Knight & Spiers, Junction 2, Cambridge, 6th March 2018

The last gig of the City Roots Festival was, fittingly enough, the folkiest gig of the festival. Sure, there had been the likes of Sam Kelley with his mixture of new and re-arranged traditional songs, but this combination of Peter Knight, previously with Steeleye Span, on fiddle and melodeon maestro John Spiers brought a poignant purity to their playing. Their two sets drew heavily on the duo’s new album, ‘Well Met’, which features instrumental versions of several songs as well as dance tunes – mostly hornpipes – old and new. Continue reading “Knight & Spiers, Junction 2, Cambridge, 6th March 2018”

Wildwood Kin, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 4th March 2018

Wildwood Kin were opening this City Roots Festival gig for Ward Thomas – who would go on to give their expected high gloss pop-country set with only one real surprise to it, that it ran for a shade less than an hour. Wildwood Kin however did their half an hour with as little fuss as possible – the three piece of sisters Emillie on guitar and Beth on bouzouki and keyboards with their cousin Meg between them on a stripped down drum kit suitable for playing standing up. Championed by Bob Harris, Wildwood Kin have toured and recorded with folk hero and fellow Devonian Seth Lakeman, as well as taking support slots with the likes of The Stereophonics. Continue reading “Wildwood Kin, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 4th March 2018”

Tom Robinson, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 1st March 2018

Tom Robinson’s headline mid-week concert was presented as part of the ongoing City Roots Festival, an offshoot of the Cambridge Folk Festival which is presented at several venues across the city in late February and early March. It’s only in the second year of running but has again had an excellent set of gigs lined up. Tonight is, of course, a homecoming gig for local boy Robinson, although judging from the audience there aren’t too many of his youthful contemporaries knocking about. It also marks twenty five years since he played the Cambridge Folk Festival – so a lot of potential points of resonance at the Corn Exchange. Continue reading “Tom Robinson, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 1st March 2018”

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 5th February 2017

This gig was the last of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s UK tour, and was also a first weekend highlight for the inaugural City Roots festival running across many venues in Cambridge as a week-long winter spin-off from the annual Cambridge Folk Festival. All the big gigs for this festival are at the centrally situated Corn Exchange which – unlike the Junction (the only other large venue in town) – is well set up for large seated audiences. Continue reading “Mary Chapin Carpenter, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 5th February 2017”

Transatlantic Sessions, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 7th February 2017

Photo: Murdo Macleod

The Transatlantic Sessions have become an eagerly awaited annual event which sees Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham joined by an ever changing array of talents from the folk and Americana scenes on both sides of the Atlantic. Which this year means the likes of Tift Merritt and John Paul White amongst others. The format couldn’t be simpler, it’s “let’s play one of mine – let’s play one of yours – let’s do one we all know” and then repeat for a couple of hours. Continue reading “Transatlantic Sessions, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 7th February 2017”