Chris Wood
A select audience turned out to hear the solo singer-songwriter Chris Wood when he opened Lichfield Arts Autumn 2014 season. The writer and guitarist played many songs from his most recent release. None the Wiser, with some wisely chosen covers. With a strong, musical voice, and tuneful, accomplished guitar style, the set covered a range of sounds and genres, with protest songs about the present state of the world providing much of the musical ballast.
Chris Wood
He started with a radically re-arranged, re-worked restatement of While Shepherd’s Watched Their Flocks by Night, its plangent tune and melody here turned into something a lot more mysterious, and melancholic, while None the Wiser blended bluesy guitar figures and was a wake up call, a political call to arms about what is wrong with the world. The Sweetness Game was a love song for the middle aged and old and talked about listening to Radio 4. In less capable hands this song could have been twee, but here had a muscular reading. Jerusalem took William Blake’s famous poem and put it to a stark, brooding musical backing that led it away from the patriotic readings it often has, while first set closer My Darling’s Downsized looked at the impact that the recession has on relationships. During the second half, a different mood seemed to develop, with angry monologues seeming to replace the songs, although there was much beauty within the music that featured. Ronnie Laine’s The Poacher had a simple, melodic guitar part and put the life of the poacher into sharp relief, while also looking at why he did what he did. A Whole Life Lived looked at Chris Wood’s relationship with his father, and brooding number The Fable of the Winds featured a simple fiddle tune put to words of a far deeper meaning. All in all this, was a good concert, with some good music delivered by a performer, deeply committed and passionate about his beliefs.