And this Friday night was no different. Established country music star James House was promoting his new album Berwick Street whilst preceding House’s hour long set was founding Squeeze member Chris Difford and local singer Holly Rose Webber with her band.
James House moved to Nashville in 1988 and that influence shines through. The first five songs of the set were taken from the new album, the title track, It Hurts Me Too and In Your Life transferring particularly well from recorded medium to a live set. Miles from Love was the highlight through, a perfect demonstration of House’s vocal talents. Rarely has a ukulele been put to such effective use on a live stage and that continued through the second part of the set which covered House’s illustrious career of writing.
A Broken Wing is one of two House songs that suffered the ignominy of being nominated for Song of the Year without winning, something that was ruefully reflected upon from the stage. Other notable songs making up the set were Rod Stewart’s To Be With You and Ain’t That Lonely Yet by Dwight Yoakam. House closed a successful set with his own songs King of Nothing and This is Me This is You, both a triumph.
Chris Difford had a book to sell. If you were being observant you would have noticed that he mentioned the fact, unashamedly in between every single song. Difford was also keen to promote the Warehouse Recording Co venue, threatening big names in the future. His set was a mixture of his own penned compositions, comedic in nature at times, together with some of Squeeze’s biggest hits, notably Cool for Cats and Up the Junction which the sold out crowd pretty much took on, Difford providing the backing track with his acoustic guitar, quality abounded.
Earlier Holly Rose Webber and her band delivered what locally is familiar, a soulful set of tracks from her debut album Sparkle & Fade alongside taking famous cover versions and making them her own. On this night that honour was bestowed on Dragging My Heart originally by Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks and Keep on Rocking Me Baby by The Steve Miller Band. The chemistry between her band was apparent, particularly guitarist Rob Reynolds with Frank Mizen, father of Warehouse producer Dan, provided Seasick Steve style slide guitar, as well as being something of a doppelganger.
This was a bill brimming with talent and pedigree. If The Warehouse Recording Co continues in this rich vein of form then it can become one of the region’s most important musical assets. Spread the word, only whisper it.