With Thom Morecroft launching his latest EP at the Nordic Church, Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald settled into a pew for an evening of acoustic folk wonderment.
Liverpool’s acoustic and folk scene continues to go from strength to strength, and never is that more evident than on nights like this. The plethora of acoustic and open mic nights the city hosts have given rise to a scene that brings together a diverse association of players, singers and serial collaborators. The streets are paved with troubadours, truly.
Thom Morecroft’s name is synonymous with this circuit. Since he settled in his adopted home town, he’s made a name for himself with his sweet folk leanings, by taking each and every opportunity to grow and develop his craft, driven by the simple and honest motivation of wanting people to hear his work, and nothing more. His new, crowd-funded EP, Hand Me Down got an outing in the stunning surroundings of the beautiful Scandinavian Church, where, in collaboration with Mellowtone, he put together an impressive and varied evening which more than highlighted the diversity of this performer, and importantly, this scene.
A warm welcome from pews full of his friends, followers and family members greeted him as he rounded the night off with a collection of his sweet and melodious folk soul. With a voice that can bounce from deftly intricate melody to raising God’s own roof in the blink of an eye, its as natural and unforced as it is impressive. He has a way with a simple melody that make songs like What Are The Chances so instant, so immediate. There’s a real casual ease to these songs too, songs like the blues tinged Daisy and Coming Up For Air, again echoing John Martyn, displaying a true naturality to much of Morecroft‘s writing.
Pride Hill finds him at his most comfortably enchanting, simple tales, told well. He has a deft way of picking the right people to collaborate with. As well as Elle Schillereff, who’s voice is so ideally suited to his own, there’s a duet with Dan Astles on Tip Toes. Both voices sitting in and around each other, and filling the vaulted space of this beautiful venue. Given the depth and breadth of support from this crowd, and those supporters who helped get the EP released, is surely can’t be long until there’s a much wider audience for the work of this accomplished performer. Brilliant. Absolutely so.
Hannah Kewn opened the evening with a short set of sparse and understated songs, as much about the space created in the sound, as anything else. Her clipped, whispered tones, and the shy, nervous energy of her breathy vocals fitted well in the acoustics of this venue. At times though, we wondered how the sparsity of the sound would translate to other venue settings, and whether that would prove to be limiting. There are worthy songs here, such as Heatwave, and the set closer, Sort Of – both of which gave a hint that Kewn‘s songs and particularly the spatial arrangements involved, would certainly make for an interesting studio proposition.
One of the troubles with having a particular circuit, or scene populated by so many willing and able performers, is that all too often, greatness can slip by largely unnoticed for far too long. Charlie McKeon is an incredible talent. A truly gifted and intricate guitarist (reminiscent of Bryan Maclean, Nick Drake and John Martyn) and the most perfect of folk voices, he picks up on the blues, flamenco, and at time Elizabethan sounding techniques, adds a little Laurel Canyon sunshine, and with a gentle humour introduces contemporary themes, in a similar fashion to that of multi award winning folk singer Chris Wood. He closed his set with Irish folk song, The Old Triangle, and it became clear where his early influences stem from. A true folk wizard in the making, here. Another unapologetically pleasant night listening to beautiful music in this most special venue. More, please. Much more.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Saleh