A Voice of a Generation, Calum McColl and Peggy Seeger are in town!

Calum McColl & Peggy Seeger

Walker Theatre

Theatre Severn

14/ July/2022

Well this was a long awaited concert due two years ago, it now finally came: Calum McColl and Peggy Seeger with their own brand of music and a hand full of songs to share with the audience. An audience  that had waited for so long to see this Folk icon in the flesh and listen to her songs and maybe even hear how much like his father Calum McColl is.  His Father being the late great Ewan McColl.

This was folk royalty indeed, Brother and Mother to the tragically lost Kirsty McColl and Wife and Son of the great Salford songwriter, Ewan McColl.

Famed for their agit-prop protest kind of style back in the sixties, Peggy was seen as an activist, and it was a time for change. Bob Dylan had spoken, and the times had certainly changed. Then came the wave of protest singers. Led by the great Pete Seeger in America, the whole movement of protest through music was revealed. It had gone on for centuries, but the Seegers and McColl arrived at exactly the right time and through their work in bringing audiences together for protest, they made such wonderful political points. It was bristling with atmosphere back then. So, they rebel roused and became the deterrent to apathy. Activists, get it done. The time was right for that.

 Peggy still hasn’t left her feminism behind and some of her comments creaked as a lot of the issues that concerned her have now been or are being addressed. Consequently, some songs and comments felt a little anachronistic and many didn’t want to be reminded of such terrible times. The Eighties, Thatcherism, Greenham Common, Peggy spoke of them all and we all realised that maybe the day of the protest song has waned?

Boasting a fine plethora of musical instruments ranging from, Banjo, Long Necked Banjo, Guitars and of course Peggy’s signature instrument, the autoharp. They also used a keyboard which provided fine atmospherics.

As for voices, Peggy sounded great she seems to have grown into her voice at last! Did I tell you she was 87? I forgot to tell you because it was overall an unbelievable fact of the evening the star was 87!  Of course, that brought experience and knowledge and it was nice to share that with her. Calum too is a fine singer and instrumentalist and led a few of the songs. They work well together and its obvious to the audience they enjoy each other’s company massively and that really does reflect in their performance.

Material? For this reviewer this is where things went slightly awry. One couldn’t identify with some of the subjects and some songs were just uninspiring. It is a shame to say that but apart from Peggy references to feminism there was no protest songs at all and that surprised me. The material sadly lacked a little and some of the songs are just songs for the sake of being songs. They didn’t have a lot to say. I knew of the political force that had been and I felt a little nostalgic for that time when the young took control of their life and destiny backed by the Seegers, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Donavan and Dylan too, such a wealth of talent and such a force for change. The teeth that snarled are missing now from the songs which were nice, but nice is sometimes not quite enough.

For this reviewer this gig might have been more; it had the potential. But for the true die hard Seeger fans; they thrilled the crowd and the ovation they received at the end was proof that the audience on the whole had been delighted. The last date of a 43-date tour, they can at last put their feet up, it was an honour for all folkies they chose Shrewsbury to finish on.

This is a Three Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

 

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

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