Maverick musician helps lift Festival to new heights

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Every live music fan knows when it's happened — that moment when musicians hit such sublime heights that everyone there will remember and be proud to say: "I was there." It happened last night as Heavy Weather, with guest American vocalist/guitarist Chris Cook, played to a packed Shroppie Fly. The 'moment' was an awesome rendition of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps, with Chris and Jim Kirkpatrick's soaring guitars playing off each other to perfection, driven on by superb bass, drums and keyboards. At the end of a memorable evening's music, a visitor was heard to say to his friends: "I've heard great pub bands, I've heard crap ones. But that was the best ever!"

Chris Cook, who plays regularly with the Mavericks of Dance The Night Away fame as well as enjoying a successful solo career, was heading from home in North Carolina to play a series of gigs in Denmark — but just wanted to play the Audlem Festival on the way. He'd met Jim Kirkpatrick when they played together at Key West's famous Hogs Breath a year or so ago. Chris plays the Florida venue regularly and returns there straight after his Danish tour. His latest album, Small Town Gone is a beauty and well worth searching out or buying from Chris — he'll be playing again on Monday night at the Shroppie.

There was great music throughout the village yesterday from Blues Alley, the Methodist church, the Public Hall — where the younger bands put on a very special gig — to all the pubs. And there's much, much more to come today and tomorrow.


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