Heckling groupies, a dropped guitar and the cocktails flowing – crowd-pleasing Joe Seager entered the invitingly cosy atmosphere of The Oak. Indeed, it was a brilliant atmosphere for some distinctively classic acoustics. As a sound check turned some heads smooth-talking Joe introduced himself to his cheerful audience, explained his late arrival and asked for requests, ranging from commercial Ed Sheeran to the late iconic Johnny Cash. The set opened with a sharp chord before breaking out into a fantastically original acoustic solo, that effortlessly showed off his natural ability. As the set progressed from California Dreaming to John Martyn the stage was soon taken by swaying locals with a genuine happiness, and even from the back of the room I saw a sparkle in the mans eye as the crowds participation became all more relaxed and unashamed.
Head bopping and toes tapping an infectious smile lit up the room, as Joe with a pint in hand modestly accepted ever-growing applause. “Lovely pub, lovely beer.” I’ll admit to you that I found myself lost in the guys soulful singing and perfectly struck notes, not a single sweat broke his brow and I couldn’t help but think this guy belongs on the bigger stage. During a break I questioned what he enjoyed about playing the local scenes and taverns, to which he warmly replied that what he truly enjoys about what he does is the intimacy and appreciation that he receives. “It’s where you learn the craft, you can’t beat it.” When asked how it felt to be playing back in Welshpool he answered with a smile that it was just brilliant. Although it’s his first time performing here he actually lives relatively local, so his family are close which is always a positive thing, and he just thought the environment was utterly fantastic. The reception he was receiving was the main reason why he enjoyed playing in such gigs as this, and the reception was very well received I may add. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s very much looking forward to returning back in a months time, as am I.
There was times that I was in such awe of the talent being illustrated before me I found it extremely difficult to step out for routine cigarette breaks, like an artist with a brush this guy paints masterpieces up on a stage; with such a genuine personality to add to his brilliant frontmanship. The mood was dampened whenever the music was stopped, and an ecstatic euphoria followed whenever it returned. His efforts were better received as the night progressed and Joe grew more confident with playing his own songs, which the crowd demanded. The spirits were raised to the extent that all Joe had to do was pluck the strings as his audience sung the words for him. Following an evening consisting generally of the somewhat typical tavern classics as Wonderwall, there was the geniously covered masterpieces such as a Led Zeppelin trilogy and the Ring Of Fire, which were effortlessly made his own. I found the light was shone when he stepped away from these though and played his original songs however, songs such as Eclipse – a song admittedly was usually performed with his much-missed brother, but nevertheless received the loudest applause of the evening. Following an encore from the crowd the night ended beautifully to the sweet sounds of (Sweet Home) Alabama.
Evidently inspired from the Beatles, Joe brings such a unique prowess to the stage that simply overshadows any inkling of unhappiness. This guy could convert hate to love, and is one of the most modest musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.
If you’re local to the Powys county his next performance is at The Lion Quays Spa Hotel on Friday 7th of September, and I urge you to go and witness his talents personally. It’d be regrettable not too, the experience far surpasses what was originally considered enjoyable.