On something of a whim on a glorious sunny May afternoon (only a week or so after hail and snow showers) I booked myself a train ticket to Cromer to catch Jess Morgan, The Winter Visitors, and Nobodaddy at the Cromer Social Club for Richard Penguin’s fringe festival to Folk on the Pier.
The social club is quite a spacious area and there were hints at possible future events … Cromer is the New Norwich seemed to be a quote from the evening. It will be interesting to see if anything develops as this makes a nice and certainly very doable music away day.
The weather was beautifully sunny and warm and this felt like the place to be. After a stroll around the town and a bag of chips I arrived at the social club shortly before Nobodaddy’s set. A duo whose recordings I love. Their last album is something they should be very proud of and I’ve seen them perform live several times but not nearly as often as I’d have wished due to the dreaded gig clashes we are lucky enough to face in Norwich. With Mike’s guide-dog Mac also on the stage they were perhaps technically a trio this afternoon. Mike and Adam’s songwriting, harmonies, storytelling and delivery are so touching, there are sad and sombre, reflective themes aplenty (no bad thing) as they admitted but the set is always ultimately uplifting because the songs are just so darn good and the subjects beautifully balanced by the gentle humour between songs.
I’ve had the good fortune to catch Winter Visitors a couple of times lately and picked up their album on the strength of the recent OST appearance. Again, the songs are just beautiful and full of local references, it makes me love Norfolk even more and that’s without even being away from the place, I imagine hearing this from afar would really pull at the heart strings and bring on a pang of homesickness. With piano, some bossa nova backing beats and some beautifully subtle background guitar and harmonies Laurie and Chad once again performed a genuinely lovely set. Wensum Song was my earworm on the final leg of my journey home.
Jess Morgan is another artist I find I never see as often as I would wish so I was delighted to be able to catch her tonight, headlining in a beautiful solo performance in which she included one of my favourites – Annie of Greyfriars. She had a sun-kissed glow and a summer gypsy look which suited her songs perfectly. Her playing was flawless and her voice and lyrics tugged at the soul, I was transfixed throughout and she totally charmed the audience.
Constantly busy she is about to embark on another tour, this time as The Jess Morgan Trio, alongside Jose and Noel, with a Norwich date at The Maddermarket on 29 May. It promises to be a real treat from this talented artist and lovely person, as were all the performers on a bill which was a real pleasure to be present at.
Many thanks to Chad Mason (who also did sound), Jess Morgan, Laurie Bennett, Mike and Adam of Nobodaddy, and Richard Penguin who, judging by the length of his hair, made me realise how long it must have been since I last saw him! 🙂
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