Midwinterfest 2019 - Day 2 - Peter Donegan
Sometimes things turn out in a serendipitous sort of way, a chance meeting in Wolverhampton leading to an invite to appear at Midwinterfest.
A few weeks ago having the name Peter Donegan on the Midwinterfest bill would probably not have have raised much attention, but having appeared on the opening edition of this years The Voice in a clip that as of writing had been viewed over 9.7m times has suddenly thrust Mr Donegan well and truly into the limelight, indeed many may have glanced at the entrance hoping that a certain knighted Welshman may make a guest appearance but that was to be prove a little too much to ask. What we did get as predicted in our preview was a run through Mr Donegan's rather wonderful Superman album as well as a trawl through the best bits of his Dad's catalogue. Peter was not the only celebrated son on display for his band had Wayne Lee, son of Albert Lee on keyboards as well as Ton Wright on guitars.
Opening with “Superman” the title track of the album the band showed themselves to be tight with everyone able to join in on backing vocals
The next song was the first full performance of the song that was his audition piece on The Voice, a cover of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands' “Bless The Broken Road”. with Tom Wright taking a short guitar solo. Peter’s vocals if anything sounding better than on the version seen on tv.The next song about friendship “Ode To A Friend” sounding slightly rockier tonight than on the album though more than capturing the essential essence in the performance. Again if anything Peter’s voice sounded better on this than on his audition piece. The Superman album also provided
the unashamedly romantic “I’m Yours” showing off the more soulful timbre in Peter’s repertoire and also in his songwriting.
For the next song Peter took his place behind the keyboards, for a song written at the Chris Difford Songwriting Retreat, explaining how the world is different to a child. “We Are All Just A Flower”. The band joined in from the second verse had some nice lyrical touches. It was back to guitar for “Little Man” which comes with its own back stories, the first being his love at being a father, the second being the fact that his son has an autism and requires expensive treatment. The song written at the time when he was 6 months, and perfectly captures the hopes and love you have for a child at that age. The next song was another from the Chris Difford writing retreat written in one day “Walking Man” an uptempo rocker showed the band working to great effect.
Next a surprise, an appearance for his Dad’s guitar for a breakdown skiffle set. The first song a Woody Guthrie song “Worried Man Blues” and for a while we were transported to mid 50’s Britain. Next up was the Deadly Medley so called because of the pace at which the songs were played starting with “Cumberland Gap” moving into Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O. More tributes to Mr Donegan Snr came in the song that changed the British Music history “Rock Island Line” which has been widely lauded in Billy Bragg's book "Root Radicals Rockers - How Skiffle Changed The World" which details how that song is now credited with creating the teenager – It was a quite stunning performance, Peter even supplying the requisite harmonica required for all good train songs
Peter moved back to the piano and played a solo version “I’m Never Gonna Fall In Love Again” the song that his Dad wrote for Tom Jones that kicked off the whole social media whirl that he currently finds himself in when Sir Tom decided to do an impromptu version during the audition recording.
For the first verse and chorus Peter played solo wonderfully before the band kicked in on a version that was truly something special.The last song of the set was a final return to the "Superman" album for “Shakin” an all out rocker in the vein of Zak Brown and Chris Stapleton
He may or may not go on to do great things on The Voice ( and not winning is no bad thing judging by past winners!) but whatever happens he put in a fantastic performance tonight full of great humour and banter between the band.to the point that people were so touched by his story and showmanship that they were queuing up to make donations to his charity at the end as well as for buying his cd in their droves.