One novel way to spend the August Bank Holiday Monday is to head to the inaugural ‘Over the Hill’ festival at Cogges Manor farm. With a very strong focus on UK Americana and roots music, Over the Hill will host two stages in tithe barns on the day. Acts booked to appear at the festival are Danny & The Champions of the World, William the Conqueror, Ags Connolly, Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou, The Niall Kelly Band, Paul McClure and Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds (The Men They Couldn’t Hang) with The Ramshackle Band.
Local, award-winning brewer Wychwood Brewery will provide liquid refreshment, while authentic American food from vendors such as The Burn Out BBQ and Fat Lil’s will make available a selection of Mexican and vegetarian cuisine. There will also be the chance to discover the whole of the Cogges Museum site: the 17th century Manor House and its links to the Downtown Abbey period drama, the orchard and courtyard. Some details below on the acts booked for Over the Hill:
Danny & the Champions of the World. Never easy to categorise as folk, soul, alt-rock, country or Americana, one thing’s for certain and it’s that Danny and the Champions of the World have forged their own unique furrow since they formed in 2007, while Danny Wilson is surely one of the most under-rated songwriters in the UK. Over the course of six studio albums, Danny and the Champs have earned themselves a reputation as a force to be reckoned with and their devotion to the live circuit is legendary. In 2016, the band dominated the inaugural UK Americana Awards, winning UK Artist of the Year, UK Album of the Year for ‘What Kind of Love’ and UK Song of the Year for ‘Clear Water’. In 2017, Danny and the Champs released their magnum opus, ‘Brilliant Light’. Of their latest album, AUK said it had “the makings of a finely balanced body of work that is a credit to Danny, producer Chris Clarke and all the many who have contributed to this terrific example of collaborative working at its best.”
William The Conqueror. West country trio William The Conqueror have been making steady inroads on the Americana scene for a few years now and their reputation has been further enhanced with the release in February of their latest album ‘Bleeding On The Soundtrack’ which came out on Loose Music. The band is headed by singer-songwriter Ruarri Joseph, alongside his close musical conspirators Harry Harding (drums) and Naomi Holmes (bass). Joseph released a number of albums ten years ago under his own name and was quite a favourite on the folk scene, but William The Conqueror are altogether a different beast. Blues-driven riffs, building beautifully to full-on glorious crescendos, this is a band that utilises all three musicians to their full potential. Their sound is simple yet completely mesmeric. There is a certain bond between these guys that has clearly been built on the road. While ‘Bleeding On The Soundtrack’ has met with high praise, their live shows are also wowing audiences and helping to build their fan base. AUK said of a recent performance that “In the modern era of music streaming, where all but the super successful appear left with endless touring as a way to make a living, it’s proving ever harder to tip whose likely to succeed. However, William the Conqueror appear better placed than most – with their combination of rock, indie, Americana and grunge – to break through to the mainstream.”
Ags Connolly. A traditional country singer-songwriter from Oxfordshire, Ags is a proud supporter of the ‘Ameripolitan’ movement, which supports new music with a traditional roots influence. Ags attempted to write songs for years, and eventually found the confidence to take the process seriously after attending a workshop with Nashville super-musician Darrell Scott. Since then he’s built a reputation as an inspired songwriter at major festivals and as a constant presence on the touring circuit. His debut album, ‘How About Now’, was released in 2014, receiving rave reviews, with Country Music People magazine describing him as “the closest we’ve ever come to an English Willie Nelson”. Ags’ second album, ‘Nothin’ Unexpected’, was released in 2017 and received similar acclaim, with Country Music People magazine declaring him as “the best singer-songwriter in the country field that this country has ever turned out”.
Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou. Hastings-based husband and wife folk duo Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou recently released their fifth album, ‘Fair Lady London’. Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou are renowned for adopting an unconventional approach to touring, previous gigs having been undertaken in village hills, tabernacle churches, working men’s clubs and canal boats. Their latest record was recorded on an old Tascam 4-track recorder in a castle in East Sussex – preferring the ‘head space’ of such an arrangement over the more fussy and formal environs of a studio. While adopting a DIY approach to recording, AUK’s review of their latest record said, “there’s nothing amateur sounding about the professionalism of this highly crafted effort, whose songs and melodies are destined to live long in the memory.
Tickets for the festival are available here.