Reviews 2009

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Tim Judson & Julia Hares

Trevor Durden 3 July 2009

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Some nights are good, some nights are great and some nights just ooze with so much quality that they become almost indescribable. Such was Friday 3rd July when Tim & Julia were the featured artist at The Woodman.

The evening exploded into life with Nothing To Prove who ensured, with a classy 3 number set, that no one was still asleep. Ian unwittingly made Sue and Paul the butt of Woodman humour when they were, at long last, announced as Woodman Residents. The banter was only exacerbated when Ian seemingly downgraded Barry and Corinne from Residents to Regulars! Putting their disappointment behind them, they entertained us with silky smooth guitar work and Barry’s fine baritone voice. A couple of numbers followed from the delightful Carol before we all settled down for Tim & Julia. 

Tim & Julia have been together for a relatively short time but have managed to achieve so much. Well - crafted songs, innovative arrangements and polished performances have quickly made them great favourites on the local folk scene. There was little doubt that they would be successful given the vast amount of talent that they have at their disposal. Keyboard, Violin, Guitar, Tenor Guitar and Saxophone all appear during the course of their set; add this to two great voices and seemingly symbiotic harmonies and you have a perfect recipe for something very special.

Another fine attribute is that both Tim and Julia both write songs and these were much in evidence on Friday. Julia’s voice has a wistful quality that is reminiscent of the early Joni Mitchell and the first song of the set “No Never No More” showed this to great effect. Tim’s song "Autumn Again" followed before we had, from my point of view, the highlight of the evening with Julia’s “The Early Days”. This is a quite stupendous piece of writing that would be enhanced by a full electric treatment……….is there a band out there that wants a really great song?

Tim & Julia were alternating centre stage and Tim was next with “One Day Some Day” before Julia gave us “Morecambe Bay”. This is a song with which we are becoming familiar. It tells of the tragedy of the cockle pickers drowned on the sands of Morecambe Bay. This is a very atmospheric song and they have got the balance just about right. The first half was brought to a close with Jez Lowe’s "Davis & Golightly” otherwise known as “my dads bigger than your dad!”

After a short break the entertainment continued with the excellent FOLA who gave us a couple of numbers. They have previously been guests at the club and they are likely to return sometime during the new season.

So Tim & Julia returned and started off with the story of “Catchems End.” I, for one, believe every word of the story but I think some of the geography may be questionable! The instrumental “Hand in Hand” gave way to “Hold Your Head High” before Tim’s song “Bricklayer”. This tells of a conversation that Tim had in a pub with someone who couldn’t come to terms with the need to help people less fortunate than himself. I agree with Tim that one person can make a difference.

The James Taylor classic “You’ve Got A Friend” led us into the final number “Lost At Sea”. The applause was fulsome, genuine and well deserved and the encore “North Star” and “Morrisons Jig” finally concluded the evening.

With Tim going to Africa for a while you have to think that the partnership might be short lived. I very much hope that this is not the case. Tim & Julia have something very special and it is hoped that they will eventually resume their collaboration. If, and when they do, club and festival organisers should act quickly and book them whilst they can still afford them!