May 4 2011 By Siba Matti
Chris Wood Compass
Uxbridge Folk Club presents award-winning singer, Chris Wood, at the Compass Theatre on Saturday (May 7). But what is the secret to marking out a successful folk career? JENNY COOMBES got the low-down from the man behind the melodies.
CHRIS Wood describes his performances as "music for grown ups."
One of his songs – for which he won song writer of the year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – is about the death of Brazillian Jean Charles De Menezes, who was shot by police after he was wrongly identified as a terrorist at Stockwell Tube Station following the July 7 tube bombings.
Despite the sensitive nature of this track, Wood insists his songs are not politically motivated. He does have an opinion on politics – as he says "you cant get a Rizla paper between left and right any more" – but he does not want his music to be about this.
He said: "I don't think its possible not to be political in this day and age. I'm not a great fan of political songs – they tend to be crass in my opinion. "
He describes his material as stemming from a desire to explore a less human-centred world and a world more engaged with the actual than the virtual.
He said: "I get my inspiration from ordinary English people – the people that aren't in the magazines that society is so fascinated by. I think the ordinary people are much more fascinating.
"I write songs about grief, fatherhood, Eleven Plus exams.
"Its English life I'm inspired by – I don't think I could move to France or America."
Chris started his singing career as a choir boy. He taught himself how to play guitar and violin. Over the years, he has performed alongside names such as Billy Bragg, Andy Gangadeen, Andy Cutting, Jean François Vrod and Hugh Lupton.
Now he has twice been crowned Folk Singer of the Year at the Radio Two awards.
At this year's ceremony his awards were presented by Joan Armatrading and Chris Difford, two figures he holds in great esteem.
He said: "That was nice, to receive the award from two great song writers, as a song writer myself."
As well as scooping industry recognition, Wood has proved a hit at venues up and down the country, although he says it makes no difference to him where he plays.
He said: "It doesn't matter when you're on stage and you're lost in the music.
"One time I was on stage and somebody yelled something about last time I was here and I was looking about me thinking: I'm sure I've never been here before.
"I'm not very good with names and places!"
Chris Wood will be supported by Maggie Duff and Mike Weed at the Compass Theatre, Glebe Avenue, Ickenham on Saturday May 7 at 7.30pm.
Tickets cost £12. For more information call the box office on 01895 673200 or visit www.compasstheatre.co.uk