Doing so much folk lately I feel I should rush out, buy some cordurouys and stitch on some elbow patches…. latests is the first-time-pairing-out-on-the-road thing of Kris Drever and Boo Hewerdine at my new second home, the Convent Club; the end of a short tour in support of their colloborative EP, Last Man Standing.
It hardly needs stating that they are two of the UK’s most prolific and able chaps; greedily talented and musicians of the very highest standing. Drever has long been the owner of one of my favourite voices, mellifluous and golden; with seemingly effortless and wonderful guitar work. Hewerdine too is a prodigous talent, rather under-rated perhaps for both his song-writing skills and performance, with the voice of an angel and the lugubrious face of a an under-loved bloodhound.
Another ideal duo for this most sensitive and intimate of venues, Drever opened up solo with a few sublime songs, they then joined up for a couple of toons and then Hewerdine ended the first half with a few songs of his own. Relaxed and informal, it was like having two over-gifted mates playing for you in your (rather gothic) living room, the set peppered with anecdotes they may have told a hundred times, but which none the less drew the audience in, made that connection.
Hearing them together and apart drove home, for me, their commonalities and their differences. Like a musical Venn diagram you coud see and hear their common heritage points but equally their distinct and different roots. Drever with his solid caledonion folk roots, the unexpected time signatures, the unusual chord changes; Hewerdine with his disarmingly simple song structures, anchored in that very best tradition of the late sixties song-smithing. Hewerdine’s rendition of the Bee Gees, I Started A Joke, ending the first half just reinforced this point for me.
The second half contained the new songs from the EP interlaced with dry and laconic stories and commentaries. For me the instant favourite was When All The Shouting Is Over, a great little song in 7/8 time.
Along the way we were treated to others from their canon including the wonderful Capernaum and a blissful rendition of Poorest Company led by Drever and the timeless Patience of Angels from Hewerdine, made famous by his mate Eddi Reader. Wrapped up inn the encore was the brilliant Drever version of Hewerdine’s Harvest Gypsies and finally Sweet Honey in the Rock.
All in all an evening as comforting as your favourite onesie and as sparkling as a fresh cut diamond. The answer to their musings about ‘whether there is a future’ (not cosmically of course but as to these two playing and recording more) is of course a Yes, lets have a full album and come back to Gloucestershire to play it to us.