Reg Meuross and Anna Renae – Over Hulton Folk Club – 5th October 2022
On a chilly autumnal night the OHFC faithful were rewarded for their tenacity to two artists from totally different parts of the folk spectrum but of equally high calibre.
From the first moment that Anna Renae began to sing, her crystal clear and powerful vocals had the OHFC audience spellbound. Not a sound was heard from the audience during her 30-minute set, which mainly included songs from her debut album. These songs are a musical diary of her experiences, feelings and emotions of her teen years through high school and University, where she honed her songwriting and musical compositions skills. Indeed one song, which completed her set was a piece composed for her musical assessment at the end of her course. The string quartet backing tracks did not compromise the warmth and emotion of her performance. She passed with flying colours at university and at the folk club and she will indeed receive further accolades as she gets more experience at festivals and the national club scene. Many of her experiences may be typical of teenage life, emotional upset, coming to terms with growing up and lack of security but her ability to express them so beautifully musically in songs like Where to Belong, Rain At Night and Skin is unique and we will hear more of Anna.
In contrast to the young burgeoning talent of Anna was the experienced, much travelled troubadour of folk circuit regular Reg Meuross, who created an intimate atmosphere as he also entranced us with his entertaining songs and storytelling anecdotes. His songs selected from his extensive discography were compelling, amusing and heartfelt as he too in a very different style and equally fascinating recalled events and experiences in his life.
Reg’s songs have a political edge too, bemoaning how our leaders are contributing to the deterioration of English lifestyle and a tribute to Tony Benn and his support of the sacrifices made by Emily Davies during the suffragette campaign. Although from the south-west his time spent in London resulted in the song I am London Town. His tales of making an acquaintance with Gene Vincent Junior showed not only his ability to amuse us but also as he eased into a country-style song he can select appropriate tunes to match the tale he is telling. His compassionate side came through strongly in his story of the Titanic violinist. His ability to conjure up an imaginative tale shone through as he told us on the chance of Phil Ochs and Elvis lookalikes meeting in a Morrison’s cafe!!!
He also muses about a meeting between Hank Williams and Dylan Thomas. His perceptive songs are delivered with sensitivity and compassion sung in a smooth highly listenable style accompanied by the warm intricate playing of his rare reconstructed mahogany guitar. Nevermore so than in the songs Hand Of A Woman and his tribute to Ida Lewis , America’s Grace Darling and lifesaver to many a seaman off Rhode Island. His desire to have a dulcimer following a Joni Mitchell concert gave us a welcome airing of Dave the Appalachian Dulcimer for the song I Am A Fish House Woman.
His songs cover a wide range of themes yet whether they are about local or national heroes, infamous celebrities or lesser-known characters, sea tragedy or love, his endearing personality made for a wholly enjoyable evening and the OHFC audience responded with affection. The musical artistry in painting a picture of England and being English resonated with every member of the audience and his final song before a much-appreciated encore of Shine On, was an up-to-date protest song England Green, England Grey which struck a chord with everyone.
The only minor blip was when he choked on an errant crisp and he claimed Bob Dylan advised him not to eat crisps before a gig….if he’s selling stories I’m buying!
We have another chance to see Reg soon at the Manchester Folk Festival when on October 14th he appears at HOME performing in the song cycle about the slave trade.
Next month, another high calibre artist , the much renowned Edwina Hayes, pays a visit to Over Hulton Folk Club so hopefully, the concert room will be full again.
Check out the OHFC website for details of their open mike nights, the next one scheduled for 19th October at 7.30pm
The year will be completed by Bandersnatch on 14th December
Categories: Live Reviews