Singer travels across the pond to play in hometown of idol George Formby

Dean Friedman visited George Formby's statue
Dean Friedman visited George Formby's statue

A singer-songwriter from across the pond is looking forward to playing in Wigan as he is a fan of one of the town’s best-known artistic exports.

American musician Dean Friedman is playing at The Old Courts in May as part of a marathon 37-date jaunt across the British Isles as he embarks on his fifth decade in music.

And he cannot wait to perform in the town as he is a big enthusiast for ukulele player, singer and actor George Formby.

In fact, on a previous trip to the area he detoured to Wigan to have a picture taken with the statue of the famous performer in the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre.

Dean said: “It’s my first time in Wigan but one of my favourite photos from the last couple of tours is the selfie I took standing next to the George Formby statue.

“I’m a huge fan of his wry, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, deft performing on the banjolele and all his classic songs.

“I had thought about covering one of his songs in Wigan but I’m not sure how people would react to hearing about cleaning windows or waiting for a little lady to come by in my New York accent.”

Dean, who last year marked his 40th anniversary in the entertainment business, is no stranger to the North West having previously been brought to The Turnpike Centre in Leigh for a gig where he played the venue’s Steinway.

His one-man show at the Crawford Street arts hub will see him switch between piano and guitar and should involve some of his best-known hits alongside a number of album tracks he plays live more rarely.

His four-decade recording career includes classic hits such as Lucky Stars, Lydia, McDonald’s Girl, Ariel and Woman of Mine and his most recent album, 12 Songs, was fan-funded.

And he says he enjoys travelling and meeting his legion of fans in Britain as much as he ever did.

He said: “I’ve always had appreciative and enthusiastic audiences so that makes the long commute worthwhile.

“Everyone seems to enjoy themselves and I have noticed that they tend to get a little more vocally enthusiastic the further north I go! By the time I get to Glasgow things are really kicking the rafters.

“It’s always fun to get up on stage and share my songs and tell stories. I’m grateful people are still willing to come and listen to me.

“I will certainly be playing all the radio hits and fan favourites but I’m going to take a bit of a deep dive into the studio albums. There’s a lot on my last album I’m really proud of and like to introduce to audiences too.”

Dean Friedman performs at The Old Courts in Wigan on May 1.

Tickets can be bought from either www.deanfriedman.com or through www.theoldcourts.com