The Southern Companion today was solely represented by front man Darren Hodson. As we’ve reported this year already, the new Southern Companion album is something rightly deserving of attention, it a great collection of songs that comes as a great "companion" piece to the previous 2 albums. Today wearing a snapback and opening with “Feels Like Years Since We Had A Good Time” found Darren in superb voice. Following on with the song about the perils of life on the road “The Great American Mistake” the set was immediately off to a flying start. Having made the relatively short trip from Lymington, Darren was in fine form adding tender vocals to effortless guitar playing on “The Leaving Kind”.
The recent “Wild Rose” film briefly features the full band and also provides them with their next single “Cigarette Row (Five O'Clock Freedom”, a song which comes with an attention grabbing chorus. If ever there was a man built to perform Chris Stapleton covers it is Darren Hodson, and today’s version of “Either Way” extracted every ounce of angst from the performance, a five star effort which received a well deserved rousing round of applause. The pathos in the story that accompanies “Already Gone” where the hitting of career highs is tempered by being unable to share it with the one you love most, hit home and the delivery saw Darren shaking his guitar to extract every ounce of sound, the full band version takes this to another level but this impassioned solo version was highly impressive.
The new album provided the next couple of songs with a powerful version of “Can I Get A Witness” with Darren able use an effects pedal to make his voice sound like multiple people. The fictional cinematic tale of Billy's Brother” saw the song go from a gentle piece of strumming, gradually ramping up the intensity before ending on an impassioned repeated “Goodbye”. The set closed in traditional style with “Crash” with Darren doing his own little stomp to gee himself up before launching into the all out rocker. With the set ending to a crescendo of applause he came, he saw and conquered and sold a healthy amount of merchandise before heading off to his second gig of the day.