American Folk Singer/Songwriter
By Lisa Chapman
Yourthurrock prides itself on giving fresh talent in the Borough a chance to be aired on our website but occasionally find a special reason to travel a little further afield.
After patiently waiting two years for his return to the UK, we went along to the tiny Headgate Theatre in the beautiful ancient town of Colchester to an event hosted by Acoustic City to see American folksinger/songwriter Richard Shindell.
The evening began with two support acts, namely Pavlov’s Cat and Hannah Scott/John Cardin (see under “Entertainment”) who amused us with short explanations of their songs and breezed through their performances with ease and confidence, leaving me wondering exactly what it was about Richard Shindell that had left me wanting more two years before at yet another intimate “gig” at a folk club in Twickenham. Then he walked onto the stage, picked up his guitar, began to play in his own unique effortless style and I remembered!
This 48 year old native of New Jersey, who has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the past nine years, writes descriptive lyrics about life seen through various peoples’ eyes from all walks of life and eras although he does perform borrowed material and cover tracks too.
Our featured example below, “There Goes Mavis”, is a wonderful timeless story about a group of young boys building a sandcastle on Newcomb Hollow beach at Cape Cod who are distracted by the arrival on their “driftwood flagpole” by Mavis the fugitive orange canary.
Others, from a very long list, include “Balloon Man”, from the new album “Not Far Now”, about a popular local character in Buenos Aires and the jaunty “Get Up Clara” from the same album which tells the tale of a Roman Soldier and his mule.
Before each song (and there were many) Richard Shindell set the scene by explaining the reason for the idea behind the lyrics, cleverly playing and retuning his guitar at the same time so you didn’t even realise he had done it!
He is a very charismatic, comical and natural performer and spent a long time after the soiree chatting easily and amicably to his loyal fans and signing autographs. He seems, however, to find the whole fame issue a little bewildering and appeared to be wondering what all the fuss was about, refusing a filmed interview by Yourthurrock.
His current UK tour will finish on 19th June in Northern Ireland and when asked when he will return he intimated that it will be sooner rather than later as he has enjoyed this particular tour. I, for one, hope that it will be soon and that he will extend the length of time of his stay and hopefully add a venue or two in Thurrock although you cant help but get the impression that Richard Shindell will always be much more at home in a bar playing to a handful of people than on stage at the 02!