Martyn Joseph never disappoints. The charismatic Welshman – in turn intense, compassionate, passionate, angry, resolute and challenging – produced yet another compelling gig.

Folk royalty, he also wrings more sound from a single guitar than seems physically possible as he rails about the world’s injustices.

Joseph, now in his fourth decade as a performer, is pretty much uncategorisable, always performs from the heart and never forgets his Celtic roots.

Labelling him the ‘Welsh Springsteen’ may be pretty hackneyed now but is still accurate – the blue collar guy actively campaigning for multiple causes.

However, it was a slightly different Joseph here at Bournemouth Folk Club where he played two high-quality 45-minutes sets.

Performing on a small stage in the ornate surroundings of St Ambrose Church and beautifully lit from the side, which emphasised the darkness of the altar area behind him, was a more introspective performer.

His 23rd and latest studio album was released last week – 11 eclectic tracks showcasing his innate ability to say the right thing above fantastic melodies.

Named 1960 after his birth year, he described the album – which germinated during the long off-road lockdowns – as his most personal for many decades, soul-searching and even therapy.

He spoke and sang longingly about family, childhood, loss and regret.

Thus we had the emotional Shadow Boxing about a rare moment when his beloved father – who bought him his first guitar – emerged briefly from the pit of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Felt So Much described holidays to the south of France in the mid-60s, lying on the back seat of the family Renault looking at the sky, and Born Too Late had Joseph wishing he had been able to join the likes of songwriting royalty Joni Mitchell and Crosby Stills Nash and Young in Laurel Canyon, California in 1971.

The personal touch continued with older tracks such as Driving Her Back To London, about ferrying his daughter back to university, parenting and emptiness. The old uni road trip is a rich seam for folkies with Chris Wood and John Hiatt among others exploring similar themes.

Of course, there was still plenty of time for the campaigning ‘miserable Welshman’ (his description) we know and love. Hence the apposite Here Come The Young, about how the next generation will change the world, and Nye – his tribute to the NHS’s founding father.

The Springsteenesque Lonely Like America segued into Dancing In The Dark and I Searched For You was as sublime as ever while Joseph rocked out with the bluesy This Glass.

So, immaculate song choices, a fully committed performance, musicianship like there were three guitarists on stage and even an anecdote about a family holiday in Bournemouth in ‘73 when he was treated to a Max Bygraves show at the Winter Gardens and True Grit at the cinema.

His closing numbers included the haunting Let Yourself – after which his charity trust was named (and which has raised £500,000 for 14 good causes around the world in just seven years).

Following this he sang Turn Me Tender unmiced in the middle aisle and finished with Wichita Lineman, his tribute to Glen Campbell – the man who got him started in this business.

The final gig in this year’s season will be the Jackie Oates Trio on Saturday December 18. Jackie, who has worked with the likes of John Spiers, Rachel Unthank, The Imagined Village and Show of Hands, will be joined by double bassist John Parker and accordionist/pianist Mike Cosgrove for a Christmas show.

Next spring’s season has also been announced. It features award-winning British singer-songwriter and guitarist Blair Dunlop, with Ellie Gowers, on March 12, India Electric Co on April 9 and popular duo Megson on May 14.

Tickets are on sale now, varying from £15 to £16. For more information or to book, visit