A three-quarters filled Railway Inn witnessed a superb evening of Oxford/London inspired Americana at its finest. The evening began with a great set by Katy Rose Bennett (sister of Dreaming Spires’ Joe & Robin Bennett.) She treats us to a set full of strong songs, fuelled by some great guitar work. Highlights included the sing-along ‘Trees’ and the poignant ‘Jack & Ivy’ along with ‘Did You See’, which had this listener thinking of Sandy Denny meets Linda Thomson. There was also the heartfelt emotion of what it is to be a woman these days on the marvellous and thought provoking ‘(She Was) Just Walking Home’.
What more can be said about Danny George Wilson and his various guises, either as a solo artist, as part of Grand Drive, his jingly-jangly flirt with Bennett, Wilson & Poole and in tonight’s self titled show, to my mind an embodiment of Danny And The Champions Of The World. In a pre-set moment I tried to count how many times I had seen Danny in concert – I had to stop at fifteen!! Tonight was no different from any other. From start to finish they played a rousing set, peppered with songs from all of Danny’s varied incarnations.
From the opening ‘Lost Future’ to the set finale ‘Every Beat of My Heart’, Danny and the band had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They treated us to old favourites like ‘These Days’ and ‘Henry The Van’. There were a couple of songs from his acclaimed 2021 solo album, ‘Another Place’ – ‘Heaven For Hiding’ and ‘Lost Future’ along with nuggets from his Grand Drive era. Throughout, the band were magnificent with the driving beat of Steve Brookes’ drumming and Joe Bennett’s insistent bass rock solid while Paul Lush remains the most under-rated guitarist in the world! (my words), excelling himself this evening with some mind-blowing mandolin playing. Lastly, there was the new kid on the block, Henry Garratt on keyboards, swelling the sound. As Danny quips after most songs, “Everyone All Right?” The answer tonight was Most Certainly!!
Set List: LOST FUTURE, SINCERELY HOPING, LOVE & THE TRUTH, THESE DAYS, RIGHT PLACE, THE TRUEST KIND, RED TREE SONG, HENRY THE VAN, NOT FORGETTING, CAN YOU FEEL ME? HEAVEN FOR HIDING, WE GOT A LOT TO LEARN, JUKEBOX, EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART.
Pictures by Oliver Gray