Mrs HC and I rolled along to Woodlands Church (Woodies to the initiates it seems) in Clifton, driven to listen to Scott Matthews again. We knew it was a benefit gig but didn’t really know much more. Turns out twas for a very good cause indeed, a charity called Paul’s Fund.
Paul died of a brain tumour just as he started his university course and his parents set up this charity to give people some respite and a break if they are suffering from a life altering or terminal illness, or if they care for someone in that situation. The trust funds people to have a break at Paul’s Place on the beautiful North Devon coast near Croyde, and this gig was a fund raiser to help them in their work. As Paul’s father said, there seems to be very little support for people in this position, lots for children and and families but not much for young adults.
Two bands acted as support for the evening, both with ties to Paul and the charity, the bouncy and perky (if improbably named) Rosie G and the Jelly Rebels, and the rather more earnest Robin Mitchell Band. I have to admit that Rosie et al won me over from the get go – how could you fail to by starting with my favourite M Ward track and then adding some Nick Drake and John Martyn.
Mr Mitchell clearly had his army of followers with him, all word perfect with his songs which can be got through his Bandcamp pages amongst other places. Indeed it seems it was flaxen haired Ben Johnson on guitar and keys who was instrumental in getting the evening together ( an eve that raised two grand it seems !)
The SM set was understandably on the shorter side and if truth be told the man seemed even more shy and diffident than usual; not so much banter and what not. I was stood in front of young Greg on guitar and the fab lap steel. Mrs HC was much taken with Greg and his apparently ‘fine, delicate features oft seen in renaissance paintings’ (I told you she was smitten).
The set of nine songs ( including the encore) spread across the three albums, with some of the newer songs feeling like old favourites and settling in to a new groove having been honed in live settings. The ticket price was worth it just to hear Ballerina Lake again, surely one of his finest compositions that grows and builds into a storming finish.
Rumour has it that, save a few intimate gigs in April, this will be last we see of SM until after the new album is laid down and released,it is promised, towards the end of the year. Here’s power to his elbow for that and new material later this year.