Tom McRae – Live at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford ****

 

Tom McRae – Matt Thorpe Photography

Every word counts with Tom McRae, lyrically perfect as befits someone who has delivered a TED talk on songwriting.

The son of two Church of England vicars, he sang in the church choir as a boy. McRae said he wanted to take a photo of this audience to “show my parents what a full church looks like”.

McRae played to a packed venue, mainly of adoring fans, for his last concert in the UK this year. Fans had come from as far as Ireland and Holland to see his renowned songwriting talents.

Beginning a marathon set with Show Them All from his latest LP, McRae’s haunting and plaintive vocals were enhanced by the venue’s acoustics.

McRae is aware of the dedication of his audience which gives him the freedom to perform with confidence so even a minor keyboard malfunction didn’t phase him.

The peaceful and relaxing Mend your Heart saw him use a timpani drum stick to both drum and play his guitar. A clever use of looping technology added to the atmosphere.

Expecting The Rain, Let Me Grown Old With You and Hoping Against Hope from his Did I Sleep And Miss The Border album were highlights of this memorable show.

For Bloodless, McRae unplugged his guitar, walked away from the microphone and led a gentle crowd singalong. He returned for an encore of One Mississippi and The Boy With The Bubblegum, inviting the audience from their seats to congregate at the front. Seemingly not wanting to finish he eventually left after enthralling his audience for two hours.

Tom McRae – Matt Thorpe Photography
Tom McRae – Matt Thorpe Photography

Words by Chaz Brooks

Live Photos by Matt Thorpe Photography

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