NICK HARPER: review-Isaac Grinsdale

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NICK HARPER: 58 FORDWYCH ROAD TOUR

Seeing Nick Harper live is always an inspirational experience. Having seen him perform live a dozen times or more, I can honestly say each performance is unforgettable and unique.  

Recently, I had the pleasure of supporting him one night on his latest tour. This took me to the Roots Music Club on Friday the 18th of October (2019). After I had played my opening set I was ready to sit down and delve into my next Nick Harper experience… The 58 Fordwych Road Show. 

This set was very unusual for Nick Harper because most of his set was made up of other people’s songs. It was a tribute to the artists he had met living at his childhood home and this was the concept behind his new tour: 58 Fordwych Road Road Show

The on-stage setting recreated a living room like environment in Nick’s childhood home. A place he came to meet many folk singer-songwriters due to his father’s impact on the folk scene at the time. The first set was made up of covers as a tribute to these seminal performers and to his father, Roy Harper. This consisted of songs from artists including: Bert Yanch, John Redborne, Martin Carthy, Sandy Denny and his Father, Roy Harper, amoughts others.  (There was also a cover of a Davey Graham song who apparently invented guitar tuning DADGAD during his time in Morocco.)

For me, Nick’s performance of Sanny Denny’s ‘How My Love Grows’ and Roy Harpers ‘My Friend’ we’re the highlights of Nick’s first set. Both poignant songs in their own right: ‘How My Love Grows’ being a song of love and loss, and Roy Harper’s ‘My Friend’ a song about learning of a dear friend who was leaving without having a chance to say goodbye. 

Nick spoke fondly throughout of how these artists were shaping folk music at the time and how they still influence music today. 

Amazingly Nick admitted some of these songs ‘were hard to play’. Any nick Harper fan is well aware of his skills on a guitar, so to say he found some of these hard to play demonstrates their talent. 

This all made up the first 45 minutes of the set at the Roots. There was a short break and Nick was back with his other guitar in hand playing a series of his own classics. These included ‘The Verse That Time Forgot’, ‘The Juicy Fruit Girl’ and ‘Treasure Island’. All of which Nick Harper’s fans have come to know and love. He also performed a new song called ‘Lies! Lies! Lies!’ a lyrically ferocious attack at the disingenuous political campaigning of the Pre-Brexit referendum. 

The entire night was packed full of laugh out loud anecdotes from Nick and plenty of introductory context into the songs he played.  

The extra layer I experienced in the first half, learning more about his past and his influences, made this night one of my favorite Nick Harper gigs.  A true pleasure to witness. 

My name is Isaac Grindsale and I was the support act that night.  For more info simply visit https://www.isaacgrinsdale.com

And for more info on the man himelf visit: https://www.harperspace.com

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