Rich Hall’s Hoedown/Huntingdon Hall, Worcester

THE reason British people don’t like American country music is because they are too educated, says the man who sings country, yet has a vocabulary that would put a university professor in the shade.

Of course, Hall doesn’t really believe this. As every serious Brit-billy knows, the extended, ironically delivered, bad-luck-and-busted country metaphor says all there is to say about blue collar life.

Tragically, there is no equivalent this side of the pond. And it’s our loss.

If you go to a Rich Hall gig, try to avoid the front seats if you scare easily, because he must have picked on the entire row at the Huntingdon.

We therefore pitied the man who ‘monitors power stations.’ And wept for the hapless guy who was forced to sing – through a microphone – “fur on a stick” while his wife slowly melted into her chair.

Then there were the academic types who answered Hall’s requests for information about their jobs in one-word, monosyllabic replies, thereby obligingly placing their heads into a carefully laid trap.

Mind you, audience member Rachel proved she could strum an open-tuned guitar. When Hall proffered a spare gitfiddle, she did him proud. It’s not everyone who can say they gigged with Rich Hall.

Another speciality is Hall’s ability to compose songs on the spot about punters chosen at random. All right, he’s obviously working to a template, but the improvised ballad about the woman from Worcester who married the man from Evesham was an absolute gem.

He also correctly identifies the major problem concerning English place names and how they just don’t sound right in a country context.

Upton Snodsbury and Wyre Piddle certainly spring to mind, yet he did manage to make Tewkesbury sound like a rowdy cow town just off Route 66. No mean feat that.

Politics are never far away. But unlike his virtue signalling British comedy counterparts, he never loses the ability to laugh at himself. And that’s something we all badly need here in Britain at the moment.

John Phillpott