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Blair Dunlop at Robin 2, Bilston

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
New album showcased on nationwide tour
Folk Music fans are promised plenty of new songs when singer-songwriter Blair Dunlop performs on his latest UK tour. The 26-year-old son of Folk stalwart Ashley Hutchings of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band fame will showcase his latest album, Notes From An Island, on the tour that visits Robin 2 in Bilston on October 2.

''Notes From An Island should translate really well to a live show," says Blair, who has been compared to the likes of Jackson Browne, Richard Thompson and Ralph McTell. ''With every record I'm getting closer to what I want to achieve and I think this is comfortably my best album to date."

Blair Dunlop, Robin 2 Bilston, Notes From An Island, Ed Harcourt, Ashley Hutchings

A natural storyteller and gifted guitarist, Blair will be joined on stage by long-term bandmates Fred Claridge and Jacob Stoney. The set will also feature tracks from his previous three albums, Gilded, House Of Jacks and debut, Blight And Blossom, which won Blair the coveted Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Notes From An Island opens with Spices From The East, superficially a lovely song about a young couple cooking a meal together, but there's a sub-text for those who look closer. Blair explains: "There's references to our colonial past, and how our control of the sea networks to the east mean that we can today go down to the supermarket and enjoy those spices from the east, as a result of violence.''

Blair Dunlop, Robin 2 Bilston, Notes From An Island, Ed Harcourt, Ashley Hutchings

Another track, Feng Shui, he describes as "my favourite sonically" and the first single, Sweet On You, is "a happy medium between commerciality and authenticity. It's the first single I've done that is 100 per cent me. It has humour, references to the music I grew up loving, and it gives me a bit of a wry smile."

Asked what hopes he has for his fourth album, he says: "Commercial success and money have never been my prime motivations but, if it goes platinum, I really won't mind. I'm kinda buzzin', the initial reaction has been so amazing."

Fellow performer and producer of Notes From An Island, Ed Harcourt, sums up Blair's appeal: ''He is a true artist in his prime, as is wholly evident on this beautiful record. He has it all; a wry turn of phrase in his words, barbed and moving within a second, seriously demonic guitar skills that belie his youthful looks and a voice like some sort of melancholy angel. But most of all you will hear just great songs. It's been my honour to help him realise these sonic diamonds; I believe the world is his for the plundering!''

Blair Dunlop, Robin 2 Bilston, Notes From An Island, Ed Harcourt, Ashley Hutchings

Blair Dunlop Notes From An Island Tour 2018 dates:

September 27: Kardomah94, Hull;
September 28: Malt N Music, Moulton;
October 2: Robin2, Bilston;
October 3: Greystones, Sheffield ;
October 4: Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis;
October 5: Black Market VIP, Hastings;
October 6: Courthouse, Otley;
October 7: Acapela Studio, Cardiff;
October 11: Hug & Pint, Glasgow;
October 12: The Vault, Hexham;
October 13: St Cuthbert's House, Seahouses;
October 16: Flowerpot, Derby;
October 17: The Railway Inn, Winchester
October 18: Cecil Sharp House, London;
October 19: Manchester Folk Festival;
October 20: Musicport Festival, Chester;
October 21: Lichfield Folk Festival;
October 27: The Lock Keeper, Chester;
October 28: Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury.
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Why? New tunes from up and coming singer
When: Touring from September 27, 2018; playing Robin 2 on October 2
Phone: 01902 401211
Where: Robin 2, Bilston, and touring
Cost: Advance tickets 12; On the door 14
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