By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Wales
Live Review: Dom Martin -Goin’ Up The Country Blues Club -Worthenbury Village Hall , Wales -Friday 23rd March 2023
The Goin’ Up The Country Blues Club is based in the Wrexham area of North Wales and operates from a range of different venues. Tonight we are in the intimate setting of Worthenbury Village Hall where a 100 diehard blues fans are packed in to see the acclaimed and multi award winning Belfast Bluesman Dom Martin who is currently touring the U.K. with his solo acoustic show.
There had been doubt about whether this gig would go ahead. The two preceding shows had been postponed due to Dom being unwell and as he takes to the stage its apparent that he is still under the weather. But as he explains with a smile and a croak in his voice, there is no place that he would “rather be than in this room” which draws a large cheer from the audience. He refers to his throaty voice and doubts about whether the gig should have gone ahead throughout the evening, but there is no need. His performance is well received, despite the vocal limitations, and the audience is right behind him from beginning to end.
Dom’s stage area is a small platform at the front of the hall with enough room for a seat, his guitars and peddle-board along with his medicine and alcohol-free drink! A backdrop of a vintage microphone hangs behind him whist the spotlight focuses on his guitar.
Dom Martin has an engaging stage presence and a lively rapport with the audience. There is banter with the crowd throughout. On the more serious side he talks candidly between songs about his upbringing in Belfast, his battle with drugs (he has been clean for eight years) and life on the road. His conversational style is perfectly suited to the close-up intimacy of the village hall.
Martin has established himself at the forefront of modern blues guitarists and his dynamic skills are evident tonight as he delivers an up-close masterclass of his unique technique. His command of the guitar is best described as mesmerising.
The setlist tonight features a well-blended mix of self-penned songs and covers from artists who have inspired him namely Rory Gallagher/ Taste, Ralph McTell and John Martyn. In the first part of his set his own compositions include a haunting “Easy Way Out” that dovetails into an engaging “Echoes”.
During the interval Dom consumes copious amounts of throat soothing honey, supplied by a member of the audience who went home to get it for him .
He starts the second half of his set with an absorbing “Hell For You” after which he tells the audience about a guy from Florida who, on hearing Dom’s playing, offered to build a guitar for him. Dom requested a model styled on Rory Gallagher’s “Stratocaster, if it had been a Telecaster”, that , after a considerable amount of work was duly supplied. He goes on to switch to said guitar to play a captivating version of Rory’s “Should’ve Learnt My Lesson” which is followed by another Gallagher inspired song, “Bankers Blues” .
At the end of the main set the audience responds with a standing ovation knowing they had witnessed a truly inspired set from an artist who, against all the odds, produced a performance that will live long in the memory.
A huge thanks to Goin’ Up The Country Blues Club for enabling this evening. There is a special vibe about this set-up that is warm and welcoming. You can get more details about the club here: http://www.hookerblues.co.uk/index.html
Dom’s Tour Continues:
27/3 Night & Day Cafe – Manchester
28/3 Nice N Sleazy – Glasgow
30/3 Cluny 2 – Newcastle
31/3 Bowness Bay Blues Festival
1/4 Leeds Blues Club The Cross Keys
3/4 Temperance – Leamington Spa
‘4/4 Tuesday Night Music Club – Coulsdon
5/4 Water Rats – London
6/4 The Met Lounge – Peterborough
7/4 Diseworth Blues – Leics