Reviews 2015

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Gary Edward Jones

Bryn Phillips 17 April 2015

Click on photo to 
Click on photo to 
see larger image

I had expected Gary Edward Jones to be a solo act; a singer songwriter playing guitar. When I arrived at the club I saw five people on stage for the sound check, and instead of Gary Edward Jones, solo performer, it was Gary Edward Jones, band. They started off the evening with “Loose Change”, at which point we all realised that we were in for a good evening. On guitar (acoustic or electric) there was Jon Fellowes, and next to him was Oscar (world champion) South, playing either Double Bass, Electric Bass or Sanshin, and then in the middle was Gary Edward Jones taking main vocals for most of the numbers. Next to Gary (on our right) was his wife to be, Elizabeth Kearney, who along with Muireann (Muzz) McDermott Long provided some of the best backing vocals we’ve had at the club. Elizabeth also played guitar and mandolin on two of the songs in which she took lead vocals. An interesting line up. I mentioned that Oscar South was a world champion, but we had to wait until the second half to find out of what instrument he had earned the title. It was the Siberian Jaws Harp, and he gave us a brief rendition – a well deserved title in my opinion. I also mentioned that he played the Sanshin - a first for the club. It’s a sort of three string Japanese banjo. Finally it turned out that Muzz was a voice coach. All of this talent along with the accomplished singing, musicianship and songwriting abilities of Gary Edward Jones, made for an impressive sound.

The music they played was varied, we had hip hop, reggae, a touch of jazz and blues, some soft rock and ballads, all with a background country feel to the music. As well as the numbers featuring the entire band, Gary did a couple of duo numbers with Elizabeth and as mentioned earlier Elizabeth took vocals on a couple of numbers; an excellent cover of “Black is the Colour”, and a song inspired by a computer font, “Daffadilly Down”. As I listened to the music I heard hints of Paul Simon, Clive Gregson, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher and the Beatles along with other distant memories, and the overall result was a sound that was distinctive, polished and professional. At one point Elizabeth was talking about their web site and she made the comment that it was important that everything comes together like a machine with all cogs turning. That struck me as a good description of the band.

Not only is Gary the front man, and the name of the band, but he is also the songwriter, and with one or two exceptions most of the songs we heard were written by him. As with the music, the themes of the songs varied enormously, from the romantic “All I want is You”, dedicated to Elizabeth, to the powerful commentary in “Bang, Bang, Bang” all the way through shades of emotions to “Free Falling”, a moving song relating to a depression and suicide. One of the songs, “Is This Real”, with a strong jazz influence featured a trumpet, played by Gary. Well, not exactly a trumpet, more of a mouth trumpet, but very true to the sound. The performance was very well balanced, with powerful numbers “Whose Gonna Love You Now” and “Real Life Paradise” ending the first and second halves.

It doesn’t matter how good the music is; we all come to the Woodman for entertainment. After a couple of songs Gary began to get into audience interaction mode. As well as introducing the songs and the band members, we were treated to a couple of “awful” jokes (the boiled egg joke was brilliant!), a Dalek impersonation, an excellent Scouse interpretation of a Brummie accent and a discussion about the squeaking door on the gents toilet, which, being a cabinet maker, he attempted to fix in the interval with Vaseline. All in all another sensational booking success for Derry and Debbie, and I’m looking forward to the band’s return.

As always the resident artists provided some first class support with Nothing to Prove and Velvet Green starting the evening off in fine style.