16 January 2017
Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
At 79 years old, Tom Paxton has been writing and recording music for more than 50 years and with the imminent release of his next album, “Boat in the Water”, is touring the UK with friends and Grammy Award winners, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer.
I’ve known about Tom Paxton all my life as my dad had a few of his earlier albums but other than these few tracks I’m not all that familiar with his music but we do enjoy folk music so we were looking forward to seeing Tom at The Lowry, Salford.
With so many years on the stage between them it is no wonder that the performance was so effortless. Tom and Cathy knew exactly how to interact with the audience with a perfect balance of wit, memories and even some politics thrown in for good measure!
It really was a pleasure watching and listening to such talented musicians, not knowing the songs gave us the opportunity to sit and really listen to the words. Folk music songs often tell a tale and Tom introduced many of the tracks with a story explaining how the song was written and why. Tom talked about his early years as a folk singer in New York playing in the Gaslight Club and meeting folk legend Pete Seeger. Especially poignant was the song he wrote in 1963 as an engagement gift for his wife-to-be.
Tom played his guitar for most of the tracks with Cathy accompanying on banjo and guitar. Marcy, a very talented musician played the mandolin, resonator guitar and cello banjo. We have never heard a cello banjo before and were very impressed with the sound which had an amazingly deep pitch. Marcy and Cathy had lovely voices which together sounded amazing with some beautiful harmonies.
The night was a mix of old and new tracks including his first success, “Ramblin’ Boy” and more recent work from his new album. As you would expect from a folk singer there were silly songs, romantic tales as well as a hint of nostalgia.
Everybody seemed to be having a great night and with Tom’s encouragement joined in with many of the songs. “Bottle of Wine” and “Battle of the Sexes” seemed to be favourites with the audience, there was a great atmosphere with lots of toe tapping going on. Tom obviously has a big following as the theatre was almost full. We had a really good night so if you like folk music you really should find time to see Tom this January whilst he is on his UK tour, you be won’t be disappointed.
Tom Paxton is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.tompaxton.com.
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000