Vin Garbutt

Live Review | The Salutation, Doncaster | Review by Allan Wilkinson

The best news on the British folk scene since we discovered that Dave Swarbrick was ‘not quite dead yet’ despite having his obituary printed in the Daily Telegraph – “it’s not the first time I’ve died in Coventry” he later quipped – is the re-emergence of Vin Garbutt after his life threatening heart scare last year.  Vin played before a packed house tonight at the Sal, being the first complete sell out since the fabled Jonathan Kelly night a couple of years ago.  Most of the old fans came out to see once again one of the nicest guys in the business.  Whilst serious illness for some is normally something you put behind you once you’re over it, Vin incorporated it into his set and tonight most of his hilarious between song patter was about the hospital experience.  I reckon I know a whole lot more about heart and respiratory problems now that it’s been put to me in that way.  Having seen Vin dozens of times over the years, I’ve never been disappointed or indeed unmoved by his music.  That would be like giving your family a bad review after joining together for Christmas songs around the piano in the parlour, Vin has that air about him, the sense that you are gathered around for a communal singsong and a good old knees up.  What Vin has that most of us strive for but fail miserably in obtaining, is a unique gift for telling a story that will make your sides ache one minute and then seconds later, tell a different story in the shape of a song that will simply break your heart.  After two sets of this alternating emotional rollercoaster, you go home feeling ecstatically happy and sad in equal measure.  It’s good to see Vin back on the road after his illness, and he’s singing as well as ever in his own distinctive style.