Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017

It’s a big room for the ‘bard from Bedford’, resplendent in a suitably showbiz spangling top. Danni Nichol is comfortable in a room that houses both the UK snooker championships and Amy MacDonald in a few weeks.  Bluesy, Gospelly, there is a wonderful grace to her voice and her tales of Nashville, along with Beautifully Broken from Mockingbird Lane, and some spontaneous sing-a-longs proves her to be the perfect warm-up and it can’t be long before she plays places like this in her own right.

A tough looking band, some great graphic back drops, especially on the songs from his recent Americana chart topping album of mines in Cornwall and ‘Sir’ Shakin’ Stevens is amongst us.  It’s a very rocked up soul filled first set majoring on that return to form latest album.  Of course for a man that has had so many hit records there are a few of the chart pleasers, pretty much re-worked (Green Door, This Ole’ House) but it’s really a mix of two things tonight with Shakey’s rockabilly roots on display on songs like Hotdog.  He’s still playing with The Sunsets’ original drummer and winding up an immense career.

It is a little melancholy, as is the album. It does feel like a man tying up loose ends; songs about his Grandmother, a political look at the men of the 1st world war and the wonderful apocalyptic Last Man Alive feel like a circle being closed.  The stats of his career are staggering, but this feels like a last hurrah, a truly national treasure saying goodbye. He’s still got that Shakey leg and when he throws it 3-4 times the crowd go wild  but for this Titan, the man who brought rockabilly to the masses to Thatcher’s shoulder padded Britain, it feels as if he’s signing off.  Thanks Shakey, yes we love you truly, to be, to be our very own.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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