Ian Siegal and Jimbo Mathus performing at The Lowdham Village Hall on Friday 20th May 2016.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Lowdham Village Hall, or as the locals prefer to call it, Lowdham Indoor Arena, is fast becoming a place to add to your list of gig venues that you shouldn’t miss, and last night was no exception as they entertained Ian Siegal and his friend and co-writer, Jimbo Mathus.

Siegal could well be the most accomplished musician you might possibly have never heard of. It has been said that if he had been performing and recording in the sixties his name would likely now resonate alongside such luminaries as Joe Cocker and Van Morrison. Given the awards that he has received, including seven times winner of the British Blues Award, that doesn’t seem such a bold claim.

His friendship with Jimbo Mathus goes back to 2013, when Mathus contributed banjo and mandolin to Siegal’s critically acclaimed album, The Picnic Sessions, and last night a packed Hall could clearly see the chemistry between them. These modern day troubadours shared vocal duties as they produced a bountiful and genial mix of British and American Blues.

Starting the evening with new track The Silver Spurs from their collaborative album Wayward Sons, the evening was so intimate that they could have been sitting in your front room. With amazing introductions to each song the first half saw the audience treated to gospel sounding Mary Don’t You Weep and classic Jesse James.

After a short break there was no let up as I Am The Train was followed by a brilliant version of Fulsome Prison Blues and Tallahatchie. Displaying stunning musicianship with a cover of Willie Nelson’s Crazy Old Soldier, they finished the main set with a tribute to the late Guy Clark, Merle Haggard and Prince with a storming I’ll Fly Away.

Back on for Howlin’ Wolf’s Ain’t Going Down That Dirt Road and an absolutely fabulous Dirty Old Town, this had been a night of blues at its very best.