Justin Hayward, legendary singer-songwriter and one of the main creative forces in Birmingham band the Moody Blues, returns to city in October in support of his latest album release All The Way. The possessor of one of the most recognisable voices in rock, Justin will be performing new songs from the album as well as Moody Blues favourites when he visits Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday 5th October, writes Geoff Ford.
It’s two years since the Moody’s played their home city and four since Justin appeared on a solo tour. “Live Nation offered me this tour and I enjoy doing these solo tours, as well as the Moody’s,” Justin told me recently. “We are now three gigs into the Wind Of Heaven Tour and it’s going very nicely. I don’t know how long I am going to be able to do it, at my age. I have to look to that, so while my voice is still there and I’m loving every minute of it.
“I bring a lot of my own guitars, the guitars that I actually use on the records and, in this style of show which is mostly acoustic, it’s exactly as the songs were written. I wanted to recreate that sound of my original demos, so I’m bringing out the guitars that I actually wrote the songs on, which is nice.
“I’m working with two wonderful musicians, a brilliant young guitar player called Mike Dawes, worth the price of admission all on his own! I go out and watch him every night! I’ve never seen anyone play guitar like him. And Julie Ragins, a keyboard virtuoso, a multi-instrumentalist, really and a brilliant vocalist and recording artist in her own right. It’s a joy for me a lovely show.
I suggested it was that joy from live performances that kept him so keen to stay on the road. “I think so – I never had a proper job!” he laughed. “I wouldn’t know how to do anything else!”
Justin’s All The Way album includes the widely acclaimed single The Wind of Heaven, a heartfelt song about a wounded warrior who has left his soul on the battlefield and is having a difficult time adjusting to being home. The song is dedicated to all of those who have served their country.
2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Moody’s first album with Justin, Days of Future Past. Although they were unaware, this was one of the most important albums of its time, paving the way for a whole generation of progressive musicians to break down creative barriers.
“I look forward to singing and playing new songs and old songs, particularly Forever Autumn, which I only get to perform in my solo show, and The Wind Of Heaven from the forthcoming movie, and also to tell the real stories behind all the songs and the events that surrounded them at the time.”
Justin Hayward, The Wind Of Heaven Tour visits Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday 5 October at 7.30pm. Tickets priced £36.50 – £40.50, inc. per ticket commission.