The 50 year-plus peregrinations of Ashley Hutchings, the landlord of modern British folk music, have now delivered him to a particularly sweet spot.
It’s the one in which he’s on stage flanked by the able talents of vocalist-instrumentalists Ruth Angell and Becky Mills, for a recent series of music and monologue. In it, he plays music from his matchless career, interspersed with readings of lyrics, poems and sleeve notes from the recently revised volume Words, Words, Words.
Those were, as he wrote therein, the product of “a forty-year period of being in love with words.” This particular gig has been rapidly afforded posterity, recorded in the unostentatious milieu of the well-established Acoustic Roots gathering at Wigan Parish Church, only in February.
The songs, and his accompanying thoughts, meander as gently as a babbling brook, from the rites-of-passage tale of Welcome To The World to notes from what he considers his finest work, By Gloucester Docks I Sat Down And Wept. The recording is resolutely live and unadorned, and his engaging voice brings vivid life to tales and tunes that have just the right balance of weight and whimsy.