martin on acoustic Guitar and vocals. From the first note Kerraleigh's voice was strong and they delivered a good performance whilst utilising different instruments and combining their voices. The area in front of the stage filled up with people in anticipation of the main act as they carried out a few sound checks. I'd seen Rhys loads of times before, but this was the first time I was going to see him with his full band. I'd been looking forward to this. The venue was sold out and by this point things were pretty busy and you could feel the anticipation in the crowd.

Rhys started his set with his latest single Living in the City with him on keyboard. The band comprised of him on lead vocals, Guitar and Keyboard and a Guitarist, Drummer and Pianist. Rhys alternated between using the keys and his 1960s vintage Guitar for the songs. The delivery of the vocals was smooth and the Guitar sounded great, especially when he opened it up. You could tell he enjoyed performing and the fact he felt at ease on the stage only enhanced the show and the band were good. Rhys has always struck me as someone who is conscious of wanting to deliver a good performance and he has worked on his craft over the years to the point where he is a natural performer. My mind started thinking about all of the other emerging artists I've seen over the last few years or so. Rhys and his band had just raised the bar. He finished the set with his first single Waking Up Without You. I turned to the others and said, that was was brilliant.

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Music is food for the soul.
Stephen Woods

Stephen is a former Assistant Event Producer who has worked on the production of major live events. He created to focus on the essence of music. His interests include sport, music, design, leadership, innovative and socially responsible businesses and writing poetry and lyrics. Follow @WoodsStephen