Texas Troubadours: Chuck Hawthorne, Libby Koch & Rachel Laven, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 1st August 2017

These three Texan singer/songwriters played their third show of a lengthy UK and Ireland trip throughout August in a handsome Victorian bar in Glasgow. It was a freewheeling night with all three on stage for a song each before each went on to do a solo set with the night culminating in all three performing together. The set up allowed each individual’s skills to shine while the interaction throughout the night was a joy to behold. Continue reading “Texas Troubadours: Chuck Hawthorne, Libby Koch & Rachel Laven, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 1st August 2017”

Rainbrother, Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st July 2017

Paper Dress Vintage is a relatively new venue in Hackney, downstairs is a vintage clothing shop cum bar, by day upstairs is more clothing and a yoga studio but by night it’s an intimate venue to catch a mix of new and upcoming bands as well as the occasional better known visitor. Like Rainbrother. Continue reading “Rainbrother, Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st July 2017”

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017

Every festival, everywhere, delivers a special moment or two, things that it will be remembered for in years to come.  This year’s Cambridge Folk Festival was no different, with two hugely significant moments.

The first was the sad death of Joan Woollard a few days before the start of the festival.  The widow of Ken Woollard, who started the festival back in 1965 and was its director until his death in 1993, she was a huge folk music fan and hugely instrumental in helping Ken establish and run it.  A round of applause from the crowd on Saturday night in the main stage marquee and a lower key singaround by Ken’s commemorative bench on Sunday were fitting tributes.

The second took place on Friday, when the entire main stage bill was female, as were the comperes.  No tokenism here, the artistic ability and commercial clout of all nine acts meant that their slots were completely merited.  There has been much debate about female musicians, or rather the lack of them, on festival bills generally and Cambridge showed that in its 52nd year it can still show the way to other events in any genre and the programmer, Bev Burton, deserves massive props. Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017”

Indigo Girls, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29th July 2017

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers took to the stage to rapturous applause and resounding cheers.  It’s been eight years since they last toured the UK and it was clear that the Indigo Girls had been missed as they launched into Fighting For The Love Of Our Lives, an upbeat number with lovely harmonies. For the next song, Ozilline, they were joined onstage by Lucy Wainwright Roche, who contributed on and off throughout the evening. This was followed by one of the many highlights of the evening and a clear crowd favourite, Fill It Up Again. A mesmerising song with entwined vocals that exuded feel good vibes. Continue reading “Indigo Girls, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29th July 2017”

Summertyne Americana Festival – Sunday, Free Stages, The Sage – Gateshead, 23rd July 2017

On the banks of the Tyne stands the silver bauble that is the Sage, its otherworldly structure home this weekend to some world class performers, surely covered elsewhere on these pages. The bit that always interests me is the free stuff, not just because I’ve been living in Yorkshire a long time, but because it’s always a source of some of the most interesting and new bands. Continue reading “Summertyne Americana Festival – Sunday, Free Stages, The Sage – Gateshead, 23rd July 2017”

John Murry + Lucas & King, St Mary’s Church, Guildford, 22nd July 2017

Upon arriving at the cobbled graveyard front entrance of St Mary’s church (with the support act having already begun) I could see looking at me in the shadows, by the corner of his tour van, the top-hatted and dark coated, pale thin features of John Murry. Sadistically I felt like requesting that he walk to the church’s rear side where a crowd of backpacked American students were investigating, selfie-ing & photo bombing. The gothic haunted vision of Murry would no doubt have provided them with the exact image they possibly sought. Their biggest surprise however would’ve been finding out this Dickensian non-ghost was actually from their very own shores. Continue reading “John Murry + Lucas & King, St Mary’s Church, Guildford, 22nd July 2017”

The Hellfire Club, The Troubadour London, 20th July 2017

Full credit to sound guy Stacey, the venue owners and the staff for their enthusiastic running of this basement bar of a music venue in London’s West Brompton, the easy option to have the premises solely as a bohemian cafe/bar in the increasingly by the day gentrified area. First of the acoustic support acts is Elliot Pritchard with a very fine vocal and mix of earnest songwriter with British indie melodies. He was followed by Anglo Aussie duo Hux whose dual guitar upbeat riffing combined with fine harmonies was received well by the sold out crowd. The Headliners, the Glasgow based Hellfire Club can only yearn for a wide stage but tonight the eight piece (vocals/guitars/bass/drum/keys/fiddle/saxophone) daren’t move too much due to the small stage limitations. Continue reading “The Hellfire Club, The Troubadour London, 20th July 2017”

Maverick Festival, Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, 30th June-2nd July 2017

Ten years and ‘still kickin’’ according to this year’s t-shirt, Maverick is THE festival on the Americana calendar. it’s the one everyone wants to play and the yard stick by which other festivals  have measured themselves (and been inspired by). Now firmly branded as ‘Americana & Roots’ it started using the much missed tag ‘alt country’. With three indoor (well in tractor sheds and barns) stages and an afternoon outdoor stage on which Albert Lee was the headline its family friendly, with good chow and a hotch-potch of stalls. It’s only failing is its early close every night. Continue reading “Maverick Festival, Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, 30th June-2nd July 2017”

Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017

It’s a big room for the ‘bard from Bedford’, resplendent in a suitably showbiz spangling top. Danni Nichol is comfortable in a room that houses both the UK snooker championships and Amy MacDonald in a few weeks.  Bluesy, Gospelly, there is a wonderful grace to her voice and her tales of Nashville, along with Beautifully Broken from Mockingbird Lane, and some spontaneous sing-a-longs proves her to be the perfect warm-up and it can’t be long before she plays places like this in her own right. Continue reading “Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017”

Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017

Suffolk is such a green place when you live in treeless Yorkshire, every time I stray there I feel the inner workings of my soul refreshed.  Normally I wander that way once a year for Maverick, but this year it’s two journeys in a month, for the three day Red Rooster Festival is on the cards.  The first thing I notice is the amount of camper vans and caravans vs tents, a 50:50 split suggests this is an older, more affluent crowd. Continue reading “Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017”