Reviews 2019

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Edwina Hayes

Les Jones 12 April 2019

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I had been waiting for years for Edwina to visit the club and at last the Gods of Organisation shone upon us tonight. Edwina plays guitar, picked mainly with her thumb and one finger, in a style that fits her singing like a glove. She has written some of the loveliest songs I have ever heard as well as singing some well chosen covers. Dubbed “The Sweetest Voice In England” by none other than Nanci Griffith, and she wasn’t wrong.

The first half was, as she said herself, a mixture of songs from her own repertoire and the second half included requests from the audience.

Everyone of her songs was accompanied by a story, sometimes about the song or recording of it, or more often than not it started that way but digressed into something else. She says herself that she wishes she could talk less and even set herself a New Year resolution to do so, but if she succeeded we would all be the losers as every anecdote is absolutely hilarious.

She began with one of her songs, All About Love; a Mile Roses song, Crying Over You and the Dougie Maclean classic, Caledonia. Song for a Lady is for her Auntie Brenda. As a huge fan of Bob Dylan – to the extent of having a life-sized cut of him at home – she sang She Belongs To Me. Another Mile Roses song Late Night Lonely, depressing but sung in a jolly way, followed. Stay was the penultimate song of the first half making way for the most hilarious song I have heard in ages; “Waiting For The Guy To Die”. This one I have to find for myself.

I’m back now having to taken a break to find and listen to Edwina’s last song. It was as good as I remembered.

Anyway, she kicked off the second half with John Prine’s The Speed and the Sound of Loneliness, Her own song Leave a Light on For You. My request Pour Me a Drink, which turns out turns is about her reprobate father who was in her words “A Con Man” wanted in several countries, no wonder she can talk like she does with that DNA. Then came her version of Mr Tambourine Man – Dylan again you notice – and Tell Me So. I have written in my notes Catherine Deneuve; I think Edwina told us a story with her in it but it may it may just have been me dreaming. On her Pour Me A Drink album she recorded Froggy Went a Courting; it is something I’m sure she said she got from Dylan (again), but she first recorded for a charity cd. It is long, about a million verses longer than Burl Ives. Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat preceded the “last” song of the evening Edwina’s own Bend In The Road. It was of course not the last as the room erupted with applause and she had to return to sing I Can’t Stop Loving You, which itself got the whole room singing again as we had been doing all night.

To finish off Edwina was deservedly the first person to start a “new” tradition at The Woodman which is that I get the artist(s) to endorse the notes I take during the night. She wrote a lovely thank you to all which was more than I asked for. A performance well worth waiting several years for. I hope it’s not the last.

I must of course mention the sterling job done by our regulars, Velvet Green; Barry and Corrine and Bryn Phillips who provided us with a wonderful start to the evening, a raffle, second half start and compere for the night.

A Wonderful Time Was Had By All.