The Blair it’s ok to like
Blair Dunlop is Willy Wonka. Not like Willy Wonka, but the actual Willy Wonka. It’s true! He played the young Willy in Tim Burton’s 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Fancy that!
He’s more famous these days however for releasing three albums of increasing – not maturity, but maybe roundedness – in which his fleecily warm folk songs have really come on leaps and bounds. His latest, last year’s Gilded, was full of radio-friendly pop hooks, and coloured with his ability to really dovetail with his band who brought plenty of colour to his exemplary finger-picking style.
The son of Ashley Hutchings (who folk rock fans won’t need telling was behind some of the most important bands of the genre including Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band), Dunlop has escaped the moorings of his famous dad, to become – even at 24-years of age – a real force to be reckoned with. And if we all plead with him nicely when he visits Sage Gateshead he might sort us out with some everlasting gobstoppers.Blair Dunlop + special guests, Thursday 23 February, Sage Gateshead, 7.45pm, £14.51. sagegateshead.com