Thomas Tripp, Christchurch

Darren Hodson & The Southern Companion

On a freezing cold Sunday a near full Thomas Tripp awaits the songs of one of it’s favourite sons! Local favourite and regular guest to this very stage one Darren Hodson is debuting songs from his 2nd album release “1000 Days Of Rain”. He has brought with him as support the rather wonderful Mr. John James (JJ) Newman. JJ wastes no time in taking his seat bang on 8.30 pm and introduces himself while smiling broadly. He is totally at home with just a mic and a guitar. His set is one high on confidence and talent with soft, heartfelt vocals. Between song banter is almost encouraged while well received. His highlight is the Marley-esque “Take It Away” which sees the whole pub singing along. JJ leaves us as he began, with a broad smile and takes the well-deserved, long and loud applause.

John James Newman
John James Newman 12

Darren (Hodson) then takes to the stage some 10 minutes later to great applause, accompanied by his band “The Southern Companion’. He confidently opens with “The Leaving Kind”. Now I’m no connoisseur of this genre but there’s definitely ‘leanings’ towards Country/Americana from the off. Sadly for this reviewer “Crash” is not a Primitives cover, but one has to respect the heartfelt and passionate vocal delivery on show tonight. I’m warming to them even more as they up the tempo and songs like “This Love of Mine” and “Heaven Knows” hit the mark. Neil Young fans are treated to “Harvest Moon”, which proves popular. On “Dead Man Walking” a guitar change adds more twang and ultimately more power. In fact, I’m reminded of Squeeze; most notably in the vocal. “Weekend Wednesday” is my standout track tonight while the personal “Wrong Side of the 70’s” is a wonderful ode to the ageing process. They leave us on “Firecracker” before long, loud applause encourages them back for a one song encore in the shape of “The Letter”. All in all a great show, well received and by my reckoning a few albums sold!

Darren Hodson And The Southern Companion
Darren Hodson And The Southern Companion 12

The Leaving Kind
Feel Like Years
Travelling Alone
This Love Of Mine
Heaven Knows
Harvest Moon (Neil Young)
Dean Man Walking
Weekend Wednesday
Wrong Side of The 7o’s
Driving with the Brakes On
The Letter



Words By Ross Ferrone
Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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