Barrington Theatre, Ferndown

Helena Mace

Tonight the Barrington Theatre in Ferndown is playing host to an album launch by local talented singer/songwriter Helena Mace. The album “Chasing Dreams” is Helena’s follow up to the 2016 “Wash Away the Years” and it was recorded with Matt Black at the Hangover Hill Recording Studio. The record also features a host of top artists including ex-Lindisfarne musician Tom Leary (Guitar/Fiddle), Si Genaro (Harmonica), Matt Griffiths (Guitar), Matt Black (Piano), and Helena’s husband Grant James (Percussion). The release of the album has been welcomed by both UK and International radio stations who have already given airtime to some of the new material. Helena has also been nominated for two awards, so things are indeed gaining a momentum of this popular local artist.

The evening kicks off with a set by Matt Griffiths who provides some excellent entertainment with some of his glorious original material, including a history lesson from “July 1916” detailing some of the happenings of the battle of the Somme. Matt is joined by Tom Leary on fiddle who gives some precious atmospheric accompaniment. We are then treated to a lovely duet with Matt being joined by Helena on a really beautifully written love song.

Matt Griffiths
Matt Griffiths 12

Next up is the one and only local music entrepreneur Si Genaro, a man whose infectious personality and performance has gained him two appearances on TV programme “The Voice” and much respect from his community of fellow musicians. Kicking off with “Wasting My Time”, Si shows his unique varied vocal style of sound shaping and beatboxing. Looking like a young Ray Davies, tonight he entertains with all original tunes including “Lullaby”; a tune he wrote when he was just 17, giving a rather optimistic outlook from the point of a wide-eyed teenager. His short set ends with a tune by special request called “When the Last Bird Flies” which shows Genero getting serious with some passionately delivered vocals that impress the Barrington audience, who burst into a huge round of applause upon completion.

Si Genaro
Si Genaro 1

At just after 9pm it is finally time for the headliner to take to the stage. She, of course, can be forgiven for being a little nervous as quite possibly everyone she knows is in this room and of course on previous showings expectations are high. Opening appropriately with the first track off the new album “Breaking up ain’t Easy”, Helena shows her remarkably smooth vocal skills which easily fill this large room. The band compliment her really well with some lovely slide guitar from Tom and some beautifully played piano from the multi-talented Matt Black. Helena’s previous album has a much more Country feel to it, but the new album opens her up to some new territories with the introduction of some Folk roots with some strong influences from Matt and Tom. Helena wrote the whole album single-handedly and like “Moon Goddess” on the previous album, her Father was drafted in to write another in the form of the atmospheric “Gothic Lullaby”. Tonight Tom does a brilliant job on the tune with some incredible fiddle work, which gives just the right backdrop for Helena’s very haunting vocals.

Helena Mace
Helena Mace 1234567

After a quick interval, the musicians are back for part two with more of the new album tracks being rolled out and delivered to the expectant audience. Tunes such as the great “I Know I’d Be Ok” and the inspiring “Beautiful Mess”, a personal admission to life’s difficult situations.

As we come to the end of the evening Matt Black starts the unmistakable piano intro to the Queen Song “Too Much Love Will Kill You” and Helena belts out the lyric nailing every note perfectly, much to the delight of her family and friends in the audience. The evening ends on a high with all the musicians back on the stage for a very upbeat version of “Wagon Wheel”, which gets the audience singing and clapping along for one last time. A fantastic evening which hopefully is just the start of a long journey for Helena, her talents and this album could well deliver the dreams she has been chasing.

Set List
Breakin’ Up Ain’t Easy
When the Rain Came Down
Moon Goddess
Broken Tears
If I’d known Back Then
Gothic Lullaby

I Chose You
We’re Still Here
I Know I’d be Ok
Wash Away the Years
Beautiful Mess
Too Much Love Will Kill You (Queen Cover)
Wagon Wheel (Bob Dylan/Ketch Secor)


Words, Pictures & Video by David Chinery (Chinners)

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