From The West of Ireland
    Go to Castlebar | Photo Gallery | Castlebar Directory | Nostalgia Board
Entertainment and the Arts : Music Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Chris Wood at the Linenhall in Castlebar
By MT Nester
27, Nov 2015 - 11:32

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

The wonderful Chris Wood played his guitar and sang at the Linenhall last night for well over two hours. Each song was introduced with humour and/or an interesting back story. He claimed that people in England think he's 'a bit of grump' as a folk singer and indeed some of his back catalogue might have led to an expectation of perhaps even a Van-Morrison-style performance with no interaction with his audience. But Chris Wood smiled and joked his way through a set of songs that covered the full gamut of human experience and he really engaged with the Castlebar audience.

Some songs were very dark, of course – Hollow Point based on the shooting of a Brazilian electrician on the London Tube by security forces – some poignant like his empty-nest song and the 'adult' love song 'The Sweetness Game' – some very critical of current society and ambitions in England – and some delightful up-beat songs – perhaps a sign of his mellowing as he ages? He certainly smiled a lot, beaming up at the appreciative audience who had travelled from far and wide for the opportunity to hear this unique voice here in Castlebar. And what a voice he has! And his guitar picking! (Why oh why did we give up the guitar?)

Songs based on observations of people and events while on a 50-city tour in 2012 with Joan Armatrading - or on observations over a four-day walk from recession-hit London (where they sacrifice chickens to the god of Quantitative Easing in the bowels of the Bank of England) to his home (in Kent?) along the banks of the River Thames. We have 'a lot to defend' he observes sardonically – England he paraphrases is 'less a country than a mosaic of ambitions and insularities' and he lists these mercilessly from the Argos catalogues to the army recruiting centres to a favourite tranquiliser rhyming with 'None the Wiser'. A song about selling a house and its commuting distance to London – 'it takes me four hours but with a car like THAT you'll make it in three!' the seller says.

His take on William Blake's Jerusalem contrasts with the jingoistic rendition more associated with football crowds, emphasising the 'dark satanic mills' aspect rather than the likelihood of them building a Jerusalem in England's green land any time soon. He did say that he gets a bit of flak when singing his more downbeat version to audiences in his homeland of England.

One song appeared to have been written on the road from Dublin on his way to the concert ­- Flailing (?) – Chris Wood's take on the destruction of hedgerows he saw along the N5 – the flailing of the trees with the brash blowing across the road in the wind. Sure enough, I had noticed the same myself on the road to Mullingar yesterday at the temporary traffic lights – but I didn't think to write a song about it.

Perhaps we went in expecting to hear a lot of his extensive back catalogue, especially anyone who bought his Albion anthology album, but quite a bit of new material from 'None the Wiser'. Some, like My Darling's Downsized and Hollow Point from the Handmade Life 2010 album and often heard on Lyric FM's The Blue of the Night, were familiar to me at least, but plenty of recent material that I hadn't heard before including ~four+ songs from his current 'None the Wiser' album – fabulous, tuneful, thought-provoking material right up to the end.

And then finally, after a long bout of applause and stomping the audience got him back to sing his award winning 'One in a Million' a beautiful tune, retelling the tale (spoiler alert) of the lost ring rediscovered in a fish stomach – standing ovation.

Thanks to the Linenhall for bringing great musicians such as this to Mayo.

© Copyright 2015 by © Contributor(s) and Castlebar Web Pages 1997 - 2018

.. Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Lives of Music
USA Groups to Perform in Mayo this March
Don Stiffe In Concert
Partry FolkFest 2017
National Children's Choir Performance at Breaffy
Traditional / Sean Nos Singing Workshop
Song Writers Wanted for Castlebar Song Contest Book Launch
Mayo Choirs Shine in NCH!
Mayo International Choral Festival: Closing Date for Entries
Ceili with the Duntally Ceili Band
Christmas and New Year Greetings from Mayo Choral Festival
Music For Mutts "An evening of different musical talents"
Eve Garavan at The Linenhall Theatre
Anneleen Lenaerts (harp) & Dionysis Grammenos (clarinet)
Third House On The Left
John Hoban CD Launch at The Linenhall
Concert for Peace
Mayo Day 2016 - Music in Castlebar
Traditional / Sean Nós Singing Workshop
Michael Basquille RIP
Cór Mhaigh Eo Christmas Concert
Castlebar Gospel Choir Christmas Performances
Chris Wood at the Linenhall in Castlebar
Spooky Reggae Party
Choral Invitation to Mayo in May 2016
Photos from Castlebar Live
Castlebar Live - Tonight!
Vanbrugh Quartet at the Linenhall
Traditional Irish Night
Castlebar Live & Wild!
Mayo Male Voice Choir Needs You
Remembering Christine Concert
Glór Mhaigh Eo Win Siansa 2015
Mayo Male Voice Choir Annual Spring Concert 2015
Mayo International Choral Festival 2015
Wishing You a Happy Christmas full of Song
Castlebar Gospel Choir Christmas Concerts Christchurch December 14th 2014
The Playlist!
Hallelujah - Handel's Messiah Returns to Castlebar
New Members Wanted
The Handel Challenge
André Rieu's 10th Anniversary Concert
Fleadh Cheoil Pageant Spectacle
Rob McHale's 'The Castlebar Races'
Choral Festival a Great Success
Olwyn Murray Video
Can you Handel it?!
Choral Festival is on the Way
Glór Mhaigh Eo - An Dara hÁit
Summer Concert
Choral Festival Flag Day
Dancing at the Crossroads 2014
Dvořák's Rusalka at the Met via the Linenhall
Closing Date for Choral Entries
New Years Eve Gala Live From Berlin
Singing the Knock Homecoming
Gospel Choir Christmas Concerts
Mayo Youth Orchestra with Tasmin Little
Tasmin Little at the Royal Theatre
Mayo in May 2014
Handel's Messiah for Mayo/Roscommon Hospice
Castlebar Gospel Choir & Red Hurley
Therapy?, Lafaro and Pilgrimage at the Ruby Room
Johnny Duhan at the Linenhall
New Heights for Moonlight in Mayo
Olwyn Murray
Sing From the Summit!
Handel's Messiah Hospice Fundraiser
Mayo Male Voice Choir Return to Action!
Crimlin Batafada at Europeade
Robbie Williams Take The Crown Tour Live
Mayo Concert Orchestra BBQ
Paddy Casey comes to The Linenhall
Castlebar Gospel Choir in Linenhall
2013 Choral Festival - Something to Sing About!
Making A Spirited Return
André Rieu Live From Maastricht 2013
Mayo Choral Festival Getting Closer!
Reading Male Voice Choir
And So I Watched You From Afar
Special Night in Louisburgh
Ballymeen Seven Towers Male Voice Choir
AGM Mayo International Choral Festival
Andrea Bocelli In From Portofino
Going Away Rekindles Youth
Mayo Youth Orchestra
Musical Notes
Christmas Choral Recital
Karen Community Fundraiser Concert
RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet with Nobuko Imai
Karen Community CD Launch
After Images - Choral Concert
Male Voice Choir Launches CD
Rolling Wave
Band and Orchestra News
Midsummer Melodies
WESTLIFE - The Farewell Concert
Mayo International Choral Festival 2012
Mayo Choral Festival Opening Night