Monday, 28 September 2015




With the folk festival season coming to an end and Autumn coming in the folk musicians and bands are heading back indoors to continue to bring the music of the people to the people. Across the Midlands there is a wide variety of performances to choose from.

Donovan in his heyday
Starting in the Second City a Sixties icon Donovan is bringing his 50th anniversary tour to the Town hall, Birmingham on Friday October 23. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are £25 and £30 plus admin fee.  The admin fee is £3 on all tickets booked from both Town Hall and Symphony hall but can be avoided if they are bought from either venue in person. Before the legendary poet and singer/songwriter takes to the stage. The blokey balladeers who are Port Isaacs Fisherman's Friends are returning to the Town Hall on Saturday October 10. The show, with support from the talented Maz O'Connor starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £22.50 + admin fee (see above). The Demon Barbers XL come to the venue on Thursday 22 show time is the same and tickets are £16.50 plus admin fee (see above).

Across the city the wonderfully animated Gerry Colvin will be playing the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath Birmingham on Sunday October 4. Tickets are £10 in advance and there may be a booking fee. Doors open at 7.30pm.

Not far away Scottish singer/songwriter Ewan McLennan will be performing at the Kitchen Garden Cafe on Sunday October 18. Tickets are £10 in advance and £12 on the door and may be subject to a booking fee. Doors open 7.30pm with the show starting 8pm. Wisconsin singer/songwriter Willy Porter is launching his new Album Family Affair  he is embarking on a UK tour and will be playing the venue on Monday October 12. Concert times are the same and advance tickets are £10.

Louise Jordan
In the same locale The Red Lion Folk Club welcomes a host of well-known folk performers starting on October 7 with John Spiers of Spiers & Boden and of course Bellowhead. PLEASE NOTE this concert will be held at Kings Heath Cricket & Sports Club (Cartland Room), 247 Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 6DT due to refurbishment work at the Red Lion. Tickets are £13.20 including booking fee and doors open 7.15pm. Martha Tilston comes to the Red Lion on October 14 where she will be supported by Louise Jordan. Tickets are £14.30 including booking fee. Doors open 7.15pm. She is also at the Bromsgrove Folk Club Worcestershire on October 8. The show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £6 for members, £8 for non-members and £3 for under-21s. Back at the Red Lion, on October 21 local band The Old Dance School will be performing supported by Matt Boulter tickets are £14.30 inc booking fee. Doors open 7.15pm. Taking out the month on the 28th are Merry Hell, doors open at the same time and tickets are £13.20 inc booking fee.

Gren Bartley and his band are playing the Orts Arts Cafe, Balsall Heath on October 2. Doors open 7.30 and the show starts 8pm. Tickets are £8. The band is touring on the back of the new album Magnificent Creatures.

Veteran singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn is bringing his unique take on the world to Robin2, Bilston, Wolverhampton on Monday October 5. Tickets are £16 in advance and £18 on the night. Show starts at 8.30pm. Coming to the venue on October 28 is Babajack who bring the unique style of blues and roots music. Tickets are £10 in advance and £12 on the night. The following night(29) multi-talented Seth Lakeman returns to the Robin2 with support by Josh Rouse tickets are £18 in advance or £20 on the night.

The Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford is back up and running after the summer break and on October 2 welcomes guitarist Pete Kelly. The show starts around 8.30pm with entry £5 for members and £6 for non-members. On October 16 the club plays host to Raymond "Wizz" Jones. Show time is as above and entry is £8 members, £9 non-members. The following week, October 23, father and son duo Keith & Tim Judson are the artists with entry £6 and £7. Finishing off the month on the 30th is Mike Silver, entry is £7 or £8.

Stourbridge's Kim Lowings & The Greenwood will be launching their new album, Historia, at Scary Canary's in Stourbridge High Street on Thursday October 1. Doors open 8pm and tickets are £4.

The Lichfield Festival of Folk(L2F) gets under way on Friday October 16 and has attracted some big names to the three-day event.
The annual shindig is held mainly in the Guildhall and surrounding venues. On the first night the festival plays host to The Exmouth Shanty Men with support from Dragonhead and Mitre’s Well. The following day there will be a music cafe and storytelling sessions before the acts start again from around midday. Visitors to the festival can enjoy the talents of  the Lichfield Folk Night Collective, Tony Portlock & Helen Borton, Tom Patterson & Dave Morton, Kate & Andy Fincham, Mad Jocks & Englishmen, Merry Hell, Emily Sanders and Granny’s Attic.
Carrying on the music on the Sunday will be Wildfire Folk, Jess & Richard Arrowsmith, Tom Perry & Clive Brookes, Amelia Harrison, Melrose Quartet, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Blackbeard’s Tea Party, who have just released their new album Reprobates. There is a wide range of tickets available for the whole festival or for individual performances and sessions.

In the wider Midlands the Derby Folk Festival kicks off this month at venues across the city and runs from Friday 2 to Sunday 4. Tickets come in a range of deals and cost from £22 to £80. The opening night features Lucy Ward, who has a new album out I Dreamt I Was A Bird, Jackie Oates, James Findlay and Brian Peters. Also storyteller Nick Hennessy and last minute substitutions Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman who have stepped in to fill the gap left by Finest Kind who had to pull out of the event. Finally the Derbyshire Volunteers will be running sessions in the city featuring local folk musicians. 
The first half of Saturday features trio Moore, Moss & Rutter, the highly-respected Steve Tiltson, Blair Dunlop, Winter Wilson, Leveret, another trio of Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron. Cutting is also touring with Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr on the back of their new album Murmurs. There is also Lester Simpson, Artisan and The Teacups.
This impressive line-up is followed in the evening by Seven Little Sisters, Winter Wilson, John Tams & Barry Coope and Eddi Reader. Then the final day features Calan, Lester Simpson, John Spiers, Bob Fox - who will also be playing the Banbury Folk Festival on October 10,  in the day and the evening sessions bring Melrose Quartet and Faustus. There is also a pre-festival show on October 1

The Unthanks are coming to the Bromsgrove Artrix on Monday 26th. The show starts 8pm and tickets are £20. A few days later Bella Hardy plays the venue on Wednesday 28th, start time is the same and tickets cost £15 or £14 with concessions. Then on Hallowe'en the Luke Jackson Trio will be playing The Studio, start time is 7.30pm and tickets are £12.

Steve Knightley, Phil Beer
and Miranda Kerr
Show of Hands, which is Phil Beer, Steve Knightley and Miranda Kerr will be playing the Playhouse Theatre, Nottingham on October 23. The show starts at 7.45pm and tickets are £23. The band has recently received Honorary Doctorates in Music from the University of Plymouth and they are setting off for a 24-date tour of England and Wales.

Billy Mitchell and Ray Laidlaw will be bringing The Lindisfarne Story to the Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury on Sunday October 11. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £19.50 with a 10% discount for friends of the theatre.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and double winners of the Spiral Earth Awards Megson are coming to Warwickshire. The husband and wife folk duo will perform at Stratford-upon-Avon's Folk Club on Wednesday, October, 21 as part of their In A Box Tour. The show is at No.1 Shakespeare Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV6 6RN. The show starts at 8pm and tickers are £10 in advance or £12 on the door.

Stafford banjo maestro Dan Walsh is joining his fellow musicians Joe Broughton, Paloma Trig├ís, Tom Chapman in the Met Studio of the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre to play as The Urban Folk Quartet on October 17. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are £15.50. Then Luke Jackson takes to the stage at the venue on October 30. The show starts at the same time and tickets are £12.50 or £10 concessions. There will be a 50p booking fee which will cover up to eight tickets.

There is something a little different going on in Shropshire with the premiere of The Trail of Thomas Love which will be an evening of songs, images and storytelling about the Severn Gorge.
The show, which promises to be an enchanting exploration of the myths of the landscape, introducing both real and imagined characters, their journeys and homecomings, will be performed by its producer Nathan Tromans at 7pm pm Saturday October 10 at Enginuity, Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, TF8 7DQ. Tickets are £5 in advance.
As a local Tromans has traced his ancestors back to the 17th century in the Gorge. His great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Love was an Ironstone miner who mined the stone that gave birth to the industrial revolution, and left the Gorge as the industry evolved and expanded in to the wider West Midlands.


Stourbridge blues man Sunjay Brayne has a new album Black and Blues which is due for release in November. The album is produced by Eddy Morton.

Sunjay Brayne
Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin have released their third studio album, Watershed. The duo are spreading their wings and exploring new areas along with fellow new band members James Taylor and Matt Downer.

Bellowhead, who have now called it a day, have a new album out Pandemonium - The Essential Bellowhead which includes 13 tracks which the band feels represent some of the high points of their 11-year career.
Fans pre-ordering the album prior to the October 16th release date can enjoy a £2 discount on the album (normally £10.99) by visiting and typing in the gift code BELLOWHEAD at checkout. You can also pre-order the album on Amazon.

Derbyshire musician Lucy Ward will be releasing her latest album I Dreamt I Was A Bird on October 2. The album is the first on her own Betty Beetroot label and she will be on tour with the album until October 24

On the same date The Portraits release their Lions and Butterflies album through Sensorypulse Records. The couple of Jeremy and Lorraine Millington describe themselves as an alternative folk duo and they have a clear and declared "political" agenda with their album.

Rab Noakes brings out his latest album I'm Walkin' Here on October 16 on the Neon Records label. This double CD is the Scottish singer's 19th solo album and alludes to his entire life and career as a singer/songwriter.
Oxford Folk Festival organisers are not letting the grass grow under their feet with plans for the Fifth Folk Weekend, which will run on April 15 to 17 2016, are well under way.
They are throwing out an extra-special offer just for loyal supporters who are willing to take a punt. They will be releasing a selection of next year's headline and support acts this month, but if you are prepared to take a punt and book before, without knowing who will be performing, then they are offering a discounted season ticket, at £45 for the whole weekend. The number of tickets available is limited and it's first come first served. Click here to buy Super Earlybird Discounted ticket.
If you sign up as a Friend - you get lots of benefits and exclusive deals which are all detailed on the festival's website. 
Billy Bragg has a book of selected lyrics published by Faber & Faber. A Lover Sings contains more than 70 of his best-known lyrics, selected and annotated by the author.
A Lover Sings reveals a unique sensibility: principled and proudly of the left, funny, forthright and tender. It is an inspiring collection.
Click here to pre-order a limited edition signed hardback.

Staying on a literary bent folk legend Mike Harding has a new book out too called the Adventures of the Crumpsall Kid - A Memoir which he describes as the inside story of growing up in Crumpsall in the 1950s with hilarious stories from his first day at infant school to his first ventures into skiffle music. He is also using the book's content as the basis of a UK wide tour.

Runrig have been off the road for 18 months so now are champing at the bit to celebrate the release of their 14th studio album, The Story.
The first raft of live touring dates have now been confirmed, starting on home ground in Scotland in early February 2016, moving on to England and then to continental Europe. They will be playing Birmingham and Nottingham in February next year.

The line-up for the 2016 Love Folk Festival at the Atkinsion in Southport has been announced with headliners Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle and Seth Lakeman confirmed.
The Love Folk Festival takes place on the weekend closest to Valentine’s day as possible, this year it will fall on Friday and Saturday February 12 and 13 and has a line-up of new, upcoming, traditional and contemporary folk.
Also on the line-up this year is Elbow Jane, Will Pound and Eddie Jay, Ange Hardy and Sheelanagig.
Lakeman will play Saturday February 13. McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle will open the festival on the Friday.
Saturday will start with Elbow Jane and later FATEA Female Vocalist of the Year 2014 Ange Hardy, who has just released her critically acclaimed album Esteesee. Sheelanagig will bring their Balkan folk, Gypsy Jazz sound to the festival.
Early Bird Festival tickets are now on sale for £36 online at or by calling the Box Office on 01704 533333. They are also available over the counter during The Atkinson opening hours.

If you have any folk/acoustic gigs, news or albums for review that you would like included in the next Coming Your Way, especially if you from or are in and around the Midlands, then contact Folkall either on, or on twitter @dannyfarragher or on Facebook at

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