Sunday, 18 September 2016

Spotlight 2016: Steve Mason - Meet The Humans

Steve Mason began his career in music by becoming the lead singer with Scottish band, The Beta Band back in 1996. He stayed with the band from 1996 to 2004. The band played a mixture of all sorts of music including Folk, Electronica, Trip Hop, Rock, and a bit more besides. Their albums were always events and the fans had no idea what was coming at them next.

The Beta Band assessment

Since the split, Steve has released music under several guises but in 2013, it all came together in an absolutely brilliant solo album- Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time. It's an outstanding record and one that deserves repeated listens. It's not an easy listen but one hell of a rewarding one. 

fight them back

So, it's been three long years to see what Steve has come u with next. And with Meet The Humans, he certainly hasn't disappointed. In fact, he may even have topped Monkey Minds.

Following the darkness and challenging, confrontational 'aggression' of Monkey Minds, Meet The Humans is an album of Joy, Hope and some brilliantly vibrant and optimistic song writing. Again, it wasn't the sort of album I was expecting but true to form, Steve has produced an album that nobody expected him to produce following Monkey Minds.

I think the first great decision on Meet The Humans was to bring in Elbow's Craig Potter to sit in the Producer's chair. He certainly knows how to build a superb record.

The album opens with the glimmering shuffle of Water Board. Steve has not lost his strength of rhythm and this is shown throughout the album but the songs find new positions and breathing space compared to the claustrophobic feel of Monkeys Mind. It's as if someone has opened the windows to let in the light.
It's a joyous, piano led song with lovely simple harmonic vocals. Engineered to please and to blow the cobwebs away from that three year hiatus.

water bored

The upbeat feel continues with Alive - another uplifting song. There's even space for a synthesised sitar and other electronic flourishes that skip above the piano.
Two songs in and you're already smiling.


Alright kicks off with some fuzzed guitar chords before some 80s sounding keyboards move the song forward. The song then breaks into an electric guitar with sweeping strings and brass building to a crescendo of harmony and Steve's voice floating over the top. Turning it into a dramatic, epic wall of noise.

Next up is one of my favourite songs on the album - Another Day, the beginning of the song builds beautifully to an extremely catchy chorus. But this isn't the end of the story, we then get some brilliant brass phrases that lift the song to another level and reaches a triumphant conclusion.

The addition of strings and brass to Steve's sound is the winning card in Meet The Human's hand. It gives the album a more organic and dare I say it, Human, quality.

Another Day

Although it is an overall optimistic record, Meet The Humans does have it's darker and more melancholy moments, such as in the next track, Run Away. It's a softly brooding ballad, led by piano and bathed in strings. It's a really beautiful song.

To A Door is another gentle song that flows along beautifully to a rhythm of handclaps, acoustic guitar and piano. It's understated, harmonious and really quite quietly joyous.

It will be really interesting to see how Steve interweaves these softer songs into some of the more challenging songs from earlier works when he performs these songs on the Meet The Humans Tour in late 2016.

At 5.18, the longest song on the album is the next to hit your ears. Hardly Go Through is another quietly epic song - to me, very much in the vein of a Pink Floyd song, except maybe for the more insistent piano stabs in the choruses. 

Through My Window is a watercolour treatment of a song. Wistful, with breathy almost whispered vocals by Steve. It's a simple, acoustic song and is also simply gorgeous.

The first track that was released from the album was the perfect choice. Planet Sizes is a wonderfully uplifting and optimistic song, based around an insistent piano phrase and acoustic guitars, it becomes bathed one again in electronica and some twinkling piano - it really is a gospel song, stripped right back and presented in a beautifully simplistic and modern way.

And talking of gospel, the next track, Like Water also has a gospel feel, especially with the insistent piano work - it is very Hymnic, especially when the strings and brass join the cymbals in crashing towards the triumphant climax. Another epic track.

As if to prove the uplifting nature of the record, the final track, Words In My Head, drives along again on a persistent piano phrase which unpins the song. The electronic instrumentation once again builds up the song to a glorious climax.

Meet The Humans is the most Singer/Songwriter album of Steve Mason's career so far. For beneath the instrumentation, that's exactly what it is. Whether based around piano or acoustic guitar, you can easily see Steve play this album in it's basest form if he wanted to. And it would still sound fabulous.

Quality songwriting with a gloriously sympathetic production have helped Steve Mason produce the album of his career so far. If you haven't yet caught up with Mr Mason, it's time you did. And make sure you don't miss his previous album. To see another side of this excellent songwriter.

Twitter @SteveMasonKBT 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Spotlight 2016: Benjamin Francis Leftwich - After The Rain

It's been a long 5 years since the release of Benjamin Francis Leftwich's debut album Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm.
That album is an absolute jewel of a record. Lyrical and dripping with melody - it really should already be in your collection.
I've discussed Ben on a previous post

In October 2012, Ben released the Ep In The Open, which signposted where he was to go on his next album.

But in 2013 Ben lost his father to cancer. This led Ben to drop off the grid for almost two years on a spiritual journey of self realisation and coming to terms with the death of his father. And now in 2016, Ben presents his new album After The Rain. And by God, how I've missed his music. 

So, has After The Rain been worth the wait. Oh Yes. It's simply stunning.

After a such a dramatic event in his young life, you'd expect that Ben would return being somewhat reflective and introspective. But After The Rain is so much more than that. It has certainly been an exercise in catharsis for Ben and there's as much light as shade in the record.

The first tracked that Ben released from After The Rain is also the lead off track from the album. The lovely Tilikum. It showcases Ben's fragile and almost whispered vocals and gently picked guitar. With soft brushed drums and sparing electronica - it sets the scene for the rest of the album.


'I wish you no harm if some other arms are keeping you happy'

Track 2 is the beguiling song Some Other Arms - opening with drums, bathed in electronica and featuring once again Ben's picked guitar and lovely harmonies, it's another gorgeous track. It has a beautiful hymnal quality - which is a theme throughout the album.

Some Other Arms

She Will Sing lifts the mood with an uptempo drumbeat and vibrant electronica underneath Ben's layered vocals. 

As I stated earlier, Ben has produced an album of both light and darker shades - quite often they lie within the same song, such as in the next track Kicking Roses

Kicking Roses

Ben has created some gorgeous melodies for this album and none better than the lilting and floating Summer - with it's softly sweeping background including some muted drumming and piano and electronic swathes it's Ben at his most seductive and poetic musically.


'I parted from the feeling I was never going to change and I started to believe in the hope of better days'

Just Breathe is almost a continuation of Summer with an even richer atmospheric accompaniment. It's amazing how Ben has created an album that sound so sparse and at the time seem so lush.

The songs are short and sweet on this new album - fitting in 13 tracks into it's 47 minute playing time. The songs are around just enough time for them to make friends with you then they're gone. Like mist in the morning.

Cocaine Bridge sees Ben at his most pleading with some lovely electric guitar moments. It shimmers under an insistent swathe of brushed cymbals which come in like waves hitting the seashore. It's a lovely sound indeed.

The next song is also the longest on the album - at just over 5 minutes, Groves starts with some strummed acoustic guitar and piano before being joined by what sounds like a cello. It's dramatic, it's cinematic but oddly insular. It's reminiscent of something Peter Gabriel might produce. 


There are quite a few songs on the album that deal with relationships - Day By Day is one of these. With just Ben's guitar and a sprinkling of electronica, it's one of the simplest tracks on the album.

Immortal starts with some foot stomping drums before settling down with a piano motif and then builds into another minor dramatic track.

There is a mood of solace that runs throughout the album but that's not to say it is mournful or demanding your sympathy. Ben has very much gone for a mood on this album and the songs have either been selected or sculptured to fit into this mood.  

It's obviously and album that has been instigated with sorrow in mind but it's how Ben has had to deal with his grief - it's often said that artists produce their best work out of sorrow or strife and Ben is no exception. After The Rain is very much in the same vein as another of my Albums of 2016 this year - the magnificently understated Happy Blue by Jones.

The next track on the album is one of the most immediate songs on the album - Mayflies is another of the more uplifting songs on the album with its electronically treated vocals and another melody to die for it's an absolutely killer track. Contemporary and 


'In another life the mayflies will take over the sky'

The soft acoustic strum of Ben's guitar is the basis of the penultimate track of After The Rain. Frozen Moor is the gentle Coda to the album and is the track on the album that would easiest fit on to Ben's debut. There's something about just a musician and their guitar. Stripped of the polish and instrumentation it really is a lovely track.

The final track on the album is the extremely short Just As I Was Waking Up. Again just Ben and his guitar, it drifts in like a shaft of sunlight into a darkened room. Then disappears.

After The Rain is a record that seduces you. Lulls you into a false sense of insecurity. Whispers in your ears. Tells you secrets. And promises that everything will be alright in the end.

Let's just hope we don't have to wait another four years for that Difficult Third Album.

A mention has to go to Jade Spranklen who has produced some beautiful illustrations to accompany the album.

Illustrations by Jade Spranklen 
Twitter -  @Sprankenstein 

Twitter - @BenLeftwich

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Spotlight 2016: Big Big Train - Folklore

WARNING - you may need to be sitting down with a glass of something you enjoy. Because if you play the accompanying videos in full - you will be here some time. And I want you to. But trust me, it'll be worth your time. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.

If Big Big Train are a mystery to you, here's a small history lesson - if not, just bear with me a minute.
Formed in 1990 by Andy Poole & Greg Spawton, originally with various musicians, the band now has a stable line up - 

  • David Longdon - lead and backing vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion
  • Nick D'Virgillo - drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Greg Spawton - acoustic guitar, bass guitar, bass pedals, backing vocals
  • Andy Poole - acoustic guitar, mandolin, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Dave Gregory - guitars
  • Danny Manners - keyboards, double bass
  • Rachel Hall - violin, voila, cello, backing vocals
  • Rikard Sj√∂blom - keyboards, guitars, accordion, backing vocals
photo courtesy of Kain Dear

The band started their recording career with the release of 1994's Goodbye To The Age Of Steam and are now on their ninth release with the magnificent Folklore.

The band are very much perceived as a Progressive Rock band but with Folklore, they have turned their attention to a more pastoral view of their place in the musical firmament.

They've gathered together songs that in the best tradition of English folk music, tell stories. But with the Progressive framework that followers of BBT have come to know and love. 
BBT have always enjoyed looking into the past for their inspiration and they do do again on Folklore but this time with a specific aural objective in mind. 

With five of the nine songs on Folklore over 7 minutes long, they have plenty of time and space to weave their musical magic.

The album opens with the stunning title track, Folklore. Somber strings give way to plaintive brass which has an almost military feel, like a requiem to the fallen but then the violin and drums kick in and the song begins properly. It's very much in the Bellowhead territory before the organ kicks in to send the song off in a different direction again with layered voices and harmonies. It's an upbeat, rabble-rousing opening song with the traditional violin and flutes weaving together with the Progressive guitars and Organ to create a thrilling mix of the old and the new. It really is a thrilling opening track.

London Plane is a lovely, gentle song. Very much in the Pink Floyd or Marillion way when they decide to get softer. Guitar based initially, the gentleness gives way to a focused work out featuring the guitars, flute and keyboards before David Longdon's vocal brings it back down into it's softer harmonic waters before the guitars and keyboards start to soar again. It's a sweeping piece of music and at over 10 minutes it has more changes than a Las Vegas Showgirl.

photo courtesy of stuart wood

Along The Ridgeway uses harmonies, piano and plaintive strings to weave an almost waltz like magical spell. Guitar arpeggios are the bed on which the harmonies play around before they are joined by subtle brass. Some lovely Byrdsian Rickenbacker - probably by Dave Gregory - leads into the next section of vocal interplay. There are just SO many colours in this one relatively short song.

Ominous cello and violin introduce the next track Salisbury Giant, a mere vignette at only 3 and a half minutes long. A mainly instrumental piece with some lovely Hammond Organ work.

With Transit Of Venus Across The Sun we are back into the 7 minute territory. Opening up with a gorgeous brass and violin passage before the early Genesis-like guitar work introduces David Longdon's vocals which really are stunning all the way through this record. This track will remind you of Marillion at their best. 

With a flute and some very English Folk vocal we are into the next track Wassail.  It's harmony driven and dramatic with plenty of keyboard flourishes, it's definitely the most folk-oriented track on the album.

How many songs do you know about Pigeons - (and can we please BURY that bloody Genesis song!!)? Well, here's a song called Winkie - and it's about a pigeon that saves the lives of a bomber crew back in World War 2. I know, I know but stick with me here. It's very Progressive in approach and performance - complete with bugle, drum and pealing bells. It's Prog Jim, but not as we know it. Well, it's actually just as we know it, Captain. And what a joyous thing it is. Could have been plucked straight out of 70s Prog album. Just sit back and enjoy. and I hope those headphones are comfortable.

We're almost home on this majestic voyage that Big Big Train have taken us on but we have one last epic track. Brooklands. This is twelve minutes of Folk tinged progressive music just as you would expect. Fine musicianship, sweeping musical statements and solos that soar.

I've tried not to spoil the stories relating to the songs on the album by revealing them to you. I thought it better that you discover them for yourselves if you choose to do so. But suffice to say that the titles of the tracks will lead you in the right direction.

It's always difficult in album reviews not to reveal too much about an album and I hope I have given you a flavour of the scope and grandeur that have gone into the making of Folklore. 

Well, where do we go from here? Hmm, how about MY favourite song on the whole album. The absolutely glorious, beautiful thing that is Telling The Bees. I won't tell you what it means - go and Google it - or watch the video. But I haven't heard a Coda as good since Made Again from the Marillion album Brave. If you went on that emotional journey with Marillion, you'll know exactly what I mean.

Folklore is one of THE albums of 2016 - so check it out - invest - and tell your friends - then go back and discover the other jewels in the Big Big Train crown.

artwork by Sarah Louise Ewing

Monday, 12 September 2016

Spotlight 2016: Ray Wilson - Song For A Friend & Makes Me Think Of Home


A burst of creativity has resulted in singer/songwriter Ray Wilson releasing two albums in 2016 - I've treated it as one project - call it a double album if you will. Whatever you call it, it's a hell of an achievement to make two albums where the consistency of the songwriting remains so high.

Ray has managed it with the release of Song For A Friend & Makes Me Think Of Home.

You may know as the vocalist of the band Stiltskin, who had a big worldwide hit with the song Inside - which was used in a Levi's commercial back in 1994.

Ray then went on to become the lead vocalist for Genesis, following the departure of Phil Collins in 1997. He recorded one album with Genesis, Calling All Stations. I must say I LOVE this album and think both Rutherford & Banks missed a trick then by not continuing with Ray. Indeed, Mike Rutherford states in his autobiography that he did not feel Ray was a songwriter!!! How wrong he was!

Anyway, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks then decided that they's put Genesis on hold and Ray went off to establish a solo career releasing his first studio album Change in 2003. 

Song For A Friend is Ray's sixth solo studio release.

It's often a very gentle listen. This doesn't mean to say it hasn't got teeth and depth - because it has but it's presented in a soft and subtle way. And it's also got mountains of Heart.

The songs are very personal to Ray and working closely with Stiltskin guitarist Uwe Metzler, Ray has created an introspective and stripped back approach that suits the songs and their subject matter perfectly. If Jackson Browne had come up with this album of these songs, I reckon he'd be rather pleased.
Ray has a lovely burr to his voice and it is shown to it's best advantage with the often delicate presentation.

The opening track Old Book On The Shelf sets out the album's stall from track 1. Full of cinematic imagery, it gently rocks it's way into your subconscious and it's definitely one you'll be humming to yourself later.

Over My Dead Body begins with a lovely acoustic strum with Ray almost whispering his vocals. It's a lovely song, tinged with regret and sadness, which is a theme that continues throughout the whole album. But it's not a maudlin listen at all. Sometimes sadness can almost be uplifting and cathartic - very much in the vein of another of my albums of 2016 - 

 Cold Light Of Day continues the theme of loss and redemption based around another lovely melody and has some beautiful minor chord action unexpectedly slipped into the music. And Uwe provides some nice electric guitar work on this track. Indeed he underpins the album for Ray with some exquisite touches throughout.

The title track, Song For A Friend, is the touchstone of the whole album. It's a song written for Ray's close friend James Lewis, who killed himself after he had been confined to a wheelchair by an accident - and he did this by wheeling himself into the sea. 

Ray has turned his grief into a touchingly nostalgic tribute to his lost friend. The song actually moved my wife to tears when she first heard it. 

How long Is Too Long introduces some drums and organ into the guitar based mix and again it's Ray's pleading vocal that lifts the track and tugs at the heartstrings.

Not Long Til Springtime has more acoustic guitar picking and gentle ringing arpeggios before the piano joins in the musical tapestry. This is a song about the light at the end of the tunnel but presented in a very gentle and encouraging way. 

Miscommunication is the theme for the next song Backseat Driving with it's insistent acoustic guitar picking and Ray's once more pleading vocal.

The mood is lifted somewhat with the following song Parallel Souls. Complete with handclaps - a real around the campfire gentle singalong.

photo courtesy of Marcus Hanselmann

Tried and Failed is a relationship song. Again based beautifully around a simple acoustic guitar backing with a touch of electronica sweeps and a lovely slice of saxophone towards the end. It's another gentle, lilting song with a heartfelt vocal from Ray.

The album closer is an absolute show stopper. It's the only cover on the album. But what a cover.
How many artists would be brave enough to present an acoustic version of a Pink Floyd song? 
Well, Ray Wilson has, and it's an absolute triumph! It's High Hopes from the Pink Floyd album, The Division Bell. 

It's a fantastic way to close the album, gently epic with a superb version of the solo on electric guitar that finishes the song - just as it closes The Divison Bell. Truly inspired thinking.

photo courtesy of Kevin Dixon/Team Rock

In October - Ray will release his second album this year, Makes Me Think Of Home.
Where as Song For A Friend is a quiet and reflective album, Makes me Think is much more electric and uplifting. Although it also has some gentle moments, you can see why Ray chose to release these as two separate albums as they convey two differing moods.

Makes Me Think Of Home opens up with the uplifting They Never Should Have Sent You Roses complete with it's tasty electric guitar arpeggios. It sounds like something U2 or maybe a Daniel Lanois inspired Peter Gabriel could have come up with. Indeed, Ray has always had the shade of the Peter Gabriel about his voice.

Track 2 is The Next Life which has a bluesy feel and is similar fare to songs that Ray has produced in the past. A bit of filler but not a killer.

Tennessee Mountains puts Ray back into the driving seat with a song that could easily have fitted into Songs For A Friend but was probably a little bit too summery for that album's autumnal mood. It's an acoustic driven song with some lovely guitar phrases and harmonies. And some very nice electric guitar work to lift the song in the end.

The atmospherics return for Worship The Sun which develops into another mid-tempo to slow rocker. The one thing you immediately notice n this second album is the appearance of drums on every track driving it along. The saxophone makes a welcome return and helps gives the song more interest and a bit of additional colour.

For me, the killer track on the album comes next - a bright shining light of both albums - the uplifting and hopeful Amen To That. It shows Ray also has a pop sensibility, although it very rarely sees the light of day. So clap your hands and sing along. AMEN TO THAT :)

The acoustic slide introduces the next track Anyone Out There. It's a slow burner of a track that builds nicely with swathes of electronica and electric stings under the layers of guitar and keyboard. And then the saxophone adds another dimension as it brings the track to a climax. I can see this being a live favourite with the option to improvise at the end.

Don't Wait For Me is the most unsettling track on the album - complete with minor chords, odd vocal twists and unusual instrumentation. Does it work? I'm not sure although I applause Ray for trying something a bit different.

Track 9 of 10 is Calvin & Hobbes. It is based around the American Comic Strip of Bill Watterson. It's a lovely piano based ballad underpinned by soaring harmonies and sympathetic strings. It's epic in every sense of the word and is definitely the most Prog of all the songs on the two albums.

The closing track on the album is The Spirit. It's a country tinged song with wild west imagery and the accompanying whistling and acoustic guitar and tambourine. It's a very nice way to close the album. 
Makes Me Feel Like Home needs more emotional investment to reveal it's beauty than the more immediate and intimate Song For A Friend but both are ultimately rewarding.
And as I stated earlier, it is quite some achievement to produce two contrasting albums worth of high quality material.

Should you invest - most certainly. Give Ray a chance - he deserves that much at the very least.

Twitter -  @RayWilson_20

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Live in 2016: Jimmy Webb at The Convent on Friday 9th September 2016

The word Legend is used much too often in Musical circles but tonight at The Convent we had a 'Real' Musical Legend with the appearance of Jimmy Webb.

But firstly...

The Man below is Matthew Roberts - who, with his wife Charlotte, has breathed new life into The Convent in South Woodchester near Stroud. It would take some venue to get me to drive the almost 2 hours from South Wales on a as regular as possible basis but The Convent is the best venue I have attended in my many years of attending gigs. It is a very special place tucked into the gorgeous Cotswold countryside and is building up a fantastic reputation among musicians and audiences alike. And not only is it a fantastic place to play and attend gigs - it also has the added advantages of being able to broadcast the gigs all over the world via absolutely brilliant internet broadcasts. Added to this, it has some exceptional recording facilities. Oh, and throw in a very unique hotel experience too.

And it's all down to Matthew, Charlotte and their exceptional team, who make you feel so welcome.

Tonight, Matthew announces that this show with Jimmy Webb is the first in a series of ICON performances coming to The Convent. I can't wait to see what Icons Matthew is bringing to The Convent in the future. But he's keeping it under one of his many literal hats at the moment.

What can you say about Jimmy Webb? Jimmy is one of the most distinguished songwriters in the world. He's had so many hits that we'd be here all night singing them. 

He's worked with most of the major players in popular music and tonight is an opportunity to hear Jimmy singing his own songs with just a piano accompaniment. In probably exactly the same way as they were originally written over the last 60 years. He also tells some insightful and entertaining stories about the people he has worked with. 

During this review, I will include some videos of the songs that Jimmy performs tonight. Some by Jimmy, some by other artists with Jimmy, some by the artists who have had the original hits with the included songs.

Jimmy opens the show with one of his biggest hits - The Highwayman - a huge hit for the Country supergroup of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson aka from then on as The Highwaymen.

I will not spoil the show for anyone who has yet to see it by unveiling the stories that Jimmy tells throughout the evening but I will mention some of the people he discusses. Such as Waylon Jennings with this song. Here it is performed by Jimmy and the wonderful songwriter Paddy McAloon from the band Prefab Sprout.

The Highwaymen performing The Highwayman

There is always something special about seeing a performer like Jimmy - a songwriter who has given other artists some of the biggest songs of their career. There is a beautiful vulnerability to these songwriters when performing their own songs. And you get variations in terms of the songs' presentations and performances. Shedding new light on some of the most recognised songs in the history of recorded music.

Jimmy will always be known for his musical relationship with Glen Campbell. This began in 1967 with the song By The Time I Get To Pheonix, of more later. But second song tonight is another of the huge songs from Glen Campbell, Gavlveston.

Here is Glen's original promo from 1968.

Another fruitful relationship for Jimmy was with the vocal group 5th Dimension. Their biggest hit comes up next - introduced by Jimmy as 'Are you old enough to remember the Nimble Advert?'

As with all of the songs tonight, Jimmy regales us with some excellent stories related to either the song or the artist.

Jimmy is such an unassuming and genuine guy. This comes across in his performance tonight. I had to almost pinch myself tonight just to remind myself that this guy on the stage has written ALL of these fantastic songs we were privileged to be listening to tonight.

And The Convent suits this performance beautifully with the glorious surroundings, superb sound quality and The Convent Grand piano.

The next song we are treated to was a hit for the great singer Art Garfunkel, who knows a thing or two about Iconic songwriters. It's called All We Know.

Is Jimmy Webb still relevant you may ask. Well, a quick answer is YES. Take the recent Kanye West song with Rhianna called Famous. This song heavily samples one of Jimmys's best songs - which has been a hit for many artists including the gorgeous version by Nina Simone.

Go and do what you wanna do is Jimmy's next song tonight.

Here is a link to the Kanye West song Famous, if you're interested in hearing it.

I would have traveled the two hours today - just to hear Jimmy Webb perform the next song. It it one of my favorite songs of all time. It was a massive hit for Glen Campbell. It's Wichita Lineman. And Jimmy's version is SO different from Glen's but just as compelling. 

And here is tonight's performance. Just magical. It got the biggest standing ovation of the night.

I could do a whole Blog piece about Witchita Lineman so I just can't resist slipping in Glen's wonderful version. Jimmy talked a little of Glen's current state tonight. He saw him recently and stated that the place he know resides is just beautiful. I'm Glad :'(

Jimmy has had hits across all genres of music. This one he described as a puppy rescued by Judy Collins. I'll leave it at that. It's another of my all time favourite songs - and it's a real jewel :)

Here we are again, lucky enough to be able to see the night's performance thanks to Matthew and his team at The Convent.

The Moon's A Harsh Mistress.

Here is Judy's version,

Up next is a song from Jimmy's 2005 album - Twilight Of The Renegades - a lovely version of How Quickly.

What can you say about the next song tonight? One of the most enigmatic songs of all time. And it became a hit several times over. For differing artists from different genres. I remember hearing it for the first time and being completely blown away by it's baroque majesty and varying sections, come to think of it, it is almost Prog - I was in my very early teens. It was sung by the actor Richard Harris. It was MacArthur Park.

And here's Donna Summer's supreme 18 minute version. Get Dancing!!!!!!!

Obviously, Jimmy's version is much intense and personal tonight and he bangs away at those chords with a focused abandon. And it brought the house, or in this case The Convent, down. It also completed tonight's set.

But we weren't letting Jimmy escape without an encore. An Jimmy duly obliged with his first big hit as a songwriter - By The Time I Get To Phoenix, which proved a huge hit for Glen Campbell at the start of his solo career.
Here's a performance by Jimmy way back in 1971 on the superb Old Grey Whistle Test.

So, a supreme gig by a true Legend of music. The first of The Convent's Iconic Artist performances and what a way to start.

The artists who play The Convent always do a soundcheck. Tonight, Jimmy performed a song at the soundcheck which wasn't included in his show. But it's such a gorgeous version, I thought I'd include it for you.

If These Old Walls Could Speak.

With The Convent's superb recording facility, you can watch this whole show online for a small price at the link below. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Twitter - @realjimmywebb

All Photos of Jimmy Webb courtesy of Eric Hobson Photography - I thank you Sir.