Waiting for My Serious Mann
By Robert Nichols
Thursday 14 Feb 2019 17:09:00
Browse all Music articles

A beautiful evening of country, folk, roots, two wonderful performers, a velvety voice and a tasty slice of Yorkshirecana, that was the menu in the Waiting Room restaurant last Sunday. Serious Sam Barrett and Jay Moussa-Mann How we lapped it up.

Photos by Tracy Hyman

Serious Sam Barrett picked up his trusty 12 string and banjo to promote his brilliant new long player Where The White Roses Grow. But before Sam cast his musical spells Middlesbrough singer songwriter Jay Moussa-Mann made a rare live bow and  it was so memorable?

Jay Moussa Mann


Many of us have long enthused to Jay Moussa-Mann’s wondrous contributions to Bob Fischer’s BBC Tees Introducing Saturday show. So the chance to see the Middlebrough singer songwriter performing live was not to be missed. The opening number at this Eaglescliffe gig was the reflective and golden Tides of Life, look out for the youtube video.

Evil Cassette followed on, how your life can unravel in the way cassettes always seemed to. You would need to run for a pencil to wind it all together again.

That velvety voice soothes and caresses the lyrics to The Boat in the Sky. Jay Moussa-Mann ponders on the changes and feeling older as a woman turning from her 20s to her 30s. With this singer and her trusy acoustic we all feel as golden as the autumn leaves in the trees.

A Risky Magpie gambles on the road in traffic, a playful, somewhat whimsical song despite the perilous subject matter. Careful or it's bye bye. Then it is down to London, speeding underground on the Hammersmith and City Line for her final track. She hi-tailed it over from Stokesley, hopefully there were no magpies encountered on route. A beautiful set. Play again soon. Jay Moussa-Mann told me she should have physical CDs available this year. You can join the queue behind me.

Serious Sam Barrett is talented exponent of Yorkshirecana. His country, folk and bluegrass repertoire skilfully intermixes traditional and contemporary from either side of the Atlantic and this side of the Pennines.

No stranger to this area or indeed this venue, Sam has been playing here for a decade now and always leaves his mark and many LPs behind for us to savour.

Last Sunday Sam wowed us with two sets, the first rooted firmly in Yorkshire where he grew up and still lives. He opened with a song about his granddad, a traditional leather worker from Leeds who became a union secretary and lived quite a life. Finger picking his 12 string he tunes it to almost sound like a banjo. An instrument he soon picks up to play but not before telling us about how his granddad was gifted a rifle whilst on holiday in Austria which he used to shoot a famous old trout that attracted anglers every year when it returned to Knaresborough. Not a popular thing to do.

Serious Sam


The inter song stories and indeed the tales told within songs make a Serious Sam gig so enthralling and entertaining. Sam is also a serious skateboarder and from time to time he does fall off. I remember him once playing at the Waiting Room with his arm in a plaster cast. I have no idea how he moved his fingers because they fly across those strings. Anyway, he recounted in song the tale of when an accident prevented him playing a dream gig of a lifetime with the daughter of Johnny Cash. I bet he kicked himself, or would have if he had not been in traction.
Slide guitar to a lovely lilting song about touring, Drive Your Way Home. Sam normally tours with a US band across the Gulf states of America this time of the year but VISA problems (inspired by you know who?) have grounded him this year.

We can feel grateful that the man in the peaked cap and Texas café bar t-shirt is playing for us. The Last of the Yorkshire Outlaws is drawn from the new record, doffing that cap to the characters or outcasts that inhabit Sam’s favourite Leeds pub.
The Holmfirth Anthem is proclaimed entirely without musical accompaniment. A traditional Yorkshire trilogy takes us up into sheep grazing country high in the dales where the young Sam roamed as a kid. He later sings about the dream state in which he wandered about all day, which is the title track to the new album, Where The White Roses Grow.

The "Serious" autobiographical notes continued with the shock waves recounted from moving into the big city. His pop song for folk clubs, which became an accidental, hit Lullaby in Leeds, is dedicated to the people of the big city that embraced him.

A whisky laced tale, Back on the Jack Again, an old cowboy song the Santa Fe Trail and a new banjo song Bonaparte’s Love Song, feature in the second set as does a second unaccompanied song, this time about Liverpool. It is most definitely not by the Beatles.
Serious Sam Barrett would normally be on the Mardi Gras circuit, so he throws in a waltz and a Cajun tune to close with. Mardis Gras is far more exciting than pancake Tuesday and the same applies to Serious Sam Barrett. He skilfully weaves a narrative betwixt and between American and Yorkshire country and city and takes us on a wonderful journey of musical discovery. A seriously good music man is Serious Sam Barrett.

There are gigs at the Waiting Room every Sunday - an intimate setting. This Sunday, 17th features a joint headliner tour from GM Boulter and Elaine Palmer



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