Patsy Matheson

Live Review | The Winning Post, York | Review by Allan Wilkinson

My introduction to Patsy Matheson came much later than it should have, when the late lamented Lonsdale Live club in Doncaster booked the late lamented Waking the Witch in what might be considered their heyday.  Sadly Waking the Witch hung up their brooms earlier this year and nodded off again and Patsy returned to what she did before she hooked up with Rachel, Becky and Jools, and that is to return to being a solo performer.  With a new album out, which is receiving favourable reviews, a new set of songs to draw from and one of the best smiles in the business, Patsy topped the bill tonight, at an intimate singer songwriter showcase at The Winning Post in York, along with Miles Cain and Gina Dootson, who were out to lend their support.  Taking to the stage and tuning up her guitar to the sound of Robert Johnson singing “Dust My Broom” (there we go again with the Witch references), coming through the PA loud and beautifully clear, Patsy segued into “Ulverston Gypsy” and then immediately into the Waking the Witch era gem “Through and Through”, providing us with a first rate opening to any solo set you care to mention.  Any song written by a female writer who references King Crimson in the lyric is a winner with me to start with.  The songs from A Little Piece of England transfer well to live performance as they are already pretty much stripped down on the album.  These songs were written for intimacy, and “Sunday Morning Song” with its homely charm and the Neil Young influenced “This New Song” take you elsewhere; such is the power of the imagery in Patsy’s songs.  On “Sunday Morning Song” it’s almost like the Edward Hopper painting, depicting a row of shops drenched in early morning sunlight; you instantly know its Sunday morning without anyone telling you.  Referring to the whole paparazzi thing surrounding Amy Winehouse as “unfortunate”, Patsy introduced her moving “Lamb to Slaughter” with as much sensitivity as the song lyrics themselves.  I was taken by Patsy’s optimistic viewpoint that there might be light at the end of the tunnel, with a comparison to Slowhand’s emergence from drug induced hell in the Seventies, that she may, if we leave her alone, ‘rise like a beautiful butterfly’.  Jokingly berating her own first album as “dreadful”, Patsy did in fact resurrect “One Like Her”, from the earlier With My Boots On album, accompanied by egg shaker.  Offers were out for anyone willing to join the band on various rattles and shakers, but sadly no takers.  Everyone was playing it cool tonight, but not cool enough to prevent us from joining in on the whistling chorus of “Row Down to Wroxham”, one of Patsy’s most infectious songs and one of the highlights of the night.  Finishing with a touch of West Coast pop/rock, Patsy was joined by Gina Dootson for what could possibly be Gina’s last UK performance for a while as she embarks upon a new life and career in Germany this month.  Coupling Steve Miller’s “The Joker” together with a chorus of “Free Falling”, Patsy and Gina brought this delightfully intimate and hugely enjoyable evening to a close.