Blues and folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mick Hartwell has been pretty busy on the local music scene in recent years with bands such as Exiles, Rockpool Soup, Drowning the Miller and MC2 which is not so easy to witness in the UK, given that the majority now take place in Greece.
He played an interesting and varied set at the Gecko on Friday, which, now under new management, is becoming an increasingly popular bar and bistro and a fine music venue, contained both his own songs and cover versions.
Mick knows a good song when he hears it, and rather than just play it safe and perform familiar and predictable covers, he takes some less well known numbers and gives us his own unique guitar and vocal arrangements of them.
Mick began with a lovely version of Richard Thompson’s I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, before something completely different in the form of a Pink Martini song called Lily. Nick Cave’s The Ship Song followed, before Eric Clapton, John Martyn and Leonard Cohen numbers were performed, along with some of Mick’s own material, which I shall come to later.
After a short interval, and an opening instrumental, we were treated to some more of Mick’s own songs plus Ready for the Storm written by Dougie MacLean and covers of songs by Kansas and Free, the latter one of Mick’s favourite bands. The evening ended on an uplifting note with Wagon Wheel, a popular song by Old Crow Medicine Show but which has part of its origins in an unfinished sketch by Bob Dylan.
Review by Terry Blackman.