Skip to main content

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....


Popular posts from this blog

A Calder Valley Ale Trail - UPDATE June 2022

T he definitive guide to the pubs and bars that line the railways in the towns and villages of the beautiful Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. After a break in updates with all the disruption of lockdowns over the  last couple of years, here's the latest, updated version.... The original Rail Ale Trail heads through the Pennines from Dewsbury through Huddersfield to Stalybridge, or vice versa, depending on your standpoint. Made famous by Oz Clarke and James May on a TV drinking trip around Britain several years ago, it reached saturation point on weekends to such an extent that lager and shorts were banned by some pubs and plastic glasses introduced to the hordes of stag dos, hen parties, and fancy-dressed revellers that invaded the trans-Pennine towns and villages. There are some great pubs en route but you ventured to them on a summer Saturday at your peril. However, only a few miles away to the north, there is another trail possible which takes in some great pubs and travels thr

No More Crows The Rooster....

Another much-loved pub which has played a big part in so many people's lives over the years has recently closed its doors.... News broke the other week that The Red Rooster, at Brookfoot, near Brighouse, was to close at the beginning of March. With the rent being increased by an incredible £935 a week , landlord Eddie Geater decided that it was simply not viable to keep the popular free house open. And it is sad news, as the Rooster has been at the forefront of the area's pubs for most of the last 30-odd years. And it is a big deal. Before it opened as the Rooster there were hardly any free houses in the area as we know them today where there was a truly wide and unrestricted choice of beers. Prior to being the Rooster, the pub had been a Webster's tied house, The Wharf, which had been built in the early 20th century to cater for workers from the nearby wharf from where local coal was transported via the canal network. And to this day, three former wharfmen's cot

The Town That Thinks It's A Village....

My time has been a bit limited recently for venturing too far afield, so last weekend I made the short journey to Elland to check out a few of the town's pubs and bars. Here's what I found.... Elland is a small market town in West Yorkshire, located between Halifax and Huddersfield beside the River Calder. It goes back a bit, being recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and over the centuries the town grew as a result of the woollen industry, with the town becoming home to several large mills. The coming of the Aire and Calder Navigation and the railways further helped the growth of the town. The subsequent decline of the woollen industry in the town meant that there were a number of empty mills left standing, and those that didn't burn down were put to other use, such as the home of Gannex, the now-defunct textile company whose raincoats were worn by the rich and famous, including former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, several mills have been converte