Review: Martin Simpson at Chesterfield Library theatre

Martin Simpson at Chesterfield Library Lecture Theatre
Martin Simpson at Chesterfield Library Lecture Theatre

Twenty seven BBC Folk Awards and counting, Martin Simpson lived up to his billing at the Library Theatre.

His mastery of finger style and slide guitar, not to mention the banjo, held the packed house spellbound.

With a fine blend of self-penned and cover versions, Martin stamped his own authority for the best part of two hours.

The eclectic mix of American and European influences combined with the most English of songs showed Martin as a connoisseur and great interpreter. No wonder he has lived in America and collaborated with artists as wide ranging as Jackson Browne and Richard Thompson.

Stand-outs of the night? Churlish to say but Dylan’s ‘Blind Willie McTell’ and Martin’s own personal songs certainly thrilled these ears.

Support for the night was the delightful and talented Sue MacFarlane, singing both a capella and then with guitar. Sue included in her set beautiful covers of Chris While and Dixie Chicks songs and her own searing song in support of the NHS. Her personality stone through and the audience would have welcomed a longer set but maybe next next time.

The next concert organised by Chesterfield Folk Club sees the reformed Artisan playing at the library theatre on April 10, before Judy Dunlop in May and her son Blair in June. Book now to avoid disappointments.

DAVE BATESON

Photo of Martin Simpson by Steve Swallow