Matt Woosey @ St James Wine Vaults

“I’m not as drunk as I was the last time you saw me…” It had been about four years since I’d last seen Matt and to be fair he was quite far gone on that occasion. However, a boozy Woosey is always a laugh, so this greeting I received before his set was equally refreshing and disappointing, but I suppose a wife and kids can change a man. Had it changed the music?

St James Wine Vault’s cozy interior is far removed from the stage at Ronnie Scott’s where some might have seen Matt previously. However, he seemed right at home under the vaulted ceiling, with his trademark Woosey banter and devil-may-care attitude.

Bath was the 14th of his 16 gig Desiderata Album Launch Tour. The new album has more love songs on it than I’m used to hearing from the British Blues busting songster, but there’s no denying the fact the man can write a good love song. In particular ‘Who Do you Love’ stands out like a nugget of pure gold. It showcases the softer side of Matt Woosey’s vocals and highlights his extraordinary guitar skills.

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However, the set was by no means soft and there was a serious heaping of old Woosey classics like ‘Cruel Disposition’ and ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’, which allowed Matt to showoff the more guttural aspect of his voice. He’s no one-trick-pony though and throughout the set he would fly from these lower registers up to a pitch worthy of a choir boy. The amount of effort this man puts in makes you wonder “Is he going to snap a vocal chord or give birth on stage?”

While this was going on, the delightful John Parker (of Nizlopi, Ed Sheeran and Newton Faulkner fame) bounced along beside him on the double bass, providing an effortless yet breathtaking performance of auditory splendor.

From slide, to lap steel, to percussive techniques with all the ease of a child banging a pot and pan against its head, Matt Woosey has it all and together with John Parker, these two produce tunes which are thumping.

My only grievance was that it was a Wednesday night and £12 on the door is a lot to ask on a week day unless you know what to expect, which thankfully I did. However, it could explain why there was such a select audience. Sometimes it can’t be helped and I’m sure RMT tried their best to get him on at the weekend, nevertheless it was a triumph on their part to get such great musicians playing a gig in Bath.

With the help of RMT Music Productions, St James Wine Vaults seems to have entered a new era of outstanding gigs. This is a venue, which for the moment, is definitely providing some top quality performers.

 

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