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Paul Mosley - Green Note, London (16/11/17)

WINTERTIDE EP LAUNCH

An evening spent in the company of the excellent singer-songwriter Paul Mosley is always a special and very worthwhile experience. After releasing his fantastic critically acclaimed and epic folk opera 'The Butcher' last year, Paul returns with a number of new projects including this his new seasonal five-track EP 'Wintertide' which is released on the 17th November.

The launch was an great opportunity not only to showcase Paul's new EP, but also to celebrate some of the wonderful songs from Paul's long and distinguished musically career and finally to look to the future with a taster of his forthcoming 2018 releases. The night also included a host of special and very talented guests including two great support sets from Robin Elliott and Jack Harris. Plus members of Paul's ensemble The Red Meat Orchestra.

The evening was opened by London based singer-songwriter Robin Elliott, who originally hails from the North West of England. The always busy Robin has written material performed by Ben Walker, Samantha Whates and Sophie Jamieson amongst others and his music and songs have featured on the soundtrack of the feature film 'A Very British Gangster' and on Channel 4's 'Cutting Edge'.

His set included songs from his latest release 'At Sunset' as well as his 2015 EP release 'Green Ginger Wine'. Wearing a red smock coat and carrying his Gibson acoustic guitar, Robin's opening words to the audience were 'I don't have much time, so I'm going to smash out the hits'. He duly followed with atmospheric 'William V' with it's strong narrative themed on the early 1980's London riots. Vocally and stylistically it reminded me a little of Sting. The retrospective and gentle 'Par Avion' showed off Robin's lovely vocal style and soft finger-picking, with a equally fine arrangement. Post party blues and the effects of a big night out where discussed next in 'Gentle Chunks', with it's vivid and poetic imaginary. After a brief interlude describing why Kolo Toure's face superimposed over the Milky Way would be his favourite stage backdrop. Robin then played one of my favourites from his back catalogue 'Lean Times', a song about daily suffering and hardship, accepting that things won’t be getting better any time soon. It came complete with a mouth trumpet solo. Hot off the 'musical' press was a new song 'Mute The Button' recorded a few weeks ago in Brighton. Robin described it as like 'Metropolis - The Musical'. "Everything is modern and big" he said. He played a backing track to the song from his trusty laptop, complete with metronome clicks and female harmony vocals. He was 'The Singer at The End Of The Song'.

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Following Robin was another LCM favourite, the very talented Jack Harris. The craftsman songwriter, vocalist and guitar player, who has been described by Anais Mitchell as "a priest of song" and we would agree. Jack has perfect comic timing and provided a masterclass in stagecraft including sharing with the audience that it's a trade secret to always mention your name three times in a set. This all too short section of the evening started with the wonderful 'Medicine Bow' followed by a new song 'What Am I Gonna Do About You? getting an early outing. Jack then contemplated on how he would like to be remembered. What would be his musical legacy and inheritance? Originally he said he liked the idea of building an adventure playground, but now after much thought Jack has finally set his heart on a memorial library. Time will tell if that dream will come true.....but for now his songs are becoming his rich legacy.

One of my favourite songs from Jack's previous back catalogue is the beautiful written, reflective and gentle 'Donegal', so I was extremely pleased to see in included in his set. Jack then raises the mood for a toe-tapping, bluesy and Irish Americana favoured Andalusian song about 'good time girl' 'Molly Bloom'. "Hey Molly Bloom you mountain flower....They're wild about your loving, you'll have your fun and it might as well be me as anyone". Just like a true pro that he is, after breaking a guitar string tuning just before his final song, Jack put his guitar down and launched into a unaccompanied song. It was his version of the Dave Sudbury classic about the very famous racing pigeon 'The King Of Rome', which was first made famous by June Tabor......the song that is....not the pigeon!

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Not only was Paul celebrating the launch of his Wintertide EP, but also it was ten years since the release of his debut solo album 'Fear' in 2007. It has also been fifteen years since the release of 'The Swimming Zoo' in 2002 with his previous group indie folk cult band Moses. It was fitting then that Paul's first song was '100 Swans', his first solo song in Moses. 'Wintersun' followed the first track from his 'Wintertide' EP. It has a real 'Laurel Canyon' late 60's retro feel about it with catchy hooks and dream like melody. It would sit very happily on a CSNY album. 

With it's lullaby like melody the 'The Romantic' is the super title track from the Paul's 2011 'The Romantic album. For this one Paul was joined on stage by the very talented Anna on cello. Tackling a more serious and timely issue was 'Sumberland' written for a very close friend who took his own life. Paul said that 'International Men's Day' which sounded like a Richard Herring punchline was a very important event' Especially discussing on the subjects of mental heath and the problems with modern toxic masculinity. The album version of the song has a beautiful harp section by Tom Moth.

Paul then explained how after recording 'Sumberland', Florence from Florence & The Machine stole his harpist Tom. "I wouldn't have minded" said Paul "But I had to learn the 'bloody' ukulele!!". He cheekily included a section in the next song 'This Way For Fun' of Florence's 'You've Got The Love'.......adding the line "Yes....You've got the love........and you've got my harp player too!"

One of the lead tracks from Paul's highly acclaimed epic folk opera 'The Butcher' followed the lovely 'Satellites' where Paul was joined on vocals by Jack. The atmospheric and haunting duet with Esther on 'Ghosts Ships' is one of my favourites from Paul's 2011 'The Romantic' album. I love the beautiful operatic solo from Esther and the poignant last line "Just like ghost ships, we both refuse to die". Paul explained that Esther, who was in the super group The Medieval Baebes, shared the same management for a while. "She was the best one in the group so I pinched her". Paul joked "If it's not nailed down, I'll have it!" 

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Raevannan and Anna then joined Paul for a song from his excellent 2013 'A Chattering of Birds' album with the very special 'Skylark Above Me'. Paul then apologised and said that "I don't normally talk too much between songs......it all gets a bit panto". "Oh no it doesn't!" came the reply from the audience

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A glimpse into the future next as Paul performed four tracks from his forthcoming 2018 project 'The Loneliest Whale in The World" #TheWhaleProject. It was based on an story of a unidentified whale with a call at 52 Hertz, which is much higher and at a completely different frequency from any other known whale. So sadly no other whale can hear it and answer its call. It is now thought that the whale might be a very rare Blue Whale/Fin Whale hybrid or even deaf. The first song of the #Whale set was super 'Shadowboxing' followed by 'We All Sing The Same Song' with it's harmony singing intro. Paul said that it was inspired by child tourists all with same clothes, hats and backpacks moving around London like shoals of fish. This was followed by the lovely 'Silence Said The Whale' and finally the title track 'The Loneliest Whale in the World', written from the viewpoint of the 52 Hz whale.

As it was the Wintertide EP launch it was fittting that the last song of the main set was its title track. Paul's new single is based on the famous Christmas carol 'I saw three ships go sailing by...''  Paul described it as “an epic journey through the eyes of three captains and the ominous dangers that come with the seas.” Check out below the great new innovative 'Wintertide' video with Jack Harris, Esther Dee and Josienne Clarke guesting as the three captains.

For the encore, Paul returned with a heartfelt and reflective song about unrequited love 'Mama's Boy' with it's powerful refrain "Please don't turn away from me now".

It was another excellent evening in the the company of Paul and his very talented ensemble The Red Meat Orchestra, wonderfully supported by Jack and Robin and special guests Esther and Rae. A brilliant set of songs from Paul's outstanding musical career and a preview of the new music to come......I can't wait to hear the studio version of the next EP....I'm going to have a #whale of a time!

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