The Smokehouse in the heart of Ipswich was the venue for Charlie Law’s triumphant return to Suffolk after his rather unexpected departure to Bangkok and the southern hemisphere back in the summer of 2017.
Before the show he admitted to us that he was feeling nervous. He need not have been. In a room full of fellow musicians and friends he was… OK, maybe he was right to be nervous, this lot would let him away with nothing!
Sporting a somewhat more bohemian look, and considerably more hair that when we last saw him, Charlie’s skills as a songwriter and musician have been considerably enhanced by his travels. So too have his skills as an entertainer. We laughed, we sang (even when we weren’t supposed to!), we danced and were transfixed by the multiple costume changes – no, I am not making that up, there were costume changes!
At the core of this madcap entertainment are heartfelt lyrics which seem to flow naturally, yet I suspect are crafted and recomposed over weeks, if not months. One could say that Charlie’s guitar playing skills have been greatly enhanced by his new blue acrylic fingernails! “Acrylics” being the title of his new EP by the way, so that could just be marketing hype.
Amongst a very enjoyable set, one of what he called his cheesy numbers, struck a very loud chord with me as a non-native Suffolk resident. You either need to leave the county or, like me adopt it, to understand why “Suffolk Feels Like Home” leaves a lump in your throat.
Thank you, Charlie, it was a wonderful evening. In years to come when you are playing to a sold-out Chantry Park over an August Bank Holiday weekend, there will be people in the audience saying… “I saw him play The Smokehouse you know”.
Opening for Charlie was his good friend and tennis coach, Peter Hepworth. Peter has spent much of the last ten years promoting events and other people. Now he is concentrating on performing, song writing and, next month, will release his first ever single.
The change seems to have re-invigorated Peter. He is looking relaxed, happy and (dare I say it?) younger! He favours audience participation – not the cringeworthy sticking a mic under individual noses. No, it’s a follow my lead and when we all sing together it will be amazing, and it was… yeah, the beat goes on…
To fathers’, children can be inspirational, to songwriters a goldmine of emotions which must be released in song. “Pale Blue Blankets” is one such song. Peter wrote it for his daughter, and it is the single he is about to release on 26th April at The Longshed in Woodbridge.