Edwina Hayes, Craig Joiner – Over Hulton Folk Club: Live Review

Edwina Hayes, Craig Joiner – Over Hulton Folk Club – 2nd November 2022

On what has probably been the worst evening weather wise, the hardy intrepid folk followers of Bolton turned out in their droves attracted to hear the heavenly yet natural voice of Edwina Hayes rather than toddle into Manchester to see an upcoming American folk singer by the name of Bob!!

In her two enchanting sets Edwina with her sometimes amusing and sometimes moving stories invited us into her sometimes quirky world with what must be one the best voices on the folk circle. The evening is really a selection of excerpts from her personal diary with stories sung and told with charm and sensitivity.

The evening began with a short set from Craig Joiner whose songs also told stories of his life. He sometimes added the phrase “there must be a song in there somewhere”  when telling us about personal relationships (The Art of Landing) and interests like fly fishing, which evoked, in complete contrast to the storm outside, the feeling of tranquility.  Within his songs is some nifty guitar work particularly in the song The Wedding Of Eliza May, which has a neat run after each line. His dark humour was expressed in The Tree and the situation of meeting new acquaintances, posing the situation of whether this is a brief encounter or the beginning of a lifelong friendship was sensitively expressed in Making Of A Life.

His long career began when only 15, encouraged to continue in those early days was by a Paul Brady song, Mary And The Soldier which inspired him to continue performing. We must be grateful that his mantra ‘there must be a song in there’ continued so we can continue to enjoy his extensive catalogue of songs.

With hardly any break between each artist  Edwina began her set with Leave A Light On For You, and took us on a fascinating whirlwind tour of her travels in her personal life and touring both nationally and worldwide including Nashville. Tales about her love of toast, much loved and troubled friends, a Rod Stewart fanatic, a much travelled lovable roguish father,  a mother who moved from Lancashire to Yorkshire after a stressful career in social care and a chance meeting with Richard Thompson were blended in with songs like  A Life That’s Good, Pour Me Another Drink, You’re A Lady , Ruby Rose and from Galway To Graceland.

Her humble beginnings in a small folk club in Bridlington have sparked an international career gracing the stages of the festival scene including Shrewsbury and Cropredy have now polished her into an artist with exceptional stage presence abling her to establish a close rapport with her audience within moments. 

The second half of the evening she dedicated to requests from the audience, which were in the main covers of artists like Nanci Griffith (Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness), Leonard Cohen (Blue Raincoat), Randy Newmann (Feels Like Home) and Boo Hewardine (Bend In The Road). Skilfully and sensitively she delivered them in her own inimitable style and alluring voice. Edwina also has a slight penchant for dark humour and many a wry laugh was heard from the audience in her version of Waiting For The Guy To Die.

The evening ended with Craig and Edwina dueting on Let It Be, showing how much the Folk Club scene has thankfully moved on. Can you imagine the reaction of folk club audiences at one time if an artist sang a Beatles song!!

The hearts of Over Hulton Folk Club organisers spearheaded by Corrie Shelley must have been glowing as they saw the room fill tonight. A great reward for their hard work throughout the year.  With the promise of more attractive acts continuing with Bandersnatch in December and then getting the New Year off to a cracking start with local heroes Merry Hell, I hope the room will be packed full again.

Edwina Hayes online: Website / Facebook / Instagram

Craig Joiner online: Website / Facebook / Youtube / Instagram

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