I was running a bit late to get to the gig and I cycled down to the Unitarian Church on New Road arriving a bit flustered. I sat down in my seat moments before Geoff came on. I very soon found myself relaxing and my pulse rate slowing down. Geoff introduced the set to the sound of birds singing. I closed my eyes and was transported into a sunny glade in a forest. The outside world melted away and I slipped into the dark soil of the wood and then was lifted to the sunny canopy as the clear notes of Geoff’s guitar rang out. The hard wood of the church pew became the soft bed of decomposing leaves.
The concert was an hour-long journey through the woods. Geoff’s meditative introductions to the compositions told us about the different trees he had encountered and the connected life of the forest. Playback of birdsong or running water sometimes accompanied his voice or his guitar which really transported you into the sun dappled shade of the trees he was telling stories of. The guitar playing was exquisite but the way Geoff weaved the music and words and natural sounds together gave it a magical feel.
I turned 50 yesterday and was feeling the burden of age but listening to Geoff’s compositions, which perfectly encapsulated the magic of the trees, and contemplating the life of the forest I felt that my own short life was insignificant. I felt that it didn’t matter that I was now 50 years old and edging well past the mid-point of my own existence when the trees measured time so differently. The bursting of a bud and the unfurling of a leaf taking days. The life of a tree measured in hundreds, if not a thousand of years, and the life of the forest measured in a thousand generations of these ancient beings. I also considered the wood that made the guitar, the wood of the floor we were sat on and the vast areas of forest lost from this planet in my short lifetime. I wonder do we deserve such beautiful things as forests or the music of Geoff Robb. I wonder can music heal this planet and help us find a way to honour nature not destroy it.
Geoff’s music glistens like a drop of rain slipping from the tip of a Hazel leaf. The notes of his guitar dance like the shards of light scattered in the canopy of a breeze swaying Birch. A masterful fusion of classical and folk that soothes the soul.
Catch a show if you can and add a bit of tree magic to your life. We all need that.