Published Jun 01, 2003Quirky singer-songwriter Kat Goldman, who is barely old enough to know what a Strawb is, bravely faced a roomful of their hardcore fans armed with little more than an acoustic guitar, keyboard and violinist Alex Cheung. But her upbeat take on love and life endeared her to many with her too-short set. The Strawbs haven't been to Canada in almost 20 years, but time has been extremely kind to them and their catalogue is rich in ageless melodic compositions that, true to their original folk roots, are earning them a deserved and reinvigorated following. Their powerful, portable 18-string guitar attack, combined with the uniquely endearing vocals of Dave Cousins, is the found link behind the absolute reinvention of their material for this "acoustic" tour, featuring long-time members Dave Cousins ('67), Dave Lambert ('72) and Brian Willoughby ('79). But this is no "unplugged" retread of an old idea, this is music that has grown more lush over time, rearranged around the elaborate skills of three gifted guitarists and presented afresh, couched in the smooth mastery that only comes from a lifelong dedication to craft and a timeless love for what they do. At the same time, this trimmed down threesome have created new works that sit happily alongside previous classics. It didn't take two standing ovations and their resulting encores to realise that the Acoustic Strawbs can count themselves as an artfully evolved musical entity whose time has come all over again.