ALTHOUGH solo work has been the backbone of his 33-year performing career, Manchester-born singer-songwriter and guitarist Clive Gregson is primarily known in folk circles from late 1980s/early 90s duo partnership with chanteuse Christine Collister.
In the United States, where he’s lived since 1993, he’s also plied his trade writing for other singers and as a session musician.
He played in Nanci Griffith’s band for more than a decade, while the fact that his songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Norma Waterson and Smokie – as well as Griffith herself – gives an idea of his adaptability.
Despite his pleasantly affable company, however, Gregson’s own show here left little to linger in the mind.
Gregson’s seasoned folk-pop craftsmanship, particularly his knack for a well-turned melody, variously tinged with country, soul and the paler shade of blues, were plentifully in evidence.
He’s also an undeniably dab hand(s) on the guitar, albeit prone to grafting party-piece instrumental workouts incongruously on to overly lightweight songs.
Lyrically, however, Gregson’s material was mostly undermined by his willingness to settle for the obvious or stock phrase rather than stretching for the unexpected or poetic, while his experience as a songwriter for hire also told in his semi-detached delivery, a dearth of expressive conviction or depth that set the emotional thermostat little above lukewarm.