I don`t know but maybe some things are predisposed in life but being the son of folk-rock musician Ashley Hutchings and singer Judy Dunlop, it seems almost inevitable that Blair Dunlop would become a singer.
This award-winning British singer, songwriter and guitarist, has now released four albums and has toured widely around the globe in a short four-year career. He arrived here tonight in the Heart Of the Black Country to promote his latest release `Notes From An Island` and share his recently acquired cold.
Blair arrives onstage accompanied by Fred Claridge on drums and Jack Carty on bass and launches into “Feng Shui” from his latest offering, a nice mellow catchy laid-back tune to ease us in. The stage has a retro lampstand amongst the instruments, which is referred to as belonging to Dunlop`s mother and by the looks of it, it seems to be the same one as on his album sleeve. We have another couple of cuts from the latest album with the wonderful “One And The Same” and tender “I Do” before a cover of Gabrielle Aplin`s “Please Don`t Say You Love Me”.
Mr Dunlop is left alone to perform a few number solo and shares “Green Liquor” a song named after the colour of the parsley sauce accompanying the jellied eels served in London`s East End and something yet untried since Dunlop`s move to the capitol. The song is written about the housing crisis and people being moved out of certain areas. Bruce Springsteen`s “Dancing In The Dark” is given an airing a song that was learnt and performed on BBC Radio as he wasn`t allowed to share a Joni Mitchell tune.
Amongst this section we get “Nothing Good” and a track from 2016`s `Gilded` album “Up On Cragside” about the eco house that was built in the 1860`s by Lord William Armstrong. His fellow musicians return for the home stretch and amid the new tracks such as “Pallet And Brush”, “Cobalt Blue” and “Spices From The East”, my favourite “Sweet On You” is played. I love the lyric “And if you don’t like Ry Cooder, how could I be sweet on you” Wonderful.
We get a one song encore with “No Go Zones” as this is his first visit to Bilston. A song about the Fox fake news story about no go zones in the UK and one being my own hometown of Birmingham. This was an extremely enjoyable, intimate show. I`ve been trying for some time to catch Mr Dunlop and have to say he`s worth making the effort to see. There`s some great storytelling, terrific musicianship and songs ranging from broken romances, to social problems and climate change. Plenty of wide-ranging issues. Do try to catch him if you can, I can assure you it`ll be worth the effort.