The Cumberland Arms is considered by many to be the hub for Tyneside's folk-roots community.
Its reputation is built on grassroots sessions and performances by highly accomplished musicians with a niche following, so it was surprise to discover BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winner Chris Wood playing the pub’s upstairs room.
The evening opened with a set from Northumbrian guitarist and singer The Horse Loom, aka Steve Malley.
His material was inspired by his local roots and family and he was well received by the packed house.
Shortly after taking to the stage, Chris Wood played a couple of his best known songs, The Cottager’s Reply, a song about the rich buying up rural homes and destroying country life, and None The Wiser which Wood wrote following his observations contemporary Britain when touring with Joan Armatrading.
Many of Wood’s songs are based on his observations of modern Britain and notable events.
Introducing the ones he chose to perform here, he demonstrated a nice line in entertaining banter which contrasted with his sombre topics.
Given the intimate environment, at times it felt like we were all a group of friends having a chat round a table.
The evening’s performance really was something special.
Wood is a sensitive song-writer, a delicate guitarist and an engaging performer, as his many admirers will tell you.
He will be back on Tyneside playing Sage Gateshead on May 31 as part of the Lau-Land folk music weekend. Get a ticket if you can to see him performing with Andy Cutting and John Carty.