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The Phil Edwards Band live session

James Townend on harmonica and Phil Edwards on guitarDevoid of artifice Phil Edwards and his small ensemble easily unpack their instruments in the lobby. By the time I welcome them they're already 32 bars deep in an acoustic rural-reggae jam with a blues-harp accompaniment. It certainly livens up the often formal atmosphere in reception. I have my portable recorder rolling to catch this sweet musical moment before I make the boys a coffee and get them set up in studio C. As we walk down the hall I hear about happenings on the road around the country. They're a true down-home self-taught recording act with their roots in the Hawkes Bay and the Manawatu. James Townend plays an evocative harmonica while Tom Charleson is the picture of concentration as he picks his way through the sometimes Jack Johnson-esque changes. They then tell me the endearing tale of how they met. Indeed Phil could have been Tom's pided piper as he was drawn to his rustic strumming on the Massey campus in Palmerston North.

The Phil Edwards Band"I'm from Lincoln down in the Cantab, rugged as." says harmonica player James Townend, seen here on the left. Guitarist and collaborating song-writer Tom Charleson is in the centre of the picture. "Bloody forestry" says Phil on the right. That's what he studied at Massey. In the studio he's tanned and travelling light with well-worn jandals. The band play live tracks from their new debut Slow Borders and they throw in a Radio New Zealand exclusive; a brand new, unreleased track. As Phil says "It all comes natural."