Saltburn by the Sea, a freshly served exotic drink sipped inside the Guns Bar. Outside, through the window we see a guitar case, a fedora hat, they pass unnoticed by all. Nearly.
Not quite. Sean Taylor, a true troubadour, is here for tonight's gig at the Saltburn Blues Club.
Step back. Yesterday morning, it was London City Airport, then Paris, a gig, today a jet to Newcastle, a train to Saltburn you could forgive tiredness. You can admire the life. Living the dream. Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, the poetry stream flows. One more for the road. And we are caught by the chorus "Singing Yeah, Yeah, Yeah".
We are at the Earthbeat Centre, a converted school, it's a knowledgeable and respectful crowd, Sean's fourth return to a town ranked by The Sunday Times as one of the best places to live.
It's two sets, each of an hour, no support, just one man, a voice that whispers and shouts, that caresses like lovers do, that purveys prose, a string of consciousness that espouses fairness and understanding. An expressive voice backed by a Gibson built for the blues and so dextrously played that watching the fingers give no clues. An occasional harmonica adds balance to the mix.
Time flies by, no set list, tracks from the new album "Flood & Burn" meld with more familiar tracks. Covers too, "Heartbreak Hotel" a desolation of despair, "Sixteen Tons" a testimony to times when men were owned by the company. We sing along as we do to Sean's own material such as "Troubadour".
Songs that come fast and quick, the between song banter short, good natured, wicked in a way you don't quite believe, you smile back. Chat that never detracts, it adds.
A token one love song, "contractual" he says with a wink before beginning "Perfect Candlelight" which was the first track I ever heard back in 2011 from his "Walk With Me" album.
Stripped down to the basics there's a power in the music that's impossible to deny, it's heartfelt, it's passion personified, you see the performer give his all. You cannot fail to be moved.
Requests accepted "Stand Up" a social commentary song "People of the world we have to unite. For the flame of love we have to ignite. Wipe away the poverty, wipe away the greed. I'd rather die on my feet than live here on my knees. The time has come, the choice is here. Open up your arms you got nothing to fear".
And finally, Sean's take on "We'll never walk alone".
We leave with a smile, we leave feeling better than when we arrived.
Two hours, one great night, you wonder who'll be the lucky ones tomorrow.
That's what a troubadour can do for you. That's Sean Taylor.
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
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