What better way to round off the year than another terrific night at the Muse, with three excellent and multi-talented artists.
Paul Keddle did the honours as compere, and the night started off with singer-songwriter Soraya.
Soraya immediately held the audience spellbound with some entrancing mostly self-penned songs, delivered with great poise and delicacy. She has a compellingly fragile, ethereal and pitch-perfect voice – the kind you could listen to all night – worthy of comparison with some of the best of the “alternative folk” scene, such as Meg Baird, Jesse Sykes and Marissa Nadler. We wish her all the best on her travels, and would love to welcome her back to the club in future.
It’s always great to see Mike “three guitars” Parker back at the club – he delivered a characteristically gritty and energetic performance, featuring his own material, a couple of classics, and his trademark dexterous resonator slide guitar work.
James Davies provided some expert accompaniment on harmonica and vocals, completing the sound of a thoroughly enjoyable set.
Then it was time for the Blues Boy Kings – surely one of the most enjoyable and up-beat authentic blues bands you could ever hope to experience. Sam North kicks out a powerful and gutsy rhythmic base line, all the while sporting a hugely infectious grin – while husband Jason plays both drums and a blistering lead guitar.
David Jackman supplied some expert harmonica on a couple of numbers, adding another dimension to the great blend of authentic blues.
Their songs, a mixture of originals and carefully chosen covers, are drawn from the very best influences in classic electric blues: John Mayall, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, Christine McVie, Cream, Creedence, and a healthy slice of ZZ Top.
From their very first number they had people up and dancing… and by the end of the evening there was no holding them back. The band certainly seemed to enjoy the performance as much as the audience. In fact, they look far too happy to have the blues – but they certainly can play!
It seemed very appropriate that at the end of the night it started to snow – a fitting seasonal end to a fine year for the club.
Massive thanks to everyone who has come along to support these fine artists over the past year, and to everyone who has played a part in making it such a success. As ever, a special thanks to all at the Muse for being such great hosts.
Photos by Barry Hill
Review by Jim Kerslake