Patsy Matheson

Korks Wine Bar, Otley

Patsy scowled and turned to face the bar. Oblivious, in incongruous stilettos the two women continued their hushed conversation. Patsy would sort them out in the break with a few well chosen words but they were disrupting her flow.

In some ways the edge that this provided was echoed in the songwriting. Patsy provides a soundtrack for the Pre Raphaelites if they had been a sisterhood. And this sisterhood brooks no interruption. First set solo, percussive finger picking underpinning serenades to male friendship and family ties. Woe betide the man who falls for her – as with the Pre-Raphs her male “stunners” are warned “don't fall in love with me cos you are not the one”. Being folk music any man ignoring the warning may be taken out and shot.

After a break Patsy was joined by Sarah Smout, lathering her cello all over the songs and “the best bass player in the world”, Jon Short.

A generous performer Patsy welcomed Georgette Hilton, who had opened for her, back to the stage to share vocal duties. I enjoy the democracy of folk – there is a genuine sense of a community of performance.

The massed choir of Korks back room provided a hushed chorus on a couple of occasions and some rather dodgy whistling – fortunately just once.

Patsy delighted in her recent 4* review in the Guardian if only because it would increase the Otley circulation by one – her mum! National critics have raved about these songs and so did the Otley crowd. Songs that mine the history of folk but take an alternative view.

A subtle craft is at work here. Beautiful reflections on family and identity – how tragedy in one life can lead to new life, how we take on and develop important facets of our parents and grandparents and how we can choose the image we present to the world.

Red for danger but chasing rainbows until the end.

Ant Cotton