- Essex Evening Post, October 2006
Eric Bibb – The Brentwood Centre, 9th October 2006
The fourth gig on the UK leg of Eric Bibb’s promotional tour for his excellent new CD, ‘Diamond Days’ saw the caravan roll into Brentwood, his only appearance in the county that, for a little while, was a regular haunt. The man himself took to a stage on which there were no less than 7 acoustic guitars of different shapes and sizes, a drum kit consisting of a single side drum, a hihat and a cymbal and a double bass and for the best part of an hour & a half held his audience mesmerised.
With fellow American Larry Crockett on drums and the superb Danny Thompson on double bass, Eric treated the enthusiastic audience, many of whom had travelled some distance to catch this gig, to a set that saw him playing classics from the likes of Odetta to his fine and very thoughtful and thought provoking originals. Up tempo celebrations such as the glorious ‘Mandela Is Free’ which Eric dedicated to a schoolboy named Genuine whom he had met recently at a schools gig in Florida mixed effortlessly with the title track from ‘Diamond Days’, the wonderful ‘In My Father’s House’, an oft recorded song and one which is particularly close to Eric’s heart, with ‘Destiny Blues’, another excellent track from the most recent CD, each song linked to the next by a bit of history, a tale of inspiration, an expression of pleasure, always adding to the ambience and serving to produce a wonderfully rounded evening.
Special mention also must go to the support act, a lovely young lady from Yorkshire called Hayley Hutchinson whose wonderful voice and lovely songs and lyrics enchanted the audience and lead to substantial CD sales in the interval. Well worth catching this songbird!
To be honest, I was by no means convinced that the laid back acoustic style of American troubadour, Eric Bibb, and the cavernous Brentwood Centre would be a successful marriage but, all credit to both the centre management and to Eric’s soundman; the ambience was of a dive club somewhere in the backstreets, albeit with a large stage and lighting rig! It is easy to become blasé when one attends loads of gigs, but this one really was something special. As my wife said afterwards, – “Probably the best gig I have ever been to”. Nuff said!