Chris Wood @ Belper

Photo: Lauren Nayna Rawal

“There are kids who want to buy a house and they’re sleeping on the floor, while other people out there own two or three or more”Chris Wood

Folk? Well, it’s ok sometimes. So when Nicky Crewe invited me to this gig, I was a little unsure of my ground. When the lights dimmed I was not expecting to enjoy a stunning evening in the presence of songwriter Chris Wood. Accompanied only by his guitar he gave an incredibly atmospheric performance conjouring up the spirits of fields, hedges, old streets and factories, images of an England that was and is now.

Compositions bursting with profound observations and commentary encased in contemporary arrangements proclaimed everything from social injustice,  greed, corruption, the joys of a simple lifestyle and the beauty of relationships – this was a memorable heartwarming and prophetic gig.

Although seemingly world -weary and downbeat the articulate lyrics and immense guitar playing left the audience in no doubt that Chris Wood is a wordsmith of huge magnitude and integrity. He made you laugh and he made you cry with his razor sharp perception of the state of our nation today and wove into his set classic english traditional songs presented in such a way that they complimented his own songs.

One special moment when he interpreted William Blake‘s epic ‘Jerusalem’. Tender and beautiful,with minimal fingerpicking he left the audience transfixed. The stunned silence that followed the last ringing note said more than a standing ovation. Magic. It has been a long time since a performance has touched my soul like this.

All this in the setting of a 1970’s club bar in Belper. It all seemed somehow strangely appropriate. I’ve thrown my copious notes, set list and clever anecdotes away because I do not have the words to convey just how meaningful this was.

“How strange then to call your accounting system “Sage” then hand out a mortgage nine times the combined wage”..

Thanks Chris. Here’s to ‘The Great Correction’ and a ‘Handmade Life’.

Photo: Lauren Nayna Rawal

Words: Keefy

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