Ned Roberts. ‘Who?’ you might well ask. Wow, what a surprise and an honour to see him and listen to his wonderful music at Hagglers Corner, Sheffield last Thursday. The Americana/Folk singer-songwriter hails from Sussex but now bases himself in London following a stint in York for his university studies. This is where he began his wonderful song writing, taking influences from God’s own country of Yorkshire.
He released his self-titled first album in 2014. I’m only sorry that I’ve only just discovered him and didn’t get to listen to it sooner. But good things come to those who wait and his recent short tour is the prelude to the release of his second album entitled ‘Outside My Mind’. He continues the tour this week at The Slaughtered Lamb, Farringdon on Wednesday 29th March. Tickets are still available so get yourselves down there if you’re in the area and get to listen to his amazing voice.
It’s easy to see his influence of Bob Dylan in his huge voice. Every word of the stories delivered with passion. His new album was as recorded in LA and if you close your eyes you can feel the sunshine and Californian breeze drifting you to a place of calm. Aptly titled, the opening song was ‘Drifting Down’, followed by a track I particularly adored called ‘Long Way Down’ and ‘Hazy Days’ from the new album. By now I was no longer in a cold Sheffield but had drifted off to warmer climes.
Ned plays the harmonica with ease and adds further depth to his lyrics and acoustic guitar. We were treated to two Bob Dylan classics ‘Girl From The North Country’ and ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’. I speak as a huge fan of Bob Dylan, but you won’t hear better covers of these two beautiful tracks.
Ned added humour and banter between his tracks and joked about the track ‘Passadena’ being his attempt at an up-beat track. It certainly was, but never lost sense of Ned himself as he delivered it perfectly. He closed with two of his singles – one from his second album called ‘Lights on the River’ and his first single from the first album, ‘Red Sun’. I wanted to choose a stand out but as I took stock of a wonderful evening I couldn’t decide. I loved them equally.
Sadly, not a huge crowd to listen to this musical treat of real, heartfelt songs. Please give him a listen and go see him live if you get the chance. You will not be disappointed. Some soulful late night listening as summer evenings approach. Lose yourself with a cold glass of wine! Thanks Ned for an amazing evening and best of luck with the new album. I’m your new No. 1 fan.