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Chris Wood: Troubadour for our Times

I apologised to Chris Wood after his excellent gig at Halifax's Square Chapel. I also thanked him, we shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, slapped arms round shoulders, and then he signed my CD.

Chris was in town, I'd not seen him before, but I'd enjoyed a couple of his albums, the last one 'None The Wiser' - one of my top albums of 2013 - and 'Trespasser', from a few years back.

He started off with a new song, the name of which I can't remember - and then moved on to the superb 'None the Wiser', which is a brilliant summation of life in a provincial town, with the pound shops and bookies. Songs then flowed about normal life - kids, retirement, non-league football (written after a visit to his local team, Faversham Town, from the Ryman South, for those who are interested) - in short, common themes that many of us can relate to. All the time in between he was talking, anecdotes and apologies flowing with humour and wry observations, as he picked and strummed away on his acoustic guitar.

Chris Wood has a knack of capturing Britain as it is today. One of the songs he performed was called 'So Much to Defend'- I think - about a walk from London back to his home in Kent, in which he summed up so much about the way things are today. That's why I think he is a true troubadour for these troubled times.

He then turns his attention to the bankers and the politicians, all the time his brilliant lyrics and observations capturing the thoughts so many of us feel. And with 'Hollow Point', his brilliant tale of the day Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes was wrongly shot by police thinking he was a terrorist, he has surely written one of the great songs of the last 10 years.

And Square provided an excellent setting, superb acoustics and lighting in a fantastic, listed, weathered red brick building dating back to 1772. It was just a shame there weren't more there to enjoy it.

So what's this about an apology?. Well, I'd bought a CD at half time, and as a natural fidget I'd been picking away at the cellophane all night, got to the final song just as I ripped it off in a quiet bit. Chris was not amused...err...sorry....

If you want to know what Britain is like now, but told with much warmth and humour, then go see Chris Wood. As long as you don't mess with cellophane, he and you will not be disappointed....


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