Roseanne Reid found a novel way to occupy herself in the lockdowns. She went off to college and studied horticulture. She explains onstage here that the experience gave her a new-found perspective and an inspiration. The result was an EP called “Horticulture” that she released last year. She plays a couple of songs from it here, “Passing Through” is a beautiful thing, typical of her material. She has an interesting voice for one of her years, too. Weather-beaten almost, and when she plays her newest song “I Ain’t Waiting” – written just before Christmas – the way she uses her harmonica sets her apart from most of her competition. The cover she does, Justin Townes Earle’s “I Ain’t Waiting” is done as a fan first and foremost, and is done well. Most of the material, though, is from her “Trails” debut album (Produced by tonight’s headliner) and performed without the band arrangements there’s a kind of rugged beauty. “It Is You” the first song she wrote for it, has a real country feel, “Out In Space” is her favourite, she reckons, but the warmth in the last one “I Love Her So” – which she wrote for her wife – shines through. Music is in her blood (look up the family history) but the lady from the horticultural college, looks like she’s ready to bloom.
“One thing I learnt in lockdown” says Teddy Thompson, “is that I miss the applause”. People say: ‘I’d make music anyway even to no-one’, not me, I’d just watch the telly’.”
Thank goodness then, that he’s here again to share songs from his brilliant “Heartbreaker Please” album. A genuine cracker of a thing, but whether we can call it “new” is open to question. But time, I suppose, kind of stood still? Whatever, as he points out, “I’ve been writing about the virus for years and that virus is love.”
Again, something like Reid, the different arrangements of the songs like “At A Light” (stripped of the horns) really work. To be fair, they all do. This is a stunning 80 minutes or so. “Delilah”, “Looking For A Girl” and the others all seem to be so personal and yet – thanks to the skill of the words – universal. “Gotta Have Someone” is wistful, and “Can’t Sing Straight” has a bluesy, almost Johnny Cash-esque feel.
It’s the matter of fact of nature of how he deals with heartbreak that hits home. “Turn The Gun On Myself” conjures its suicidal thoughts with a smile on its face (“I believe you can joke about anything” says Thompson) and when he plays a couple from his country record “Finally Said Something Good (When You Said Goodbye)” is tremendous fun.
“Altered State” is another that deals with mental health issues and one on which Zac Hobbs – who has been on guitar all night with wonderful effect – really comes into his own.
He ends his set with the title track of “….Please” and can’t resist sending the absurdity of encores up. “I’ll see you soon…well in about 30 seconds after this finishes” And he does, coming back solo for “Brand New”, before Hobbs is back for “Record Player” which is a celebration of music and very much in the vein of Sam Cooke and the likes.
It feels like a celebration of a career here, too. “We’ve done a few of these now, and we are getting quite good”, reckons Thompson, “ ‘quite good’ that’ll look brilliant on the posters.” Ok, cool, but we’ll not miss a chance for some hyperbole at MV, so lets try. We’ve used the line about music being in the blood already, so let’s give it this instead: Teddy Thompson was magnificent here, gleeful to be at the Glee Club on a stage you might say.