Sunday 24th February 2013
He's a story-teller, a singer, and a musician. Our friends at Tales at the Watermill wanted him for his stories; while the Poppy Folk Club wanted him for his songs, so we combined forces and booked what turned out to be a most unforgettable night of spellbinding stories blending seamlessly into songs and accompanied by beautiful harp playing.
Nick Hennessey was new to me - I didn't know what to expect. I soon saw what all the fuss was about - he has a style of story-telling that draws you in totally, leading you along so comfortably that you hardly notice that the story has now become a song. Nick's singing voice is strong but smooth and relaxing, and he showed it off to great effect on several showpiece songs such as his first-half finisher 'The first Time Ever I Saw Your Face'; and a stunning self-penned song 'Strangers To Ourselves'. Nick's main instrument is the harp, but he also played a couple of excellent whistle tunes (which, almost inevitably, led into another story - a brilliant quick-fire tale of a musician's trickery and a greedy but stupid king). The audience cheered for more, and were treated to another harp tune leading into the song 'Annachie Gordon'. Nick had treated us to a truly outstanding performance, the likes of which I have never previously had the pleasure of seeing.
Thanks should also go to Dave Walters and Sheila Bentham who started off the two 'halves' with a song and a story respectively.
After the concert we passed a very pleasant hour or so with songs and stories from those who stayed the extra mile. Many thanks to Jill, Terry, Brian Franks, Sophia, John Bentham, Milli Galgut, Dave Walters and Phil & Julie for their songs and stories, and to folk luminaries Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham for their songs and tunes.