Reviews 2007

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Rod Clements
Bryn Phillips 2 March 2007

The reviews on the Woodman website are invariably positive. The reason for this is that people volunteer to do the reviews and naturally they volunteer to review acts that impress them. So as he started playing Stamping Ground I borrowed a pen and some paper and started writing – this was someone I really liked and so I’m doing the review.  

But I’ve got ahead of myself, the evening started off with the support acts. Bryn Phillips, Nothing to Prove and Paul Bedingfield’s pal, Mike, who came to the club on an annual visit and treated us to a couple of well performed songs, which got everyone singing along; it’s a shame he can’t make it more often. As usual an excellent set from NTP with a new one, Tall Ships, which was a good fit for them; keep it in the act!  

Back to Rod Clements. What I liked about Stamping ground was the way he played slide guitar. Bottleneck on ring finger, lots of fretting and thumb-work clever stuff and very effective. I liked his voice as well, very mellow. An excellent start to his set. Then another bluesy number  “Train in G” – again a slide number. That resonator guitar of his is something special – a beautiful sound. He put down the Dobro after playing an old Lindisfarne song, “Dream Within Dream”, which amazingly they never recorded and picked up a standard acoustic guitar to play “All Grown Up and Nowhere to Go” a song from his new Odd Man Out” album. It was a reflective song  with some poignant lyrics - “When the world gets different and you’re the same”. Then we had “Touch Me Not” a song with a dark theme reminiscent of some of Nick Cave ’s pieces.  After that he brought on the Dobro again for “No More Cane on the Brazos ” a classic American folk/blues song  which he played brilliantly. Then he ended the set which for me was the song of the evening, “Existentially Yours”, with a clever take on fundamentalist bigotry.

He started off the second half with a couple more blues, “Working My Way Back Home”  and “Blue Interior” before doing the title track off his new album “Odd Man Out”. Then we had the inevitable “Meet Me On The Corner”, which pleased the 
Lindisfarne following.  The set carried on again with a mix of slide and standard acoustic, but this time there were one or two songs with a more powerful driving rhythm, particularly “New Best Friend”, a song about Tony Blaire and GWB. In this half the song that struck me was Rag Town , about the construction of the Hoover Dam. When he sang  the line “I hear the turbines humming” I let the imagery span the years and I could feel the anticipation and excitement of those construction workers. Great song! After “New Best Friend”, his last song, he did Whiskey Highway for an encore which got everyone singing along. A great end to the evening.

 All in all it was an excellent evening with a just about full house and a very attentive and appreciative audience