I have found Jesus.
He has the face of an angel and the voice of a prophet, and he plays the fiddle like a devil with a carpenter's arms. The second coming is an understatement; Robert Powell was a nice looking fella, but it's a touch of cosmic genius to have made Messiah 2.0 from James Dean's DNA .
To whit: Seth Lakeman is simply divine, and last night's blistering Oxford gig was a wholly holy communion. Despite a Mercury Music prize nomination for Kitty Jay in 2005, Lakeman has kept a relatively low profile and a consistently high standard of work, and is taking so long to produce his 2008 album that he has released a stop-gap four-track EP, Poor Man's Heaven.
The title is apt. Folk is the poor man's music, and despite Seth's film-star features, he is no peddlar of slick nu-folk-lite; his songs feel deeply authentic, their yearning narratives embedded in the legends of his native Dartmoor and liable to explode in a desperate, rhythmnic hedonism that only comes from a tradition of hardship and hard living. This is music with history, heart and heat. Music to sweat to, and dance to, and share.
Moreover, John the Baptist has nothing on Lakeman's warm-up man, the impeccibly credible Teddy Thompson, son of folk-rock royalty Richard, who delivered his set of old-school suicidal country ballads with a massive, rich voice, dour impassivity, and a perfect Elvis sneer.
So, the King is alive, and the Lord has returned. Time for a party.