Thursday 25 June 2015




Festival season is well under way and among the first is the 36th Warwick Folk Festival which is being held over July 23-26 with Billy Bragg headlining. He is opening the event on the Thursday night along with Spa Strummers, The Folly Brothers and John McIntosh.

Billy Bragg
This is followed on the Friday night by a line up which includes The Demon Barbers XL, The Wilsons, Melrose Quartet, Kerr Fagan, Megson, Keith Donnelly, Boundless Brothers, Jeff Warner, Dearest Home, Bordewey and Young, Spa Strummers, Tom Lewis, Jess Morgan, Jim Mageean, Emma and the Professor, Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing, Kristy Gallacher, Floot Street, Graeme Knights, The Harvesters, The Arrowsmiths, Winter Wilson, Anna Ryder, Elliott Morris, Alistair Brown, Deborah Ellis, Simon Care All Stars, Liam Robinson, Sweet Felons All, Sharp As Razors, Ray Padgett, John Morris, John Leo Carter, Dragonhead, Coventry Comhaltas, Rob Halligan, The Ship Band and Cork Folk Festival.

The Saturday line up includes Nancy Kerr and The Sweet Visitor Band, Lil' Jimmy Reed Band, The Wilsons, Barluath, The Young’Uns, The Will Pound Band, Elbow Jane, Kerr Fagan, Roy Bailey, Keith Donnelly, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, The Mischa MacPherson Trio, Boundless Brothers, Tilt, Dearest Home, Les Barker, Bordewey and Young, Stylusboy, Ashley Hutchings, Barry Tierney, Tom Lewis, Roseanna Ball, Jess Morgan, Jim Mageean, Emma and the Professor, Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing, Kristy Gallacher, Floot Street, Graeme Knights, The Harvesters, The Folly Brothers, The Arrowsmiths, Julie Neale, Winter Wilson, Anna Ryder, Bob and Les Robson and Phil Gregg, Bill Bates, Elliott Morris, Bianco Barbershop Quartet, Mairi Campbell and Granny’s Attic.

Performers on Sunday include, A Moving Sound, The Wilsons, Barluath, The Young'uns, Elbow Jane, Kerr Fagan, Wildfire Folk, Polly Barrett, Keith Donnelly, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, The Mischa McPherson Trio, Boundless Brothers, Tilt, Jeff Warner, Dearest Home, Warwick Folk Festival Choir, Bordewey and Young, Stylusboy, Spa Strummers, Tom Lewis, Jess Morgan, Jim Mageean, Emma and the Professor, Matt Hernandez, Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing, Kristy Gallacher, Floot Street, Graeme Knights, The Harvesters, The Folly Brothers, The Arrowsmiths, Lucy Anne Sale, Julie Neale, Winter Wilson, Anna Ryder, Bob and Les Robson and Phil Gregg, Bill Bates, Elliott Morris, Bianco Barbershop Quartet, Granny's Attic, Bonzo & Doris, The Drystones and Alistair Brown.

There will be plenty of other performers and artists entertaining as part of the festival with Ceilidhs from Simon Care All Stars, Liam Robinson, Toothless Mary, Martyn Harvey, Peeping Tom, Ben Robinson and Cate Lee. There will also be storytelling, workshops and talks, family activities and the fringe events.

Other musicians, performers and groups involved in the festival include, The Ship Band, Alkevan, The Bard of Windmill Hill, Chester and the Fog, Daisybell, Doc Rowe, Bob Hall and Hilary Blythe, Bruce Knight, Patrick Ryan, Sly Old Dogs, Graham Sutherland, The Ollie West Band, The Willow and Tool Band, Dan Gascoigne, Greg Chapman, Jim McDonald, John McIntosh, Ken Hall, Maggie Coleman, One More Night, Paul Tobin, Sheila Lum, Speake & Lowe, Terry Concannon, The Original Members, The Quiet Men, Thrup’nny Bits, Ward and Bailey, Tuneworks, Peter Farrier, Glamba Theatrical Percussion Group, Vic Minett Show BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Live Broadcast, Sambassadors of Groove, Sat Dhaiwal, Quigley’s Favourites, Steamchicken, Jamie McCoan, Toothless Mary, Peeping Tom. Martyn Harvey, Ben Robinson, Hand to Mouth Theatre, Handy Lanterns, Panic Circus, Pat Arrowsmith, MichCatt and Friends, Wyld Thyngz, Barefoot Bellydance, Belchamp Morris Men, Belle D’Vain Morris, Black Swan Rapper, Bradshaw Mummers, Chinewrde Morris, Customs & Exiles, Earlsdon Morris Men, Hereburgh Morris, Ironmen and Severn Gilders, Ouse Washes Molly Dancers, Plum Jerkum Border Morris, Sheffield Steel Rapper, Soft Option, Strictly Clog, Toronto Morris Men, Windsor Morris, Witchmen, Wakefield Morris.

If you can't wait until then the Bromsgrove Folk club has the solution with the Pre-Festival Singin & Suppin at The Bowling Green on July 9, it's an open evening with no charge.
This is to prepare all you folkies for Bromsgrove Folk Club's 24th Annual Folk Festival on July 10-12.
Blackbeard's Tea Party
The line up on the first night, Friday, which runs from 7.30 to 11.30pm  is Fairfield, Anthony John Clarke, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, Artisan, Blackbeard's Tea Party. Then on Saturday morning from 11am, there is a meet and greet session, dance demonstrations and entertainment in the mini-marquee. From 2-5pm you can enjoy Tosh EwinsThe LanersSunjay and Colum Sands.
The line up from 7.30pm is Mumbo-JumboKim Lowings & the GreenwoodBarlowCree, Colum Sands, Hat Fitz & Cara.
Sunday morning is pretty much the same as Saturday but this time includes The World Dry Foam Flinging Championship, someone has to do it. Then from 2.30pm until the end of the festival at 4.30pm Fairfield & Friends will entertain the crowds.
Also taking part will be Leon Gormley, Stitherum, Step on Board and Thirsty Work.

On a more singular note Rob Lane from Birmingham will be playing Shirley Red Lion Folk Club on July 17. Doors open 7.45 for an 8pm start.

Also Pete Shirley from Stoke-on-Trent is launching his debut CD Sunset Katy and Other Stories at the Biddulph Up In Arms, Biddulph on July 1. Entry is free and the doors open 7.30 for an 8pm start.

Country-folk singer,Transatlantic Sessions regular and multi-award winner, Mary Chapin Carpenter is playing Town Hall Birmingham on July 15 and if that wasn't enough she is supported by the talented Bella Hardy who has just released her latest album With The Dawn. Tickets are £27.50 plus a transaction fee of £3 which can be avoided if you buy the tickets in person from either the venue or Symphony Hall. Show starts at 7.30pm.

Andy Smith of
 Harp and a Monkey
If you fancy your folk with a twist then northern trio Harp and a Monkey should fit the bill. The group will be performing at The Met Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on July 6 from 8pm. Tickets are £10.50 or £9 with concessions.

Regulars to the Woodman Folk Club in Kingswinford will know hosts Derry and Debby Jones are members of Nothing To Prove and on July 3 there will be a showcase night to launch their second album, Unusual Suspects. The show starts around 8.30pm and entry for members is £4 and £5 for non-members. The club meets weekly at Ashwood Marina. However, it will be closed on July 10 because of the Bromsgrove Folk Festival (see above).
Then bringing in the club's summer break on July 17 will be Bev Pegg. Times are as above and entry for members is £6 and £7 for non-members.

The Clarendon pub, Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton will be hosting the second Folk Lounge festival organised by local singer/songwriter Faye Brookes. The event is on Friday July 3 and is part of  the Junction Festival of Contemporary Arts. Acts includeScruff Poets, Flatlands & Garage Flowers, The Retinal Circus, Shannon Wheatley and Daniel Peter Kirk.

Shropshire folk instrumentalists Whalebone will be bringing their particular brand of music to St George's Church, Radford Avenue, Kidderminster, Worcs DY10 2ES on Saturday, July 4 at 7.30pm.
Tickets in advance are £8 adult or £6 children or £10 and £8 on the night. For tickets call 01562 60370. 

Common Folk Folk Club Pelsall, which meets at Pelsall Cricket Club welcomes Bill Emmi & Pete Boddis plus Pete Kelly on July 9.

Sean Cannon of The Dubliners and more recently The Dublin Legends will be performing at Nuneaton Folk Club which meets on the first Wednesday of every month. Entry is free and the show starts at 8pm.


Said The Maiden
Said The Maiden have announced they are working on a lot of new songs, including some self-penned ditties, and will soon have enough new material to start putting together their second album. If you can't wait until then they will be releasing a four-track EP in the Autumn. The band will be setting up a pledgemusic campaign to help raise money for the EP, as well as a music video, new photos, and some merchandise.

By now you have no doubt heard that Bellowhead is breaking up and will be embarking on a farewell tour which includes gigs in the Midlands later in the year.

After the final tour of The Full English Fay Hield is recording a new album over summer for release in the winter, so do look out for snippets of films from rehearsals and other tasters of what is to come in Old Adam. Hield will be back with The Hurricane Party, including special guests Ben Nicholls and
percussionist Toby Kearney.

O'hooley and Tiddow are also releasing a secret new album. Summat's Brewin' is a collection of traditional, contemporary and self-penned drinking songs that explore society's fascination with drink, drinking and of course the real ale revolution. This will be a limited edition album of just 1,000 signed copies.

Rachel Sermanni
Rachel Sermanni will be releasing Tied To The Moon on July 10 with the first single, Tractor, available now. You can see the music video here.

Ralph McTell is returning to the Royal Albert Hall on May 12 next year, more than forty years since his first appearance.
With more than 300 songs under his belt, McTell varies his stage performances on each tour to include some of this vast repertoire among his new compositions, and requests from his audience.
It was the sheer number of requests sent in each night that gave Ralph the idea for this very special show Ralph McTell's Loyal Command Performance. For the show his audience will choose the songs.
Ralph will perform the 20 most requested songs at this very special show.
Details of how to nominate choices of songs will be announced shortly on his website:

Steve Tilston's new album Truth to Tell will be released on July 20 but is available now to mailing list subscribers. There is a £1 discount via the online shop - just enter the coupon code 0515-TTT at the checkout (offer valid until July 20)

Following the success of this year's Knitted Character Folk Festival Gerry Colvin is promising an even bigger and better one next year so get your yarn and needles at the ready. 
It's a busy time for Colvin who is working on a new album Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other which is almost complete and should be available by the end of the summer. His website is also getting an overhaul.

Duo April Maze have had to cancel their UK summer tour due to emergency surgery.
Husband Todd Agam said: "Sivan is recovering from emergency surgery.The doctors have been very strict with their instructions - no travel, no heavy lifting, no touring and NO cello playing for at least 6 weeks. So unfortunately we have had to call the whole thing off.
"We are devastated. Months and months of work goes into organising our tours, especially overseas tours.
"Even though we are full time musicians we are still fully independent so as you can imagine it is big blow to not be able to go on tour as planned. To make it more difficult, as indie musos, there is no sick pay."
"I have been ensuring Sivan gets loads of love and cups of tea and she is focusing on getting better and staying healthy and positive."

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