Review: Johnny Coppin @ Lichfield Guildhall

With festive stories and poems, carols and contemporary songs Johnny Coppin brought Christmas cheer to the Lichfield Guildhall.

Johnny Coppin

Johnny Coppin

On vocals, keyboards and guitar, he was more than ably assisted by singer, fiddle and recorder player Paul Burgess and guitarist Dik Cadbury.

By now their traditional Christmas tour is a well honed concert of both pathos and humour, including some well known carols and their own contemporary pieces looking at the festive season from a number of different perspectives.

The first half included such songs as All On A Winter’s Night, with its stirring keyboard and fiddle opening, to God Bless Your Merry Gentleman, the familiar tune shown in a new light.

A reading of Laurie Lee’s tales of Christmas was well received, as was O Come Emmanuelle, the haunting refrain perfectly suiting the musical setting provided by the trio. Drive The Cold Winter Away finished the first half.

The second half of the concert featured more musical range, with both jazz and bluegrass styles featuring.

Old favourites like The Sussex Carol, or Past Three O’clock mixed with the likes of the bluegrass version of Soul Cake, which featured some fine singing from all three members, and Dik Cadbury’s own The Star Who Fell To Earth.

During A New Year Will Rise Up Again/Build Up The Bonfire, the three joined in with some fine harmony singing, while the setting of the Poet Charles Causley’s The Innocents bought new meaning and pathos to this work about King Herod.

The set was closed on a far lighter note with Irish Music hall song Miss Fogetry’s Christmas Cake. The obligatory encore was provided by a sing-along version of The Gloucestershire Wassail.

The concert was a fine night of music, well played and sung, offering plenty of food for thought during the festive season.