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Daniel Champagne

Venue: The Roots Room
Town: Sligo
Date: 9/5/16

The morning of the gig, I went online to see what I could of Daniel Champagne's music, and after some time had elapsed, had to call my wife to help to bring my jaw back offa the floor. A previously vague promise to attend had firmed up to something much more definitive, and by the time myself and the elder offspring arrived at the venue, we were glad that we had just a little advance warning of the crowd. It was jammers.

Daniel -who is managed by Tommy Emmanuel's team- arrived the previous day for a short Irish trip, and from the off, this son of Australia delivered, and then some, on what we already knew of him and his music. He moves like a cross between a demented Morris dancer and the late Joe Cocker in his Grease Band days, using slap and tap techniques to differentiate his music from the array of singer-songwriters vying for our attention, tuning while he sings, and using the body of his instrument as extra percussion. And the songs! Well, he is still a young man, so they are about emotional growth, displacement of/from family, the positive experience of travel, and much more.

He opened his set with an unannounced blues, in which all his technical mastery was put on show, and followed it up with a song so new, it had no title. A rigours of the road piece, it was followed by " The Nightingale", and if the fear of failure has been more effectively, achingly articulated, then someone please tell me the name of that song, so I can have a listen. Shortly after this point, note taking by candlelight became a tad redundant, but what I can say is that I have rarely heard such an impassioned performance, and such strong material from one man and a guitar. Thanks to Nigel Martyn and Colin Gillen for bringing us music of such a high calibre yet again. Mesmerising stuff!

Oliver P Sweeney

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