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Jeffrey Foucault
Jumpin’ Hot Cub,
Gosforth Civic Theatre
Review by Alan Harrison

14th November 2022

I’d been looking forward to this gig; part of the promoter; Jumpin’ Hot Club’s 37th Anniversary for weeks; as although I’d never seen him before several friends rate him highly.
The support act, Dietrich Strause (who would eventually join the headliner on stage) was a pleasant surprise; as he had a lovely soft voice which really suited his gentle rolling Country style songs.
As I didn’t know him in advance, and he didn’t announce anything I have to guess at the songs he performed.
Think of My Darling was a slow and moody ballad; alongside For You reminded me of Gordon Lightfoot; easy on the ear but well constructed stories.
I’ve always been a sucker for singer who can whistle in tune; and Dietrich did just that twice; and at least two songs were interspersed with ‘ooh ooh …. oooooh’ self-harmonies, which was pretty damn impressive.
Probably the best; or at least most memorable song in the 40 minute set was the stark You Must Be Out of My Mind; a clever song yet still ‘easy on the ear’ and as my trusted friend Juan whispered; sounded a bit like Ralph McTell at his finest.
I’ve now found some of his songs and plan playing something on my radio show.
The immaculately dressed Jeffrey Foucault didn’t hang around coming on stage, a quick tune of his steel guitar, followed by a nod to Eric Haywood and they were away.
Just as with the support act; Foucault rarely introduced his songs; although the between song banter was hilarious; so again I’m left guessing at song titles; the first was something along the lines of Everybody’s Fool and set the tone for the show; his smooth bass voice blending in naturally with his superb resonator guitar and Haywood’s pedal-steel or Telecaster.
The second song too; I Love You (and I’m a Fool) was deliciously maudlin, even before Haywood’s stinging pedal-steel entered the fray; and it took on a life of its own then.
As the gig progressed, I was really impressed with both Foucault’s singing and his songwriting. Had my wife been here I’m pretty sure she’d have said something along the lines of ‘there weren’t many laughs’ …. which is true of his songs; but that’s never been an issue with me …. to paraphrase Gretchen Peters “Sad Songs Make Me Happy” and Foucault has enough sad songs to fill a barrel!
Good ones too. Especially So Long Bill; written with poet Lisa Olsen (?) about the singer’s best friend and long term drummer Bill Conway, who died a few years back. There was a lot of sniffing around me as it finished; and I doubt anyone had flu.
For a duo Foucault and Haywood made a really ‘full’ sound; but when they were joined by Strause on harmonies, guitar and piano, they sounded like a full band.
Another song that captured my attention was the Anglo-American Folk Song, Pretty Polly which we were assured was a favourite in the ‘correctional facilities’ across America. After tonight I’m quite happy to believe that; even if some of the other stories from the stage may not have stood up to too much scrutiny.
As the gig rattled to a close my notes say ‘sadder than sad’ about a song called Wood Smoke, featuring some magical bottle-neck on the resonator from both Foucault and Haywood on pedal-steel. Plus Strause’s intricate piano, again garnered sniffing from the audience before some exceptionally loud applause at the end.
Following the evocative Left Town, the trio thanked everyone and left the stage …. and … then nothing, the house lights came on confusing a couple of people; but for me it was the perfect end to a really coll and memorable show.