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Tim van Eyken, The Goose Is Out, DHFC, East Dulwich, January 8th 2010

January 12, 2010

This was my first gig of 2010 (if you exclude seeing in the New Year to the merry sounds of Bellowhead at the Royal Festival Hall) and the freezing weather did its best to stymie us. We teetered on the icy pavements round to our local folk club, The Goose Is Out, in the bar of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club (serving London Pride and Old Scrooge). There was a good turn-out for Tim van Eyken, the talented melodeon- and guitar-playing folk singer, and he didn’t disappoint.

Tim was something of a wunderkind in the traditional folk world, having won the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 1998, but I like his fresh take on old songs, particularly when he plays with his band. His version of John Barleycorn is one of my favourites – here’s a video of it at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in 2008:

It can be difficult for an artist to play a long solo set without sounding samey, but the combination of melodeon, guitar and a cappella gave Tim a variety that kept the audience on his side – and The Goose Is Out crowd can sometimes be rather stuffy in their adherence to tradition and their distrust of novelty.

Annie pointed out that he has quite an actorly approach to stage presence, which is probably amplified by having spent a long while as the ‘Song Man’ in the acclaimed play War Horse at the National Theatre.

Perhaps there could have been more punch to some of the songs but Tim’s a tremendous talent and a fine entertainer.

Tim's album Stiffs Lovers Holymen Thieves

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