Scott Matthews – Restless Lullabies Tour Part 2
West Malvern Social Club, West Malvern, Worcestershire
Friday 20th October 2023
I sat consciously unfamiliar with Scott Matthews previous work, feeling I was perhaps the only member of the audience who was not yet an avid fan. Surrounded by anticipated chatter and tales of past gigs, his reputation as an exceptional entertainer seemed as loud as his following for his music.
The loyalty and support for the artist is impressive and I was pleased that although he had previously escaped my radar, I had an opportunity to experience a performance first hand and on my doorstep.
West Malvern Social Club was the first gig of his tour, a prestigious name to be secured by local promoter Will Jones; a pre booked sell out, it was Scott Matthews first return to Malvern since opening for Robert Plant at Malvern Theatre in July 2021.
There is something haunting in his voice, perhaps an element akin to legends such as Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley, an ability to serenade and carry the audience, hitting highs as he elevates well crafted songs to their peak. You become aware of the control he possesses over his technical ability to reach notes and dance between octaves, yet he delivers with the ease of a sigh, you feel safe within his range and the way he moves between it. He has a unique sound, his voice navigates melodiously with his instruments the guitar and harmonica, the sound is full yet the setup simple.
His guitars are his admitted passion and the relationship and respect for them echoes through the way he uses them, each selected and introduced, then tuned to meet the needs of the song, working with his voice and occasional backing tracks to amplify the emotion of his words. The audience encouraged and playfully responded to his warm recounts and invitations to contribute, welcoming tracks including Eyes Wider than Before and Anniversary, my personal favourites were New Skin and My Selfless Moon.
Matthews is a generous performer, he’s humble and witty and has an easy way of connecting with an audience, his switching of guitars between songs becomes a pause for tuning and storytelling, time he invests in sharing narratives and comical anecdotes. Local musicians Matthew Devonish and Chris Preston were invited to guest on a couple of numbers, Devonish on djembe and Preston on cajon, both musicians played with professional skill and ease, pleasing the local audience and fully utilising some of the excellent talent from Malvern’s own creative community.
Towards the end of the night, the audience were invited to join Matthews in a live recording of Home and Dry, positioning himself centrally, surrounded by the audience, their voices were captured as the song drifted into a lullaby of voices wrapping around him.
This was an excellent night for West Malvern and a joy to be introduced to a unique artist who sings from the heart, Scott Matthews blends tenderness and sobriety with warmth and humour and like his own song title, can leave you with eyes wider than before.
By Juliet Mootz
Photo Credit Andy Garbi
For details of Scott Matthews and his upcoming dates visit the website.
To find out what’s on at West Malvern Social Club visit and check out their website.