5/12/2013 Blair Dunlop Trio Review by Colston Crawford

INTRODUCING a superlative cover of Jackson Browne's classic These Days, Blair Dunlop laughed and told his audience at the Flowerpot: "He wrote this when he was 16…"

He must have been aware of the irony. Chesterfield-born Dunlop is only 21 but is a consummate professional, his intricate, wide-ranging songs starting to earn plaudits and awards.

Successful child actor (the young Willy Wonka in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) and leader of the Albion Band in succession to his father, folk rock doyen Ashley Hutchings, Dunlop has already packed plenty into his life.

But it is as a singer/songwriter that he is on the edge of stardom. What sort of stardom may be up to him. Dark, wild-haired, witty and engaging, he looks effortlessly cool, every inch the modern troubadour and his looks are reminiscent of the likes of Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp.

His guitar-playing and singing is the stuff of dreams and he has a magical command of melody. It's a winning combination. For now, at least, he sits very firmly in the folk niche. He seems comfortable with that and is at ease on his tour in a trio with violinist Angharad Jenkins and keyboard player Jacob Stoney.

He has it in him to be a giant of the folk genre but he would have to emerge from the niche if he should want to enjoy the riches and adulation of an Ed Sheeran or a James Morrison. The choice of a Jackson Browne cover and the variety in his own songs are a statement in themselves: don't pigeon-hole me.

Will he engage a wider audience? Time is on his side and, in the next few years, we will find out.