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WINTER WILSON - The David Hall, South Petherton - 14 April 2018

A most enjoyable evening’s entertainment from one of the folk world’s busiest and most entertaining duos, and the pleasure was enhanced by David Hall’s amazing acoustics (described by The Voice Squad as among the best they’d ever experienced). Kip Winter’s outstanding vocal talents and Dave Wilson’s stunning abilities as a songwriter, composer, guitarist and singer welded seamlessly to produce a most memorable evening that obviously pleased the very varied audience that the venue enjoys.

The partners in any duo need to have a complete empathy with each other, and these two have it in spades, in addition to a practiced and very professional stage manner – getting any audience ‘on your side’ is always a good thing – and their combination of relaxed comments and Kip’s (often corny) folk club-type jokes certainly worked with the audience. In fact, the deceptively lightweight intros may have left them unprepared for the high quality of what was to come.

I lost count of the number of songs fired at us in the first half, and spent the interval trying to assimilate the immense variety of what I’d just heard. Dave is, quite simply, an extremely talented songwriter who quarries his material from the full gamut of the human condition and experience and then presents it in songs that speak simply and directly to the listener; they may appear as folk songs, as blues or in Bonnie Raitt style (which suits Kip particularly). And his tunes work with the words, avoiding the predictability of many contemporary composers. Add in the fine harmonies and their musicianship, and you have the makings of a memorable night. Which makes you listen!

The second half was no less enjoyable, and I was left with a load of songs and stories running round my mind, for various reasons, as I went home: the unpredictable air of The Handsome Farmer Lad; the strength of phrases like “with the click of a mouse I’ll disappear, from a girl to a ghost at eighteen years”; and a great bluesy song, The Tried, The Tested And The True, among many others.

An excellent evening from both performers; the lasting impression for me was that I had witnessed a tour de force display of outstanding songwriting – by any standards. Their current tour will be almost over by the time this appears in print, but I picked up a copy of the CD they’re promoting at their current tour, Far Off On The Horizon, and would suggest that, if you can’t get to a gig, then get the CD.

John Waltham