Phil Hare -> Troubadour -> Reviews
Phil I hope,won't mind me saying,does not wear his heart on his sleeve. He is a caring, funny, passionate man and a gifted musician. As a guitarist, he comes from a special tier. I introduced him by saying "If you have guitars prepared to burn them now." I was only being part flippant. He does stuff that at times borders on the magical. With one guitar only, and coaxing it in and out of different tunings as he goes. He weaves in harmonics as a standard part of his technique. He is the Guitarists' guitarist. Or one of them.
Besides his songs, he writes some eloquent and erudite pieces on certain Social Media platforms. He disparagingly calls them "rants" but they are far from that. Those of us who enjoy reading them know that they are full of clear thinking, a longing for commonsense and decency, and an anger about injustice and unfairness that at times borders on visionary. This plethora of emotions is reflected in some of his songwriting. By turns his own work is funny,witty,ironic and often carrying clever pieces of wordplay engineered to make the discerning listener think. Like "Potato Man," is a clever parody with many spud u like puns. On form, Phil is a master of the ad lib. Indeed,he thrives on it, and feeds off audience reaction to spontaneously tinker with, alter, edit,customise and amend his songs.
He did a very nice segue of his own song "Lady London" into a fine version of Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street." On those of us who have lived and loved in London, this was not lost. I am a confessed covers freak. I see no harm whatsoever on taking up with a song you love and putting your own stamp on it. I wish a few more performers could lift their eyes up from contemplation of their own navel and follow suit.
Some of the content could be a little too austere if Phil did not expertly break it up with golden moments of great humour. I requested "Every Man's a Hard Man Now," but I suspect he would have done it as his finale, anyway. It is such a great show closer. For a confessed Liverpudlian, now exiled in Cambridge, his delivery of Mockney is impeccable. He had the whole room,mostly full of Nuneaton's finest, roaring "Nahhhh!" instead of "now" ferociously back at him Danny Dyer/Peggy Mitchell style . Al Murray should co-opt Phil in as a warm up man on the strength of this number alone. It would compliment his chest thumping "Fa-a-a-a-mily," routine perfectly.
Phil Hare also has a fine voice. Deep and resonant, note perfect and with fine pitch. All this adds a power and a presence to his performance. He works hard on his material and he works hard on his performance. Not a moment of his act is wasted,and he drips sweat by the end of it. A first class technician, a master of his craft and an all round good egg. Wish he was my guitar teacher. I might pick the bloody thing up more often.
Geoff Veasey. Full review & photos here: macaweontour.blogspot.co.uk
A terrific performance last Sunday night (May 1st) from our very good friend Phil Hare! Phil delighted the audience at The Raven with two varied sets that mixed excellent selections from his new, critically-acclaimed,album 'The Twilight Tone' including,The Pound Man, The Day Thatcher Passed Away and Lady London, with a good range of his older songs (Everyone's a Hard Man Now, Potato Man, The Hedgefund Shuffle), some superbly interpreted O'Carolan instrumentals (Si Bheg Si Mhor/ Planxty Davis) and a show-stopping rendition of Simon Jeffes' 'Music For A Found Harmonium', that reminded us that he really is one of the finest guitarists in the land! The signature dry sense of humour was much to the fore and it has to be said that Phil seemed very much at ease back on his former 'home patch'. A lovely, warm, intimate evening of music from one of the current folk scene's most accomplished performers! The curry afterwards at the ever-wonderful 'Gate of India' in City Rd. Was pretty damn good too! Slainte,
Quintus O' Baggins.
I think it's fair to say that Phil Hare was amazing tonight at Guernsey Folk Club. Wonderful guitar playing and great singing and he made it look so easy, even though it obviously wasn't. On top of that, On The Wagon played a superb support set. Oh yes!
IT IS in the nature of folk clubs that almost any kind of act can precede the main attraction. Phil Hare would not have been expecting to follow Django Reinhardt's grand-nephew, guitarist Lulo Reinhardt's extravagantly accomplished new band, who just happened to be in town and fancied a play.
A lesser character might have tossed a towel onstage and repaired to the bar but Hare has the personality to roll with such a punch and the acoustic guitar chops to stand up for himself. A bluff Liverpudlian who now lives on the Cambridgeshire flatlands, Hare comes from the line of fingerpickers that schooled themselves on Davy Graham and Bert Jansch's 1960s experiments with tunings and enquiries into jazz.
Like a number of those who devoted much time to developing a flowing, rolling six string technique, his voice can be an acquired taste but he compensates for any deficiencies with entertaining repartee and a repertoire that follows Graham's Folk, Blues and Beyond train of thought.
His own barrelhouse piano-styled Potato Man segued easily into Thelonious Monk's Blue Monk, uilleann pipes king Leo Rowsome's The West Wind air found a natural extension in the Britpop of Keane's Somewhere Only We Know, and his mirthfully unforgiving Hedge Fund Shuffle referenced Graham himself before splicing together Mason Williams, George Harrison, Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin.
Even Mrs Mills' influence was acknowledged, in Everyone's a Hard Man Now's ragtime-music hall examination of today's aggressive society, and I particularly liked Hare's self-deprecating tale of a middle aged guitar picker posting his latest achievement on YouTube and within seconds being regaled with praise – for his Tennessee hunting hat.
Rob Adams - Edinburgh Herald.