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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Gigs – Gabriel Minnikin – International Songwriters Circle, Manchester

Star rating – 9/10

It’s not every day you get invited into a musician’s home for an International Songwriters Circle, so when Gabriel Minnikin asked me to his house for a special evening I was intrigued.  And as Minnikin was a great support act at the recent Justin Townes Earle gig as the Academy, this was too good to miss. The Canadian songwriter has made Manchester his home for the past eight years, and a more charming and laid back host you would struggle to find.

The idea of opening his home up to a small group of invited friends and guests, to help to spread the word about his and his friends’ music, and to sell a few CDs along the way, is a really innovative one. His music is just how I like it, country fused ballads and delicate guitar, with a little bluegrass thrown in for good measure. His voice is deep and poetic, and it sounded even better in such intimate surroundings. His latest album Parakeets with Parasols is a real gem. And you can try out his music before you buy it at:

As well as his own brand of country folk songs, there were beautiful, sensitive numbers from Newcastle based Gem Andrews:

and some good songs from a very jetlagged A.K.A Belle – full marks to her for devotion to the evening.

But the evening’s real revelation for me was the extraordinary, powerful, and haunting voice of Leeds based Dan Beesley. I felt like I was listening to an early Elvis, or even a growling Leadbelly. Dan has talent in bucket loads, and got us all going with a rousing rendition of Down by the Riverside towards the end of the evening. I am sure he is destined for great things – if there is any justice in this world he is anyway.

Gabriel Minnikin comes across as a generous, warm, and extremely creative person and talented songwriter. He deserves to be very successful, although not so successful I hope that he stops holding his house gigs for appreciative guests like me to enjoy.

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