Poems n Pints n Music
Phil William’s new Poems n Pints at the Lodge, Alsager, encourages music too. A folk guy whose name I should have taken the trouble to learn – he seems to be being mentored by Craig Pickering of Biddulph Literary Festival fame – played a few self-penned songs. He plays that sort of folk music which is easy and pleasant on the ear with generic tunes and quite complicated (and in my view, unnecessarily tricky) finger picking. If that sounds a bit negative, I don’t mean it to be. The guy’s good at what he does and there is a broad market for that sort of thing.
The most remarkable thing about him is that his appearance totally belies him being a singer/song writer. He looks like a librarian who’s saving up for a sight-seeing holiday in Athens. Not a Phillip Larkin sort of librarian, who clearly had a dark horse trotting along beside him, but the sort of librarian whose main interest might lie in making his way through the Miss Marple stories. Know what I mean? – there’s nothing whiskey-soaked about him or his songs, they seem law-abiding and sensible. Pleasant, though, like I say.
Two other musos turned up late with a bass guitar, a fiddle and some small amplification. Again, I should have taken the trouble to write their names down as I don’t remember afterwards what at the time I think I’m going to remember. The fiddler was a large mature man who acted like the dad of the bass player who was a lad who reminded me of Chesney off Coronation Street. I’m saying ‘was’, but of course, a mere few days later, they’re probably still those things.
I love it when musicians are setting up and you have no idea what sort of thing they’re going to play. It’s a good guessing game. These two confounded my expectations by playing extremely competent Stephan Grapelli-style jazz standards. What a breath of fresh air it was after all the time I’ve spent recently listening to unsurprising, tedious reproductions of American folk song.
Their execution was a little too stiff to swing like The Hot Club, but it was close. The young bass player was an old head on young shoulders and had learned the lessons well he had plainly had a good few of. The fiddler had a lovely tone and played accurately and within his capabilities. I liked it a lot and I hope they’re there next time. I’d like to see them really stretch out and take a few risks. I reckon they might well do a lot more than they think they can.
What with the music and the poetry I’ve written about in my Poetry blog, it was a good old Thursday night. Thanks Phil.