SONGS AND STORIES: Chris Gooch will perform at the Scarth Hall on Friday					   TM pic
SONGS AND STORIES: Chris Gooch will perform at the Scarth Hall on Friday TM pic

SONGS and stories from more than four decades of performing will form the basis of a show at the Scarth Hall, Staindrop, this week.

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Chris Gooch first took to the stage as a teenager in the mid-1970s and has played in bands across the region ever since.

After leaving his most recent group – Somebody’s Cat – and after striking up a friendship with dale artist Jane Young, Chris has taken to the stage with an intimate solo acoustic show for the first time. He explained: “I left the band due to a lack of commitment from the rest. I thought I would take a few months off and nothing was planned.

“I was at Jane’s place in Whorlton one night and she mentioned the open mic nights at Scarth Hall.

“The night I went, no-one turned up and I ended up playing all night – and it was really good fun.

“As a result, I ended up doing about six solo gigs and spoke with the people at the Scarth Hall about doing something small and intimate. I thought it was a good idea.”

The result will be an evening “in the round” on Friday, February 14. Tickets are £8 from the village post office or the hall and doors open at 7pm.

It was also while visiting Whorlton – which he jokingly calls his “country retreat” – that he wrote a bunch of new songs.

“I was writing a song a day at one point,” he said.

He cites the likes of Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams as his biggest influences and plays mainly Americana and country.

After the Staindrop gig, his future music plans remain up in the air.

“I don't now if I am going to carry on doing it – it could be my last solo gig or I might love it and carry on doing it,” said Chris, who lives in Sunderland.

“But I love being part of a band. I have been in bands since I started off at 16 in 1976, although I only started singing three years ago when I put Somebody’s Cat together.

“I deliberately did not get a singer as I thought the other guitarist would do the vocals – and he asked if we were to share the singing.

“Things will happen the way they are meant to happen.”