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John Wright launches music career in Mot

April 11th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

About 150 people were fortunate to be present when legendary Kiwi cricketer John Wright launched his songwriting and singing career in Motueka on Sunday.

The Memorial Hall audience were treated to a program of foot-tapping country-blues crossover songs, all originals, and the enthusiastic applause was well deserved.

Backed and fleshed out by the classy, professional South Island band the Sou'Westers, John showed that his time while staying in hotels around the cricketing world was well spent, writing some very thoughtful and delightfully original songs with catchy but certainly not cliched tunes.

The first half of the evening, which was recorded by the Seven Sharp television team, saw the five-piece Sou'Westers belt out a set of their songs, showing them to be of world-class standard.

Then John came to the stage with his acoustic guitar to sing most of the numbers on his new CD, "Red Skies", which was launched on Sunday.

The special feature for Motueka was the delightful, laid-back number "Drivin' in to Mot" which went down a treat. The concert ended with the showing on screen of the video which was made in and around town, packed with readily identifiable images.

"Drivin' in to Mot" was based on John's visits to this area from his Canterbury home during summers of his earlier years, and the interesting trip through Lewis Pass and down the Motueka Valley.

The video has since been launched on YouTube and Facebook, and being viewed many times. You can watch and listen to it by clicking here.

John Wright has a self-deprecatory manner, both in person and on stage, being almost apologetic about being just an amateur playing around with music.

However this writer, who has had some experience in the music industry, can report that he actually has a very good voice for this genre of music, reminding one perhaps of Neil Young. He strums a basic guitar, but with a band of such quality behind him that is easily enough.

To me, however, the most impressive aspect of his new endeavour is the quality of his songwriting. At the concert, introducing each song for a couple of minutes, he explained how the words resulted from activities and events during his touring the world in his cricketing career, which still continues in the Indian subcontinent.

The tunes are many steps advanced from any hackneyed three-cord, country and western music cliche, and with the professionalism of the Sou'Westers wrapping around them the result is some very intelligent and often moving songs.

John admitted that he would struggle to be an upfront entertainer with his shy nature, but with a few more concerts under his belt he will surely gain more confidence in his ability to work with the band and create tighter song finishes.

John donated all of the profit from the concert to Vision Motueka to go towards next year's Motueka Kai Fest.

A special mention should go to Mark Wentworth and his team of sound engineers who in a very short turnaround transformed Memorial Hall from the stage production of "Fiddler on the Roof" matinee performance into music concert mode. (This explains the background to the photo above.)

The high quality of the sound was again a tribute to the quality of his team and the production capability now built into the venue.



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