Saturday, 28 February 2015


Coming Your Way

The Town Hall, Birmingham has a fine host of musicians gracing the ornate venue this month. Gretchen Peters will be on stage there on Saturday March 21, starting 8pm. 

Gretchen Peters
The blues/country singer is touring on the back of her latest album Blackbirds. Tickets are £21.50 and £26.50 plus the usual transaction fee which is £3 and which will be charged on all sales except when bought in person at the Town Hall or Symphony Hall Box office.
Veteran of the folk/acoustic circuit Joan Armatrading is coming home as part of her last major tour and she will be playing there on Wednesday March, 25 at the more usual time of 7.30pm. Unfortunately for those who haven't got their tickets the show is sold out, although it may be worth contacting the venue to see if there are any returns or cancellations.
Armatrading wants to assure her fans she is not retiring but is just stopping major tours after spending more than 40 years globe-trotting and gigging.
The Victoria Square venue then welcomes Irish songstress Cara Dillon who will be bringing her delicate and silken tones to the hall on Friday March, 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £21 plus the usual transaction fee unless bought in person from the venue.
Dillon is featured on the soundtrack to the Disney animation,Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue which has been officially released on CD for the first time. The music was composed and conducted by the award-winning composer Joel McNeely and features two songs from Cara. She sings the opening track to the movie called Summer's Just Begun and also a beautiful lullaby called Come Flying With Me.
The Norther Ireland singer has also been nominated for Folk Singer Of The Year at  this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

The Unthanks
Militant folk band the Levellers, are bringing a multi-media experience to the Warwick Arts Centre with A Curious Life, which is both a film screening and a live performance. They are bringing their show to the Butterworth Hall at the site on Sunday March 1, starting 8pm. Tickets are £21 in advance or £24 on the night. Please note there is an age restriction and no one under 15 is allowed.
At the same venue a week later are sister act Becky and Rachel better known as The Unthanks, who are now touring on the back of their new album Mount the Air and they will be playing there Sunday March 8. The show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £19.

Singer/songwriter Gren Bartley is releasing his latest album this month called Magnificent Creatures and you can see him perform at the Woodman Folk Club which meets at Ashwood Marina, Kingswinford on Friday March 6. Members pay £6 and non members £1 more. The doors open at 8pm and the show starts around 8.30pm.
The following week on March 13, banjo virtuoso - if there is such a thing, Dan Walsh is on stage there. Entry is  £6 for members and £1 more for non-members. Walsh also has a new album out on March 16, called Incidents and Accidents. The following night he moves north to play the Gatehouse, Stafford. Tickets are £10 right across the board and the show starts at 8pm.
If he is good enough to be privately hired by Madonna then the friendly crowd at the Woodman should appreciate acclaimed acoustic musician Clive Carroll who will be playing there on March 20 The show starts at the usual time and tickets are £10 for members and £1 more for non members.
Traditional musician and musical arranger Nick Dow is coming to the canal side venue on March 27, tickets are £5 for members and again £1 more for non members.

Kelly Oliver
A folk singer whose star is definitely on the rise, she seems to be almost everywhere, is Kelly Oliver who will be sharing the bill at the Common Folk Club, with Nigel Bullock on March 19 from 8.30pm. The club meets at the Pelsall Cricket & Sports Club in Walsall.

Heading back to the Second City, Red Lion Folk Club, King's Heath welcomes Black Country outfit Eddy Morton & the Bushburys on March 4. They will be supported by fellow Stourbridge blues man Sunjay Brayne. As on all shows, doors open 7.15pm for a 7.45pm start. Tickets are £11 and can vary depending upon whether you are a member and if you buy online.
On March 11 one of the busiest and in demand female folk artists Nancy Kerr & Sweet Visitor Band will perform there. Kerr is nominated for best folk singer and best album at the BBC Radio2 Folk Awards. She will also be touring later on in the year with Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting on the back of a new album they have put together called Murmurs. Tickets for the Red Lion gig are £13. They will be supported by Si Barron
They are followed by Reg Meuross & Jess Vincent who are at the venue on March 18 and tickets are £12.
The following meeting, on March 25, welcomes Peter Coe & Alice Jones who have an album out together called The Search for Five Finger Frank. Tickets are £11 and support comes from Take Two who are David Rolfe and Kevin Arnold.

Eddi Reader
You may remember her as the distinctive voice of Fairground Attraction but Eddi Reader has been carving out a career on the folk/acoustic circuit for many years now and she will be performing at Biddulph Up in Arms, Staffs on March 28. Tickets are  £22.50 and doors open at 6pm, the show starts at 8pm. If you can't wait until then she will be performing at the Artrix, Bromsgrove on March 22, the show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are again £22.50.

The MAC Birmingham is a great place to see some of the top folk artists and three of the best, (Mike)McGoldrick, (John)McCusker & (John)Doyle are there on the very first day of the month unfortunately the theatre concert is sold out but it may be worth contacting the venue to see if there are any returns or cancellations.
The venue plays host to Peter Knight’s Gigspanner on March 5. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £15 or £13 with concessions.
Folk veteran Bob Fox is bringing his War Horse Songman Tour to the venue on Friday March 13 with the show starting this time at 8pm. Tickets are £14  and £12 with concessions.
Fox has played the role of Songman in War Horse for the past three years and you can join him as he performs the songs from the multi-award winning production, with additional material from his own repertoire.
Towards the end of the month on March 28 The Furrow Collective will be on stage and the show starts at 8pm, tickets are £12 or £10 with concessions.
The collective which consists of Emily Portman, Alasdair Roberts, Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton, has been nominated for two awards in this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. They are up for Best Group and Best Traditional Track for Handsome Molly. The awards take place in Cardiff on the 22nd April. You can read more about the nominations here.

Duo Stu  and Debbie Hannah better known as Megson will be playing at the Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford on March 2. They are in the Met Studio and tickets are £12.50 or £10 with concessions. The show starts at 8pm.
Folk legends Steeleye Span are playing the venue on March 14. Tickets are £20 or £17.50 with concessions. The show starts at 7.30pm.

The Fureys have been around for nearly 40 years and are still going strong and you can see them at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham on March 12. Tickets are £23.90 plus a £2.85 transaction fee and theatre card holders pay £21.The show starts at 7.30pm. They are also playing The Gatehouse, Stafford on March 22. The show starts are 7.30pm and tickets are £19 or £17.50 with concessions.

O'hooley & Tidow will be playing at the Talbot Theatre, Whitchurch Leisure Centre on March 13. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are £12 or £10 with concessions.They will be staying in Shropshire for their next gig at Birchmeadow Centre, Broseley the following night on March 14. Depending on how you buy them, tickets range from £9 to £10. Doors open 7.30pm.

Phil Beer
Well known on the folk circuit is one of half of Show of Hands, Phil Beer and his band, will be playing at the Artrix,Bromsgrove on March 14. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are £16 or £15
with concessions.

The Robin2 in Bilston, Wolverhampton is playing host to Oysterband on March 24. Tickets are £16 in advance and £18 on the night.
Multi-talented Seth Lakeman is bringing his solo show to the Slade Rooms, Broad Street, Wolverhampton on March 22. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are £16.50 including booking fee.
Acclaimed Scottish singer Ewan McLennan will play the Stourbridge Folk Club which is held at Katie Fitzgerald's on March 19.Tickets are £8 in advance and £10 on the night.

Musician, songwriter and dry wit Chris Wood will be playing the Kitchen Garden Cafe, King's Heath, Birmingham on March 15. Tickets are £15 and as for all shows doors open 7.30pm with Wood on stage at 8pm. At the same venue on March 19 four piece, acoustic, Belfast band Craobh Rua take to the stage, tickets are £10 and there is an option of an Irish supper. The venue then welcomes Lucy Ward on her solo tour on March 22, tickets are £10.


The 2015 BBC Radio2 Folk Awards nominees have now been announced and the winners will be announced at the ceremony on Wednesday April 22 at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff. The awards will be broadcast live from 7.30pm-10pm on Radio 2. The nominees in each category are:
Folk Singer Of The Year: Cara Dillon, Julie Fowlis, Nancy Kerr and Jez Lowe.
Best Duo: Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, O’Hooley & Tidow, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Chris While & Julie Matthews
Best Group: Bellowhead, The Furrow Collective, The Gloaming and The Young ‘Uns.
Best Album: Fair Warning – The Rails, Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour – Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Sweet Visitor – Nancy Kerr, The Moral Of The Elephant – Martin & Eliza Carthy and Tincian – 9Bach
Horizon Award: Ange Hardy, Maz O’Connor, Stick In The Wheel and The Rails 
Musician of the Year: Martin Green, Will Pound, Sam Sweeney and Kathryn Tickell
Best Original Song: Swim To The Star – Peggy Seeger/Calum MacColl (performed by Peggy Seeger), The Necklace Of Wrens – Michael Hartnett (performed by The Gloaming), The Pitmen Poets – Jez Lowe and The Spider And The Wolf – Paul Simmonds (performed by Naomi Bedford)
Best Traditional Track: Bedlam – Stick In The Wheel, Handsome Molly – The Furrow Collective, Manus Mo Rùin – Cruinn and Samhradh Samhradh – The Gloaming
BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award:  Cup O’Joe, Roseanne Reid, Talisk and Wildwood Kin.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement awards will go to Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Loudon Wainwright III and the new inductee into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame will be Ewan MacColl.

The Staves are celebrating the launch of their new album, If I Was, with two special shows at the Wilton's Music Hall both of which are sold out. The plan is to play the whole of their new album from start to finish.

Shropshire folk instrumental band Whalebone are staging music workshops. The band is putting on an All instruments Workshop on March1. The classes are held at Wenlock Pottery, Shropshire. The cost is £70 per person, which includes all course materials and refreshments on arrival, a hot meal at lunchtime and tea and cake in the afternoon. The day runs from 10.30am to 5pm. For more info, please email or call Steve on 01746 765268.

Ange Hardy has been nominated for the Horizon Award at this year's BBC folk awards. She is also in the process of putting together her fourth album Esteesee, pronounced STC, the initials of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The album will include guest musicians such as Patsy Reid on fiddle, viola and cello, Lukas Drinkwater on double bass, Alex Cummings on accordion, Jo May, percussion, Kate Rouse, hammered dulcimer, Steve Pledger, backing vocals and David Milton, the Watchet town crier.
The songs for the project are being written with the support of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It will involve writing and presenting an evening of music inspired by Coleridge, with plans in place to tour the evening over 14 nights along the route of The Coleridge Way in October 2015.

Cambridge Folk Festival has announced its line-up which includes legendary folk singer and activist Joan Baez, in her only UK appearance for 2015; international chart-topper Passenger; Frank Turner; Joan Armatrading, accompanying herself on guitar and piano; Australian roots band John Butler Trio; Nick Mulvey; R&B guitarist Wilko Johnson.
You can also add to this impressive list The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; The Unthanks; Show of Hands; Katzenjammer; Altan; Treacherous Orchestra; Danù; Shooglenifty; Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting & Nancy Kerr; Peggy Seeger; Bella Hardy; Amsterdam Klezmer Band; The Lone Bellow; Chris Smither; Angaleena Presley; Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker; Jim Moray's Silent Ceilidh; Keston Cobblers Club;The Stray Birds; Rura; Goitse; De Temps Antan  and Lynched.

Bromyard Folk Festival which runs from September 11- 13 has also announced its line up so far and it includes
Breabach, Gerry Colvin Band, John DoyleNew Rope String Band, The Young’Uns Trio,
Emma Sweeney, Allan Yn Y FanThe Hut People, SpeldosaGranny’s Attic, Alex Cumming and Nicola Beazley, Mick Ryan and Paul Downes, Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman, Keith Donnelly, Niamh Boadle, Vera van Heeringen, Flossie Malavialle, Ursula Holden-Gill, Peter and Barbara Snape, Bordewey/Young Band, Roisin Ban, David Swann, The Bountyhounds, Gareth Lee and Annie Baylis, Floot Street, 4 Square, Barry Goodman, Kristy Gallacher, Jim Mageean, Soft Option, Kiss The Mistress and The Falconers.

The Shrewsbury Folk Festival which runs from August 20-31 has also pretty much completed its line-up which includes Amadou DiagneBarra MacNeilsBlowzabellaCatrin Finch & Seckou KeitaFalse LightsFloridaFolk NationsFran McGillivray & Mike Burke BandGlorystrokesGordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm BoysGranny’s AtticGren BartleyHarareJack HarrisJohn Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers, Jonathan Byrd and the SentimentalsKate RusbyLa Bottine SourianteLiam Robinson BandLucy WardMary Humphreys & AnahataMawkinNancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor BandNew Rope String BandO’Hooley & TidowOysterbandPatsy ReidPaula RyanPeatbog FaeriesPivaRichard Thompson Electric TrioRoss Ainslie & Jarlath HendersonSharon ShannonSpooky Men’s ChoraleSteve KnightleyTen Strings & A Goat SkinThe Boundless BrothersThe Roaring TrowmenThe TeacupsThe Ukulele Orchestra of Great BritainThe WilsonsThe Young’unsVertical ExpressionWhapweasel and Winter Wilson

Three of Britain’s finest musicians acknowledged as a virtuoso in their own rights, Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr have come together for a collaborative album called Murmurs which will be released on Topic Records on June 8.

Fairport Convention also have a new album out, Myths And Heroes which is full of new material.
The album features 13 tracks some by old friends such as Ralph McTell, Rob Beattie, PJ Wright and Anna Ryder plus compositions from Fairport's own Chris Leslie and Ric Sanders. Myths and Heroes will be released digitally on March 1 and then through the usual outlets.

Folkstock Records' second compilation, under The F Spot Femmes Fatales banner, features a collection of impressive female singer/songwriters, including BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominated Peggy Seeger, Daria Kulesh and Maz O'Connor. The album's coming out on International Women's Day, March 8.
Also releasing new albums this month are Joan Baez who brings out Diamonds on March 9 and Bella Hardy who releases With The Dawn on March 30. Fantastic fiddle player Tom Kitching releases his Interloper album on March 2 and on the same date Norwegian four-piece indie/folk Katzenjammer put out their Rockland album.
Midlander Rich McMahon releases his Songs of Exile, Love & Dissent on March 9 and the night before he will be playing at the Kitchen Garden Cafe, King's Heath, Birmingham. Tickets are £5 and doors open 7.30 with the show starting 8pm. Bringing a distinctive and diverse sound to the music scene are Devon duo India Electric Co who release their The Girl I Left Behind Me album on March 30.

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