REVIEW: Emily Baker & Amy Wadge, Chichester Inn, Chichester

It was the perfect evening as two supremely talented singer-songwriters underlined just what a gem we’ve got emerging in Chichester.

Mark Ringwood launched his Wednesday acoustic music nights earlier this year through his Roots Around The World music organisation.

And he’s clearly hit on a winner if this week’s show was anything to go by - an excellent half an hour from Brighton-based Emily Baker followed by Amy Wadge, newly back from motherhood and at the top of her game.

With her easy manner, terrific songs and great delivery, Emily - on the road marking the release of her debut album, House Of Cards - kicked the night off in fine style.

The album is a cracker - and it was fascinating to hear the slightly-pared down acoustic live versions of songs including Fools Rush In, Hit And Run and the track which probably just edges the rest amid a wealth of beauties, Overcoat.

Totally at ease with her music and her audience, Emily offers great lyrics and lovely melodies - and a name definitely to look out for, giving Amy Wadge a tough act to follow - which she duly did in great style, teaming up with the wonderful guitarist Pete Riley for an entrancing set, again hot on chat and context, again relaxed and memorable.

Perhaps the stand-out tracks were those in which Amy explored the lively challenges of double motherhood, but those from further back in her rich catalogue also hit the spot.

It’s worth remembering, though, what made the night possible in the first place - Mark Ringwood’s unerring eye for a good venue and his ability to pull in the performers, not necessarily huge names, but singers who so clearly respond to all the possibilities that the intimate setting offers them.

Phil Hewitt