Wed 24th May, 20178:00 pm - 10:30 pm (Doors: 7:30pm)
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Chris was in conversation with the lovely Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music a few days back.
You can ‘listen again’ from around 32 mins 15 seconds in.
Tom chooses 4 of his favourite songs by Chris and the conversation is fascinating – covering Chris’ early career up until his latest release ‘So Much To Defend’.
Chris Wood is an uncompromising writer whose music reveals his love for the un-official history of the English speaking people. With gentle intelligence he weaves the tradition with his own contemporary parables.
A self-taught musician, composer and song writer, Chris is a lifelong autodidact whose independent streak shines through everything he does. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his song writing has been praised for its surgical clarity. He cites his major influence as “Anon”.
His eagerly awaited new album ‘So Much to Defend’ (officially released 27th Jan 2017) was previewed at Cambridge Folk Festival last summer and includes reflections on minor league football, empty nest syndrome, learning to swim, Cook-in Sauce and, not least, the Gecko as a metaphor for contemporary society.
Chris Wood – SO MUCH TO DEFEND
“Chris Wood has developed into an exceptional songwriter …venturing into areas that few artists would dare tackle.” The Guardian
“Highly charged observations on life, love and country” MOJO
The times are strange, society fractured, expectations put on hold… like a tattered Don Quixote, Wood arrives on the horizon, an urban, soul troubadour. He’s grown up using folk song as a social document to shine a more revealing light on our history than the version peddled by Churchill and this album attempts nothing less than a contemporary truth for the times in which we find ourselves.
So Much To Defend is a comic strip of eight unrelated stories which aggregate to leave us with a 360 degree view of life. Musique Vérité.
This Love Won’t Let You Fail is a love song to all those who are leaving home. It’s the letter millions of parents never wrote to their fledgling children.
Only A Friendly again, a love song. This time to the people who rarely make it into folk songs these days. Wood takes us to see his minor league football team lose 3-0 while, off the pitch, a Shakespearean world unfolds.
The Flail History is constantly airbrushed by the winners. This song is for all of you who were there, who know what happened. Wood suggests our stories are all we have; don’t let them be buried.
1887 As Buckingham Palace seeks £370,000,000 for renovation, the words of A.E. Housman remind us that it is not God who saves the Queen.
Strange Cadence – The Shallow End Many of us are quick to blame the media for spinning and filtering the news but our capacity for self delusion is a recurrent theme for Wood. The phenomenon of simply talking a fabricated version of reality into existence has to be one of humanity’s defining characteristics.
More Fool Me Wood turns the social realism spotlight on his own career. Like the last car worker in Detroit he gives us the tale of the last “song & dance man” at the end of the recorded music business.
You May Stand Mute Charles Darwin, criticised for what many considered his divisive text, responded by saying that we are free to believe what ever we choose but “none can dispute the desert of a life lived without love.”
While many “folk singers” sing of Lords & Ladies, Gypsies & Nightingales, Wood works like the great documentary photographers he so admires, to capture and record his world, our world. Just like those photographers, his work is too real, too earnest for some but no apologies are made as he seeks to counter societal fracture and to de-mistify us to each other. To unite us in our humanity.
Wood’s art school teacher criticised him as having “a remarkable eye for trivia”. Art school’s loss is our gain. His songs are laced with heart breaking detail. Comparisons are odious but Wood certainly listens to Welch, Waits and Costello, Ronnie Lane, Jimmy Vaughan, Blake Mills and The Black Keys…
Running throughout the whole album, and seldom mentioned by critics, is Wood’s love affair with his 1964 Epiphone guitar and his Cornell amp (made in Essex).
There never was an “English Soul” section in the old record shops but Chris Wood would’ve been front and centre.
Chris Difford said of this album… “If I had a towel I’d throw it in.”
“…unlikely to be on David Cameron’s iPod but Woody Guthrie would have been proud.” Acoustic
“Wood’s tongue is truer than most.” The Times
“…such a rarefied talent, both as writer and interpreter.” Colin Irwin
Nominated Best Original Song ‘None the Wiser’ BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014
Songwriter of the Year – Spiral Earth Awards 2014
Folk Singer of the Year & Best Original Song ‘Hollow Point’ BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011
Photo Douglas Robertson