Thursday 27th July 2023
Half Moon, Putney, London
It was a fine Summer evening on the bank of the Thames in West London, and Blues fans were making their way to The Half Moon Putney for an evening of entertainment from British Blues star, Connor Selby. The three-time winner of young artist of the year from the UK Blues Federation has soared through the last year with his signing to Provogue Records, the release of the deluxe edition of his self-titled album, and supporting a range of superstars including Joanne Shaw Taylor, Beth Hart and Robert Cray.
Connor took to the stage with Joe Anderton (guitar), Stevie Watts (organ), Sonny Winslow (bass) and Martin Johnson (drums) to loud applause from the crowd. The set started with ‘I Can’t Let You Go’, ‘Falling in Love Again’, and then the deeply introspective ‘I Shouldn’t Care’. He exuded confidence with every note he played on the guitar, his solo’s reaching into the audience in front of him.
‘If You’re Gonna Leave Me’ began, dialling almost right into the soul of BB King. Traditional Chicago Blues flowed questioning what he’d do, should she have another man. ‘The Man I Ought to Be’ slowed things down more, the touching lyrics met with Stevie Watt’s beautifully haunting organ sounds making this beautiful track almost a sonic punch to the guts.
Songwriting is where Connor expresses himself to his fullest. Often viewed as a serious and stoic character, it’s clear that still waters do indeed run deep. It is in his lyrics and guitar solos that we see true Connor, an emotionally sincere soul much wiser and expressive than his 25 years would let you assume. His youth has allowed people to attach labels such as the next ‘John Mayall’ or ‘Eric Clapton’, but seeing Connor live is where you hear all the influences combining with something better; The real Connor Selby.
Other highlights included ’Love Letter to the Blues’ and ‘The Deep End’, both exclusive to the deluxe release of his album, and of course the pleading ‘Hear My Prayer’. The evening came to an end with the fantastic ‘Emily’, his traditional upbeat closer with a strong Blues flavour.
Each time I see Connor, his confidence and stagecraft in front of the microphone is growing more and more. Touring suits him well and allows him to continue building his connections with his fanbase, who rightly are supporting him loyally. Selby will continue to tour through the closing half of 2023 with a mix of festivals, headline shows, and supporting the great Graham Parker, so there are plenty of opportunities to see him, and I’ll probably see you there.
Planned Setlist (it was deviated from due to time constraints):
I Can’t Let You Go
Falling in Love Again
I Shouldn’t Care
If You’re Gonna Leave Me
The Truth Comes Out Eventually
The Man I Ought to Be
The Deep End
Goin Down Slow
Hear My Prayer
Love Letter to the Blues
Show Me a Sign