Jez Lowe

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

The Peter Pan of the British folk scene was back at the Monday Music Club at The Regent once again tonight, making his fourth appearance at one of these soirees in as many years.  Jez Lowe looks no different today than when he was making appearances in Doncaster a couple of decades ago, armed with guitar and cittern, as he and his Hurdy Gurdy Man came singing songs of love (whatever happened to Jake Walton?)  Tall, dark, handsome, striped shirt; it’s all still there, but most importantly, the distinctive voice, fabulous guitar and (aforementioned) cittern handling and skilful song writing ability is unchanged in its quality.  Great songs, great performances and a good deal of warmth from a Geordie who knows his audience and who knows how to get the best out of them.  Familiar songs from his repertoire such as “Latchkey Lover”, “Spitting Cousins” and “Another Man’s Wife”, rubbed shoulders with newer material such as “Will of the People”, “Famous Working Man” and “The Sea and the Deep Blue Devil”, all from his latest CD ‘Jack Common’s Anthem.  It has been said many times, not least by this reviewer, that Jez has the ability to write songs that address current issues, but with melodies that sound as though they could have been written years ago and yet, sound accessible to new and old ears alike.  Little wonder Jez was one of the chosen performers to be included in the 2006 Radio Ballads with the insightful “Taking on Men”.   Tonight Jez played mostly solo but was joined towards the end of the night by fellow Bad Penny Kate Bramley on fiddle, for a nice ‘Sonny & Cher’ duet on “Greek Lightning” as well as the Bad Pennies’ “There’s No Fun Without Fools” and a rousing “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go” before Jez got up to finish off the night with “Tenterhooks”, a word that describes the absolute opposite communal feeling amongst the audience tonight; certainly not on tenterhooks, but quite possibly on cloud nine.  The support for tonight’s gig was a fine duo comprising of Kate Green and Patrick Walker, who opened with an unaccompanied “Cuckoo Song” (also known as “Heffle Cuckoo Fair”, proving once again that Kipling makes exceedingly good songs) and went on to charm the Regent audience with a selection of finely chosen delights from such diverse sources as Lal and Mike Waterson “Fine Horseman” and “A Stitch in Time” respectively, Scullion’s “I am Stretched on Your Grave” (covered by everyone from Sinead O’Connor to Kate Rusby), Robert Burns’ “Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon” and Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, a good way to get the audience feeling good for the remainder of the night.