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8th May 2023 (News Extra!)
‘Alternative/Pop’ stars Thrup’nny Bits make the Godiva finals
This Thursday (May 11th) sees unaccompanied folk harmony trio Thrup’nny Bits as finalists competing for a main stage performance slot at this year’s Godiva Festival.
The hugely popular event, which features top name acts alongside a selection of local musicians, takes place in Coventry’s War Memorial Park from 30 June – 2 July.
With no folk category included in the Festival these days, the line-up of Des Patalong, and Gareth and Barbara Wyatt reasoned that their songs were popular at the time they were first sung, and that their performance style, alongside the various ‘pop’ groups that may be competing, could be considered very ‘Alternative’.
They decided to give it a go and have now reached the finals which take place at The Tin Music and Arts at Coventry’s Canal Basin. Doors open at 7pm on Thursday for a 7:30pm start. The running order will be decided on the night.
Says Des, ‘We have no expectation, but if the idea of folk at the Godiva Festival appeals then do come along and cast a vote for us. It’s been a while since folk was represented at this festival and a revival is due.’
Hear! Hear! and good luck. Admission is £1 at the door.
23rd April 2023
Double-A energisers to share the billing
After The Flood and Alkevan are joint headliners for high-powered night of contemporary folk.
Both top-line names – especially for events that list their acts in alphabetical order! – After The Flood and Alkevan share the billing for CVFolk’s 14 May event in the Albany Theatre Studio.
Northampton-based After The Flood features songwriter, guitarist and singer with an amazing voice, Corinne Lucy. Her first appearance at the Albany was as a member of the Coventry Singer-Songwriters group and this is the second time she has been invited back after her stunning performances.
On this occasion, she appears with singing and guitarist partner Woolford Scott. Taking its name from the title of one of Corinne’s songs, the duo has been going down a storm at venues across the Midlands, especially at the Temperance Café when they recently appeared at Leamington Folk Club. This was just a few days after the cellar venue had been dried out after an unforeseen deluge – making them the most appropriately named act for the whole evening.
Alkevan are back at the Albany Theatre after almost four years, still featuring the finely honed vocal harmonies of Alan Harvey (bodhran) and Kev Moffat (guitar, cajon), and now appearing with newly recruited bass-player Richard Norris. Always a popular act, they sing original songs in contemporary folk style, mostly written by Kev.
Check out this clip of Alan and Kev when they performed live on Stratford’s Welcombe Radio while Alan was simultaneously posing for a painting by Warwick artist Rupam Barthakur.
The CVFolk show starts at 7.30pm with a set by Coventry’s popular multi-instrumental trio, Urban Fox. As with most 2nd Sunday events, it’s free to get in but please give generously to the caddy collection during the interval.
Meet the musicians playing within tent to please
Spring is here which means it’s time to unfold the Lighthorne canvas
The monthly Lighthorne Folk Club will feature some impressive guests at the Antelope in Lighthorne Village, performing under the pub’s Big Tent – weather permitting! One of the club organisers, Maggie Atkins reports.
‘Next month is going to be busy for us. On Monday 1st May we have a Beltane Bash headlined by Greenman Rising, with support from Scarecrow, and Yonderland. Entry is free with a cash collection, 7pm to 10 pm. Dress up in May Day finery if you fancy!
‘On Thursday 13th May we’re delighted to welcome Miranda Sykes (pictured left) in concert – this month Royal Albert Hall, next month Lighthorne! The B Road will be playing support and the show runs 7-10 pm. Tickets are £14 available from firstname.lastname@example.org
‘We’re back to First Mondays on 5th June with Craig Sunderland, plus support from Berend Bonsema and Luca Falcomer-Dawson. And on 3rd July we welcome back Filkins Drift, with support from Paper Circus and The Melancholy Brothers’.
And finally – big congrats for Jack’s winning track!
Following our earlier merciless plug, we are proud and happy to report that Alcester’s Blues and Folk guitar wizard, Jack Blackman is songwriting winner of this year’s pFITE competition (Poetry & Folk In The Environment, pronounced ‘fight’) organised by the Home Stage production company.
Home Stage promotes new folk music and poetry through online programmes, podcasts, in-person events, festivals and tours. Winners were announced on Saturday (22nd April) – World Earth Day.
Jack’s song It’s Not Too Late with its no-holds-barred lyrics and gritty guitarwork caught the imagination of public voters and Home Stage judges who had to choose winners from dozens of entries and six finalists from each category. Click here for Jack’s video.
The poetry winner was Pete Mullineaux for his work Careful What You Wish For Orangutan.
6th April 2023
Jack’s after your backing and ‘It’s Not Too Late’ to vote.
Warwickshire’s ace blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, Jack Blackman has made it to the final six for a national song and poetry competition – and now he’s rallying his fans to cast their votes.
His song, It’s Not Too Late certainly faces strong competition. The shortlisted compositions have made a big impression in this year’s Home Stage Environmental Song Competition. This is all part of the mission by the organisers to showcase the most talented, creative and ingenious artists they can find to enliven folk music and poetry for a new generation.
Jack’s song, and those of his competitors, can be heard on YouTube – all the original entries are listed here. And here’s the link to make your vote – the deadline is Monday 17th April.
The winner for the song and poetry categories will be chosen by a combination of the public’s votes and the judges’ decision. The winners will be announced on World Earth Day – Saturday 22nd April.
Jack’s next local appearance is at Luddington Village Hall near Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 22nd April, 7.30pm. He’ll be playing support to Redditch- born singer-songwriter Nigel Clark, best known as the lead singer and bassist of prominent Britpop band, Dodgy. More details of the concert are here.
All-star gathering at the Temperance.
Nine leading folk and acoustic guests all in one night.
Leamington Folk Club never fails to impress with the list of artists it has featured to date, and this month it excels itself with – some might say – the crème de la crème in local folk and acoustic music.
Here’s the list of artists appearing all on the same night – Thursday April 13th – in the intimate cellar venue of the Temperance Bar in Leamington’s Bath Street:
Paul McClure, Chessi O’Dowd, Benji Kirkpatrick, Katherine Abbott, Lauren South, The Paper Circus, The B Road, Wes Finch, and host musician Andi Wolf!
Arguably, this would be a powerful line-up for a day-long festival but, incredibly, each artist will perform a 15-minute set each, with just a couple of breaks for the audience to get its breath back.
Perhaps not surprisingly, advance tickets (which were only £3!) have now sold out, but the venue runs a live stream of the event on its Facebook page .
14th March 2023
Touching base at the Temperance
Cov & Warks club organisers share experiences and ideas at the CVFolk ‘Moot’
Folk club organisers from across the CV postcode area enjoyed a positive get-together at CVFolk’s ‘Folk Moot’ at the Temperance Café in Leamington.
The event took place on Sunday 26th February and was attended by representatives from 12 guest-booking folk clubs and three music and song sessions – the first time anyone could remember so many lynchpins of the local folk scene all under one roof.
The afternoon discussion covered a wide range of points, from guest-booking policies, use of social media, and dealing with date clashes, to car parking at folk clubs, maintaining good communication between venues, and ways of encouraging creativity and younger audiences.
The discussion was followed by an evening concert featuring either residents or regular acts of eleven local clubs.
Performers were Dave Fry (Warwick Folk Club), Malc Gurnham & Gill Gilsenan (Bedworth Folk Club), Julie Neale (Tump Folk), Craig Sunderland (Wurzel Bush), Geoff Veasey (Nuneaton Folk Club), Nowhere Club (Music Parlour), Michael Luntley (Sheep Dip Sessions), The Elderly Brothers (Atherstone Folk Club), Sullivan and Wimpenny (Stockton Folk Club), The B Road (Lighthorne Folk Club) and Leamington Folk Club resident Andi Wolf, who compered the evening.
There was also a surprise presentation to folk event photographer John B.Smith who received a trophy and bottle of malt whiskey as a thank-you from local clubs. This was in appreciation of John’s excellent and abundant photographs which he allows artists and venues to use free of charge for publicity and archives.
The event was livestreamed on Facebook and you can watch it here.
John is currently recovering in hospital after a fall – NOT as a result of the malt whiskey! We all wish him a speedy recovery.
Warwickshire folk artists dive into an artistic celebration at the Criterion.
The Criterion Theatre in Earlsdon, Coventry presents two dozen acts and artists for the 8-day Springboard Festival which opens on Saturday March 25th – with some excellent folk performers included.
The opening night’s programme includes the chamber folk noir of the Sonoplasts in collaboration with local poet and rapper John Bernard and the vocals of former Steamchicken singer Amy Kakoura.
Wednesday 29th March sees singer/guitarist and published poet Wes Finch, sharing the stage with Birmingham poet laureate and beatboxer Jasmine Gardosi.
Friday 31st March includes a one-off presentation of the popular Fat Chance Show in which the versatile annA rydeR delivers a folk, jazz and blues-based set perfectly illuminated by the surreal illustrations and animations of artist Nicky Cure.
And the final night, Saturday April 1st, is completed by the music and April-foolery of irrepressible folksinger and comedian, Keith Donnelly.
Each evening is compered by Andrew Sharpe (pictured below), singer, writer of songs and plays and member of Steamchicken and The Cellar Tapes.
He describes the Festival as setting out to ‘blur boundaries, move margins, expand fringes, and have a number of eclectic and diverse musical collaborations.’
With visiting productions, new plays, exhibitions, new writing, poetry and spoken word performances, the Springboard Festival offers a rich and varied cultural experience. For more details and the full programme, click here.
Rob brings stories between the songs to Coventry Cathedral
Coventry’s acclaimed singer and songwriter Rob Halligan is in concert at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday, April 1st as part of his new national tour entitled Between The Songs.
He’ll be appearing with the full line-up of his band Homeward Hie, featuring Chris Hunt on guitar, Ewan Cameron on whistles and bodhran, and Aidan O’Hare on violin.
The tour follows a series of post lockdown concerts church visits over the past 18 months. Says Rob. ‘It struck me during those visits that the stories between the songs are just as important and so this tour is taking a bunch of songs with stories that hopefully tell a bigger story. We’re three dates in and it’s been really special.’
The current tour also marks the 40th anniversary of the Coventry-based charity Global Care, with whom Rob has played an active role in supporting vulnerable children.
Tickets for the Cathedral show are £8, bookable here
3rd February 2023
Chorus in the Cathedral
Your chance to join in with hundreds of voices turning folk songs into classic hymns
Lovers and singers of folk music in Coventry and Warwickshire are invited to join hundreds of other voices in Coventry Cathedral, turning old folk songs into hymns. in a concert that involves the whole audience.
The concert involves the whole audience, singing with acapella folk group Broomdasher, instrumental trio Coracle, the Cathedral Choir and the organ in a rousing concert on 11 February at 7.00pm. There’s also a free afternoon workshop to learn a folk song..
Check out this video from Exeter Cathedral to hear what they will sound like in the concert.
From Pub to Pulpit is the only official touring event marking the 150th Birthday of Vaughan Williams, one of the nation’s favourite composers, and continues on the road until The Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester Cathedral in July 2023.
Coventry Cathedral is the first port of call for the 20-date tour, which has been picked as a Highlight of the Vaughan Williams Festival Year by The Times; The Guardian; Gramophone and The Living Tradition. Tickets are £10 and £15 from this link.
Vaughan Williams was a well-known collector of folk songs and he borrowed folk song tunes he collected from labourers around the country for the tunes of some of the best hymns in the 1906 English Hymnal that he edited.
In the final part of the concert, Broomdasher and Coracle take the audience on a musical journey, starting with the folk song, going through dance variations and climaxing with everyone raising the roof with full-blooded renditions of the hymns.
They include “To Be a Pilgrim“, and “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say“, transformed from the folk songs “Our Captain Calls” and “The Murder of Maria Marten“.
Proof – according to the English Folk Dance and Song Society Magazine – that ‘the Devil doesn’t have all the Best Tunes’.
And talking of Devil and best tunes…
Belzebub are back at the Music Parlour this Sunday (5th Feb) for the first of this year’s monthly events in The Harvester, Long Itchington.
The full line-up of Vere Foster (fiddle, mandolin, guitar), Ian Wilson (accordion, concertina, octave mandolin, cittern), Joan Smith (keyboards), and Ray Jane (vocals, bass, guitar, flute, whistles) will be performing music of England, Ireland, Scotland and America. Their regular gigs are barn dances but this weekend sees them in concert – appropriate for arguably the area’s smallest folk club!
With support from Steve 2 (messrs Boyer and Redshaw) and singer-songwriter Jamie Scott, the music starts 7.30pm and admission is free – but be ready to drop those banknotes into the jug.
23rd January 2023
More Donnelly and South Doings
National folk celebrities, Keith and Lauren return to the Albany Theatre
Tickets are now selling for CVFolk’s forthcoming concert when Keith Donnelly and Lauren South return to Coventry They appear one year after their last performance in the Albany Theatre Studio, which launched their new act onto the national folk scene.
With a long list of solo and duo gigs already lined up for clubs and festivals this year, Warwickshire musicians Keith Donnelly and Lauren South are back in concert at the venue on Sunday 12th February.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Lauren is putting the finishing touches to her long-awaited solo album Tiny Boat. She describes it as a ‘personal reflection and realisation of just how much the natural world has at least part-inspired many of my songs.
‘Even when she isn’t the subject, Mother Nature is ever present’.
There’s still a way to go to finish and release the album but stand by for exciting news from Lauren about guest musicians.
Meanwhile, songwriter, guitarist and madcap comedian, Keith is back on dry land after playing a Nile Cruise, so brace yourselves for some hilarious Egyptian anecdotes. He is also halfway through his ‘not at all awaited’ album of original humorous sea-songs – Shantidisestablishmentarianism.
And he’ll be treading the boards in the Theatre’s Main House on Saturday 25th February to act, play guitar and sing as the ‘villain’ in the widely acclaimed folk opera The Undoing of Polly Button.
Starting 7.30pm, CVFolk’s event also features highly-rated trio Poacher’s Pocket and talented singer-songwriter Paul Gibson. Tickets are £11, available from the Theatre’s box office – follow this link.
Dancing with Danger in Kenilworth
Warning lights will be flashing on the dance floor this Burns Night (Wednesday 25th January) when the Danger! Ceilidh Band launches a new monthly ceilidh in Kenilworth.
The band’s caller is Erin Mansfield and music is provided by further familiar names on the local folk circuit including Adam Beresford-Browne, Ewan Cameron, Tim Cunningham, Ross Grant, and Chris Lewis.
They’ve notched up years of ceilidh experience between them and are already renowned for lively private dance events for beginners and experts alike. Kenilworth’s town clerk Maggie Field has described their music as ‘toe-tappingly wonderful’ and Erin’s calling as ‘so upbeat and infectious that we all soon learned the routines and were whirling and galloping before we knew it.’
The ceilidh takes place on the last Wednesday of each month at the Kenilworth Sports & Social Club on Upper Rosemary Hill. Doors open 7:30pm, and the evening comprises three 45-minute dance sets from 8pm to 10.45pm.
Rabbie Burns himself would certainly approve of celebrating his birthday this way:
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’ tippeny, we fear nae evil…
Tickets are slightly more than a ‘tippeny’ however! Admission on the door is still reasonable at £10 or £7.50 for students and children. Soft and alcoholic drinks are available at the club bar. More details here.
Two triples and a double on order for Nuneaton Folk Club
The trio line-up of the John Richards Band is February’s headline act for a talent-packed evening at Nuneaton Folk Club.
Widely acclaimed and covered songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist John Richards will be joined onstage by daughter Emma Jones and longstanding co-musician Jim Sutton at the Queens Hall venue on Wednesday 1st February.
Another tremendous trio from the West Midlands, a slimmed down version of The Lost Notes will be playing support along with popular Warwickshire twosome, Steve 2 (or The Steves), featuring the combined vocals, percussion and guitar skills of Stephen Boyer and Steve Redshaw.
It starts 8pm and admission is free – but please be generous with the collection! Click here for further details.
8th January 2023
Doing justice to Polly
Spreading the word – and the music – as celebrated folk opera comes to the Albany Theatre
Who would have believed it – the popular press treating victims as the cause of their own misfortune?
Based on a true story, the highly acclaimed folk opera, The Undoing of Polly Button demonstrates that was as true in the 19th century as it is (arguably) today.
Written by local singer and musician Katherine Fear and featuring an all-star cast of Coventry and Warwickshire folk performers, the production will be presented next month in the impressive Art Deco auditorium of Coventry’s Albany Theatre – its largest venue so far.
Premiered in Nuneaton almost a year ago and based on the book by Stephen Moore, it tells the true story of a weaver who was murdered in that town in 1832 by her married lover while she was expecting his child. The newspapers at the time presented Polly as at least partly responsible for her own fate because of her ‘gross immorality’.
Featuring several superbly crafted and memorable songs by Katherine, the script may seem to be quite dark but does include some heart-warming and sometimes comic moments as well as captivating musical arrangements.
After two hugely successful performances in the town’s Abbey Theatre, the musical drama was performed at Warwick and Lichfield Folk Festivals and returned to the Abbey for Nuneaton’s George Eliot Fellowship’s Festival.
Next month’s one-off production takes place in the main house of the Albany Theatre on Saturday 25 February and will feature most of the original cast, including Keith Donnelly (as John Danks the murderer), Paper Circus’s Jennian King as Polly, plus Merlin Walter also of Paper Circus, KC Jones singer Karen Jones and members of the popular trio Daisybell: Anya Fay, Charlie Adams and Katherine herself.
Tickets are now available from the Box Office and can be booked online from £10 (plus a small booking fee).
Back to the Studio for Keith and Lauren
One year on and the duo is as dynamic as ever
Polly Button’s ‘villain’, Keith Donnelly makes an earlier appearance at the Albany Theatre when he returns as guest with Lauren South to headline February’s CVFolk’s ‘Second Sunday’
Donnelly and South had stepped in at short notice last year to play their first full concert booking, launching a string of widely praised appearances at folk venues across the country. Sunday 12 February sees them back in the theatre’s Studio venue to celebrate their first anniversary as a duo.
Keith’s first-rate songwriting and guitar-playing often take a back seat to his onstage madcap comedy, but not in this line-up. He has proven to be an ideal complement for Lauren’s stunning vocals, songwriting and expertise on violin, guitar and Shruti box. In just 12 months, they have delighted audiences at numerous folk clubs and festivals across the country.
Starting 7.30pm, the ticketed event also features versatile trio Poacher’s Pocket and talented singer-songwriter Paul Gibson. Tickets will be £11, available shortly from the Theatre’s box office..
Lauren’s own captivating performance as a singer and multi-instrumentalist will be on show this Wednesday (11 January) when she appears as this month’s guest at Bedworth Folk Club, starting 8pm in the town’s Ex Servicemen’s Social Club & Institute on Ryepiece Ringway.
27th November 2022
Packing the big names into the Temperance Bar
First-class music replaces second-hand furniture in Leamington Old Town venue
Temperance is a virtue according to St.Thomas Aquinus. But local music fans have now discovered Temperance as a great venue.
Not just any venue but one that’s ‘quickly picking up a deserved reputation as one of the primary live music destinations in the area!’ So says leading folk artist Benji Kirkpatrick on social media, clearly someone who enjoys appearing at the compact but highly-regarded live music setting in his home town of Leamington.
Folk, blues, Americana and Irish are among the styles most regularly featured in the specially adapted cellar room that previously served as part of a second-hand furniture shop.
The latest line-up of Benji’s own band The Excess performs there on Friday December 9th, as a contrast to the large stage tour that he’s just completed with Bellowhead. Among more of Temperance’s big folk attractions are Jackie Oates & John Spiers (Dec 13th), Emily Portman & Rob Harbron (Mar 1st), Will Pound & Jenn Butterworth (Mar 10th), and Dublin’s internationally acclaimed singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell (Apr 23rd).
The venue is also home of the Leamington Folk Club which meets as a performers’ night on the second Thursday of each month. Now hosted by singer-songwriter Andi Wolf, it seems to have established a format that enables a night of top-quality music to be performed in a packed room – some might say the holy grail for all intimate and regular folk venues!
Charging an admission of £3, the club features mainly local artists, some well-established, some new names on the block, spanning age-groups and genres from traditional and indie folk singers and songwriters, to more broadly-defined acoustic acts with undertones of anything from jazz to country to punk.
On Thursday December 8th the club features Kevin Dempsey, Ace Ambrose, Ben Jennings, The B Road, Jill Davis, Alkevan, Emily Curtis, and Noah Dobbie, each playing a set of 15-20 minutes.
Based in a 200-year-old Regency building on Leamington’s Bath Street, the Temperance opened two years ago as a bar, café, art gallery and meeting place following a year-long refurbishment by its owner Adrian Gains. Originally a draper’s store, it has also served as a hotel, toy shop, and sports emporium. The venue survived the 1990s floods and is now kitted out with sound, lights and projection screen, and seating for up to 50 people.
The events listing makes impressive reading – check it out on their website where you can also book advance tickets. This is often a wise option as many of the big-name acts sell out in advance.
Time to check your local voice males
Hawkesbury Trawlermen – the new wave of folk singing?
Coventry may be 118 miles from the nearest coast but there’s a strong maritime theme on the local folk circuit, courtesy of nine-piece vocal ‘buoy band’, The Hawkesbury Trawlermen.
Not strictly a ‘shanty crew’, they describe themselves more broadly as ‘a group of chaps singing shanties and songs of the seas, rivers and waterways’.
They’re guests at Coventry’s Tump Folk venue on Thursday, December 1st and supporting Rob Halligan’s Homeward Hie at CVFolk’s 2nd Sunday event on January 8th. They’re also winning a chorus of approval as regulars on the third Thursday of each month at the Attleborough Arms, Nuneaton.
The line-up consists of organisers of North Warwickshire’s three main folk clubs – Bedworth, Nuneaton and Atherstone, Malc Gurnham, Geoff Veasey and Phil Benson sharing their voices with regulars of their clubs Bob Brooker, Wes Hall, John Meechan, Alan Stocks, Dave Webb and newest member Pete Read.
Asked if they have allocated voices for bass, treble and soprano, Malc replies ‘we are not “orchestrated” – yet!’
They take turns singing the lead (and response) in their impressive repertoire of songs, hollers and calls which they perform with strong voices, lashings of good humour, and a vast amount of experience.
10th November 2022
Time to dig out the ‘House Full’ signs – Meet On the Ledge are back!
Band celebrates 30 years of folk-rock with compilation double CD
With two of their three shows sold out and tickets for their Coventry show selling quickly, Warwickshire folk-rockers Meet On The Ledge are still a huge draw – not a bad achievement for a band celebrating 30 years.
Regular performers at the Bear Pit Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, they’ll be playing to full houses this Friday and Saturday (11th and 12th November). The RSC Box Office is now taking requests for ticket returns for a waiting list of fans.
However, Sunday 13th November sees them back in concert for CVFolk’s ‘Second Sunday’ event in the Albany Theatre Studio, Coventry and advance tickets are still available – at this time of writing!
Last year saw them at the venue as a trio, as their drummer, Bo Davies had been called away on family business. But this Sunday will be a first for CVFolk – a full drumkit for a folk event in the Studio, with leading light of Sambassadors of Groove, Bo providing a full-on beat for guitarists, singers and founder members Allen Maslen and Ron Holmes, and master of the monster keyboards, Steve Bird.
This week has also seen the release of a compilation double-CD album, The Very Best of Meet On the Ledge with 26 original and traditional songs selected from their six studio albums produced since 1992 and featuring celebrated former band members including Phil Dipple, Marion Fleetwood, Paul Johnson and the late fiddle player and percussionist, Mick Shaylor and Phil Vickers (see track list below). Copies will be for sale at all three of this weekend’s gigs or can be ordered here.
Playing a warm-up support set for the Coventry gig is highly acclaimed singer and guitar wizard, Craig Sunderland. MOTL lead guitarist Allen Maslen is delighted that Craig will be there. ‘We’d encourage fans of amazing guitar to buy a ticket just so that they can tell their mates they saw Craig before he was really famous!’
The music at the Albany Theatre starts at 7.30pm although the Box Office will be open from 6.30pm, if tickets are still available on the night. Call 02476 998964 or follow this link to book tickets in advance.
Memories will flood back when Waterfall springs into action
Leamington’s internationally renowned singer, guitarist and comedian Keith Donnelly relives his student days on Tuesday, November 15th when he shares the stage with fiddle and mandolin-player Martyn Oram.
Reincarnating the original line-up of Waterfall, the duo performs as Tuesday’s guests at the Wurzel Bush Folk Club, which meets at the West Indian Club on Railway Terrace, Rugby.
Former residents of The University Folk Club at their alma mater, Warwick University, the talented multi-instrumentalists will be raiding their old repertoire of original songs and material by such artists as Jonathon Kelly, Tom Paxton and Al Stewart.
Admission is free (but donate your bank notes to the jug!) and floor spots are, as usual, first come first served. Resident artist is Craig Sunderland (yes, he gets around!) and you can message him via his Facebook page if you would like to reserve a spot.
19th October 2022
All-star line-up for Nuneaton’s October Folkfest
Ragged Bear – smarter than the average festival
Leading names from all corners of the British folk and folk-rock circuit head for Ragged Bear Festival the Sixth, on the last weekend of October.
Headline act this year is Bristol’s Gaz Brookfield with a large following from his many main stage festival appearances and playing support for The Levellers’ tour.
The packed schedule includes high-volume folk-rockers from Oxfordshire Leatherat, South Coast punk band Sinful Maggie and leading contemporary Irish alt folk line-ups Lagan, Whipjacks and Lucky Severn. Anglo-Irish alt folk band Ranagri, Leicester’s The Other Country and Whisky Rebellion, and award-winning folk, rock and Americana act from the East coast of England Morganway are also big attractions.
Contemporary folk acts The Magpies, Painted Sky, and Warwickshire singer and multi-instrumentalist Lauren South are on the billing alongside acclaimed guitarist and singer Craig Sunderland and veteran unaccompanied singer Des Patalong.
New to the circuit, Flo Parker Bombosch and band are already gaining excellent revues in their West Country home. And Saturday’s opening act is a festival debut by the young and newly formed Coventry band Permanent Daylight.
The annual event is hosted by widely travelled and highly acclaimed Greenman Rising. No strangers to the festival scene, they have appeared at Beautiful Days, Bearded Theory, Beardy folk, Boomtown, Eden, Solfest, Godiva, Folk in a Field, and Great British Folk Festival to name a few. Next year they are appearing at Trowbridge and playing support to Gigspanner big band at Love Folk Festival in Lancashire.
Ragged Bear takes place on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, 29th October in the Queens Hall, Nuneaton and tickets are selling quickly. You can book online by clicking here. And as a special treat for CVFolk fans, you can get a reduction from £35 to £25 by adding the promotional code RaggedVIP. Or pay just £10 for a daylong online stream of all the main stage events.
As always, the organisers are offering a Friday evening free admission taster with performances by Whisky Rebellion, Craig Sunderland and talented 3-piece collective from Wiltshire The Lost Trades.
For more details on the Friday and Saturday events, click here and here.
Change of date for Nuneaton Folk Club… but Thorpe and Morrison well worth the extra wait
It happens. Double bookings at venues can mean regular folk clubs need to change the habit of a lifetime and stage a one-off show on a different night.
Nuneaton Folk Club – which also meets in the Queen’s Hall – is to give up its regular first-Wednesday slot for this November only. The main guests, superb fiddle and guitar duo Thorpe and Morrison will be appearing in the upstairs venue on Thursday 10th November.
Birmingham Conservatoire graduates, Harry Thorpe and Sean Morrison have built up a large army of fans through their masterful execution of both traditional and original material. The sad news is that scheduled support act, Poacher’s Pocket are not available for the revised date but the club plans to rebook them as soon as possible.
Back to normal the following month when the club presents popular songwriter and highly-rated guitarist Phil Hare on Wednesday 7th December.
Click here for more details of the November show, and here for a chance to see Thorpe and Morrison in action.
4th October 2022
Coventry songsmith Kristy back in home territory as CVFolk’s October guest
An evening of inspired self-penned material by local line-up.
CVFolk celebrates more singer-songwriting talent this Sunday when Coventry’s much lauded composer, performer and guitarist Kristy Gallacher takes the stage.
Kristy is this month’s much-anticipated guest for CVFolk’s ‘2nd Sunday’ event at the Albany Theatre Studio, starting 7.30pm, Sunday October 9th. The Coventry University Music Composition graduate has built up a strong following through her carefully crafted songs, exciting fresh guitar work and a selection of tastefully arranged covers.
She’s an excellent ambassador for Coventry folk and acoustic music, having won the LG Arena’s singer/songwriter competition and played to superstar audiences which have included Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Elton John. Described by one reviewer as ‘playing like Bert Jansch and singing like a cooler version of KT Tunstall,’ Kristy has three albums and numerous EPs to her name and also spreads her passion for music as a teacher.
Local singer-songwriters John Oswin and Paul Gibson will be playing support while the evening’s guest host, Stephen Boyer has also put together a repertoire of self-penned material. Admission is free although you’ll be encouraged to donate banknotes to the ‘caddy collection’. Advance tickets are also available from the Albany Theatre Box Office for the November 13th concert with Meet On The Ledge plus Craig Sunderland.
Making an honest (and not so honest?) living with Poacher’s Pocket and friends
Local trio, Poacher’s Pocket presents an evening of old songs and new on the theme of ‘The World of Work’ for this week’s Warwick Words History Festival.
The line-up of Campbell Perry, Colin Squire, and Carole Gillespie perform in the Warwick Arms Hotel this Thursday (October 6th) to sing traditional and contemporary songs plus some self-penned material about the history of their own families. They will be joined by Coventry musicians and singers Bob Brooker, Craig Sunderland, and harmony trio Thrup’nny Bits.
The week-long Festival is already underway with a busy programme of guest talks and performances in venues across the town – click here for more information.
22nd August 2022
(Update 8th September 2022 – MotoFest postponed. This was announced following the news of the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. No news yet of revised date.)
Rack & Ruin to headline packed weekend of folk
Coventry celebrates cars and folk music when CVFolk comes to MotoFest – AND starts new season of ‘2nd Sunday’ events.
From folk-rock to unaccompanied harmony singing, CVFolk packs three major events into the second weekend of September – two daytime shows for Motofest and a new season launch of events in the Albany Theatre Studio.
Coventry’s acclaimed folk-rock and ceilidh band, Rack & Ruin Acoustic will headline the ‘2nd Sunday’ show at the Albany Theatre on the evening of September 11th. Fronted by singer-songwriter-guitarist, Mick Bisiker, they will also be the final act for CVFolk’s Sunday afternoon open-air concert in Coventry’s Upper Precinct as part of the entertainment for the MotoFest weekend.
Their set will wind up a weekend of first-rate folk talent with top-line artists from the Coventry and Warwickshire folk scene, including Kevin Dempsey, Firedaze, The Redhills, and Craig Sunderland with irrepressible folk singer and comedian Keith Donnelly opening the show on Saturday, September 10th at midday. Click here and here for the full line-up and provisional performance times for CVFolk at each day at MotoFest.
The Sunday evening Albany Theatre show kicks off a busy new season of home-grown acts in the Studio and sees Rack & Ruin supported by KC Jones and The Stationary Wilburys. The music starts at 7.30pm at the venue on Coventry’s Albany Road (CV5 6JQ) and admission is free – but please give generously to the ‘caddy’ banknote collection!
Pushing the Right Button for George Eliot Festival
Polly Button returns to the scene of her debut performance.
The highly acclaimed folk opera, The Undoing of Polly Button is to be staged again in Nuneaton’s Abbey Theatre for two nights as part of this year’s George Eliot Fellowship’s Festival.
Created by local singer and songwriter Katherine Fear and featuring some top names from the local folk scene, the production narrates the tragic true story of a shocking murder that took place in Nuneaton almost 200 years ago. The story is narrated by the character of George Eliot (played by singer Anya Faye) who was twelve years old when the murder took place.
The show runs from 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 31 August and 1st September and tickets are available from this link.
Warwickshire stars in Warwickshire clubs
Folk clubs in the CVFolk area don’t have to look too far to identify big attractions to launch their new season of guest nights.
Latest act to emerge as the county’s super talented duo, Donnelly and South are lined up for a crowd-pleasing night at Lighthorne Folk‘s September get-together in the marquee by the village’s Antelope pub. With support from teenage folk sensation Abi Rowberry, plus a set of James Taylor songs from the excellent Stephen Boyer, the music begins at 7pm on Monday 5th September. More details here.
Two days later, Nuneaton Folk Club lays on another great evening of entertainment in the Queen’s Hall, with the ever-popular trio The Paper Circus as main guest. The evening also features some hearty singing from local landlocked shanty crew The Hawkesbury Trawlermen and a blend of sings, humour and magical trickery from John Mosedale.
The music starts at 8pm – more details here. Admission for both events is free but generous donations to the collection bucket will help ensure the clubs’ continued survival.
20th April 2022
Be tempted by Dempsey’s delights
Coventry’s global star brings wow-factor folk back to home territory
Guitar maestro, Kevin Dempsey headlines CVFolk’s next ‘Second Sunday’ event in June with his much anticipated solo performance.
Following the acclaimed debut appearance of the Kevin Dempsey Trio – with Joe Broughton and Urban Folk Quartet’s Tom Chapman – at the CVFolk4Ukraine event in March, the man is back with just voice and acoustic guitar on Sunday, May 8th for CVFolk’s monthly show in the Albany Theatre Studio.
A founder member of influential acoustic rock innovators in the 60s, Dando Shaft, Kevin has worked with many of the leading names in soul, folk and jazz from Percy Sledge to Alice Coltrane, and from Mary Black to Jacqui McShee. Also a founder member of 80s folk supergroup Whippersnapper – alongside Chris Leslie and the late Dave Swarbrick and Martin Jenkins – Kevin also toured widely as a duo with the legendary ‘Swarb’.
Hatstand’s duo line-up of Keith Nickless and Kate Vassalos (pictured below right – photos by John B.Smith) will also make an appearance with a repertoire that draws largely on the more obscure regions of ‘dark Americana’.
And as an added bonus, folk and roots singer-songwriter Paul Handyside (pictured above left) is on the billing. His fourth album, Loveless Town was released last year and features songs with an ever-closer resonance with country and Americana, although one track, Hartley Pit Catastrophe – a true story from his native North East – reflects more English folk sensibilities. Also featured on the album – and its producer – Rob Tickell will join Paul on stage with added guitar.
The music starts at the slightly later time of 7.30pm in the Albany Theatre Studio on Coventry’s Albany Road (CV5 6JQ) and admission is free – but please give generously to the ‘caddy’ banknote collection!
Looking ahead to June 12, CVFolk’s next advance ticket show features the exceptional blues guitarist and songwriter, Jack Blackman.
He’ll be making up for his disappointment that Covid prevented him from taking part in CVFolk4Ukraine, Support acts lined up so far include authentic trad. American arrangements from father-and-son duo Clive & Mat Ryder plus a welcome return performance of some stomping guitar and harmonica songs by Steven John Birks.
The music will start at 7pm and tickets are £11, bookable soon on the Albany Theatre website. Or call 02476 998964.
Ukraine cash where it’s needed
CVFolk has now transferred £2030 to the Emergency Appeal set up by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.
This is a culmination of ticket money from the CVFolk4Ukraine concert that took place in the Albany Theatre on March 27 and voluntary donations through cash collection and via PayPal. The money is being spent on food, hygiene and medical packs dispatched to where they are directly needed with the help of charity and church organisations on the ground in Ukraine.
The PayPal account remains open for more donations and you are encouraged to send more money (even ‘small change’) if you wish to download high resolution photographs of the event, or simply watch the main stage performances on YouTube.
Be of good shear – the Sheep Dip is back!
The Sheep Dip Sessions house concerts are coming back – at a new address in Harbury!
Session host, Michael Luntley will be announcing the precise new location shortly but he has already confirmed his first guests appearing this Autumn.
Memphis based acoustic bluesman Doug Macleod opens the new season on Friday 2 September and Scottish duo Eilidh Steal & Mark Neal appear on Friday 7 October.
Keep in touch via the Sheep Dip Sessions. Click on the link and pat the sheep!
23rd March 2022
Stand up and sing for Ukraine!
CVFolk’s rallying call as folk artists and fans join the resistance against aggression
25 acts, made up of 64 performers, will present nearly 10 hours of non-stop folk music at a fundraising event this Sunday (27th March) for the people of Ukraine.
The all-star billing performing in Coventry’s Albany Theatre includes Meet On The Ledge, The Lost Notes, Jack Blackman, Wes Finch’s band The Silver Wye, Keith Donnelly & Lauren South and the first public appearance of The Kevin Dempsey Trio featuring Joe Broughton and Urban Folk Quartet percussionist Tom Chapman.
The evening concert also features a special acoustic appearance by CVFolk’s Patron Pauline Black OBE with former Selecter guitarist Nick Welsh. This may bring back memories for veteran Coventry folk fans of how Pauline began her musical career playing the folk clubs of the city, although the repertoire has changed a lot since then.
Organised in partnership with The Albany Theatre and NN1Audio, CVFolk 4 Ukraine kicks off at 1pm with an afternoon concert in the Theatre’s Main House, featuring 16 popular acts on the Coventry and Warwickshire folk circuit including Daisybell, The Paper Circus and – making her first public appearance onstage since becoming a Mum – singer-songwriter Kristy Gallacher.
The action moves to the bar and studio at 5.15pm when a music session and Singaround is hosted by Leamington singer Stephen Boyer.
The next main stage concert begins at 7pm with a set by Rob Halligan’s Homeward Hie. With Keith Donnelly as MC, the concert ends around 10.30pm with a grand finale song and tune set, featuring many of the artists who have appeared previously that day.
The event will be receiving a visit by Coventry’s Lord Mayor, Cllr John McNicholas who has agreed to give a short presentation at the end of the evening (we don’t think he’s bringing a banjo!).
Admission for the afternoon and evening concerts is a mere £5 per concert, or £9 for the full day, with all the money being used for aid for Ukraine. In addition, there will be collections throughout the day while a live stream of the concert will be available on CVFolk’s Facebook and YouTube pages with the opportunity for people to donate from across the world via PayPal.
Says CVFolk’s Chair, Pete Willow, ‘If an aggressive dictator chooses to invade and lay waste to a neighbouring country, what can a bunch of musicians and folk fans do about it? The answer is – do what we do best and play music! Music will always inspire, enhance solidarity, and rally support much more effectively than bombs and bullets.
‘And if, through our efforts, we can raise funds to support and aid the victims of aggression, then as music-makers we become part of the resistance.’
Click here for the day’s schedule of acts and timings.
3rd March 2022
Time to get stuck in
New folk all-star line-up, Cellar Tapes to be launched in Coventry’s Albany Theatre
Three leading Midlands musicians, Andrew Sharpe, Wes Finch and Carol Whitworth turn a creative project into a live show this month.
Originally conceived as a songwriting project, developed over lockdown, they have formed The Cellar Tapes as an outlet for ‘a set of English whimsy’, making its first public appearance on Sunday, March 13th for CVFolk’s next ‘2nd Sunday’ event in the Albany Theatre Studio.
Guitarist and bass-player, Carol Whitworth, member of world dance band Jabba Cartel performs her songs based on characters she observed growing up in rural Oxfordshire. Piano-player for Steamchicken, Andrew Sharpe has found the project an excellent opportunity to produce some ‘twisted morality fables’, while acclaimed and prolific singer songwriter and guitarist Wes Finch adds his wry observational folk-blues input.
For this premiere show, they will be joined on stage by woodwind musician Beccy Bernamont plus Ben Haines, percussionist with Wes’s band The Silver Wye.
Support will be provided by popular and recently-formed Warwickshire duo, Steve 2 (Stephen Boyer and Steve Redshaw) and – following her superb performance with Coventry Singer Songwriters last month – a widely participated return appearance by singer and guitarist, Corinne Lucy.
The music starts 7pm in the Albany Theatre Studio on Coventry’s Albany Road (CV5 6JQ) and admission is free – but please give generously to the ‘caddy’ banknote collection!.
Not only a musician but also playwright, ex-lawyer, Andrew Craig Sharpe has certainly waived any right to be unproductive this year. The Cellar Tapes project comes hot on the heels of the launch of his new play The Spiral Path which was premiered last month at the Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans and will be showing again later this month at The White Bear Theatre, Kennington, London SE11 4DJ.
Five years in the making, the production weaves together tragic but hilariously dysfunctional narratives of five characters, to provide a deeply personal examination of life, love and loss. Directed by Kat Rogers, the suite of playlets can be seen on March 22nd-26th – click here for details and tickets.
And looking ahead to April…
Looking ahead to April and Coventry’s gifted singer-songwriter Kristy Gallacher returns from maternity leave to join the ‘2nd Sunday’ billing with Willow and Tool Band, and Michael Luntley’s trio, Tricaorach. Armed with guitars, fiddle and double bass, the trio will be performing their widely-praised production of From This Ground – an inspired collection of stories, poems and songs that draw on the experiences of 19th century farmworkers.
The free-admission/caddy-collection evening runs from 7pm in the Albany Theatre Studio on Sunday April 10th.
5th February 2022
More than the sum of two talents
Warwickshire’s latest super duo, Keith and Lauren step in for last-minute change of billing
World-renowned singer, songwriter and comedian KEITH DONNELLY and rising-star singer and multi-instrumentalist LAUREN SOUTH are this month’s star attraction for CVFolk’s 2nd Sunday concert
Says Keith – ‘This is probably the most important new duo since Steve Beer teamed up with that Phil Knightley!’
Says Lauren – ‘Oh for heaven’s sake!’
The recently formed duo gave an acclaimed premiere show at Warwick Folk Club last November. That was impromptu with Keith rising to the challenge of performing a hastily rehearsed set with Lauren to cover a last-minute change of guest. Their combination of voices, guitar styles and personalities plus Lauren’s skill on fiddle and Shruti box won them a fabulous reception.
And history is repeating itself in the Albany Theatre Studio, Coventry on Sunday 13th February as the tuneful twosome have agreed to cover the February guest spot. This followed the eleventh-hour cancellation of the advertised act, Bisiker and Romanov due to an unforeseen double-booking for fiddle-player Ralph Allin.
Singer, guitarist and bouzouki-player Mick Bisiker will be performing a solo set that evening which also features Coventry singer-songwriter Andi Wolf, whose music has been described as ‘deeply introspective, disarmingly honest, lyrically artful and musically potent – a musical first aid kit’.
The music starts 7pm and should finish around 9.30pm. Admission is £11 – tickets can be booked at the Albany Theatre Box office. Call 024 7699 8964 or book online. – click here.
And looking ahead to March…
The full line-up has now been confirmed for CV Folk’s 2nd Sunday event on Sunday 13th March. Headline act Cellar Tapes comprises Carol Whitworth (guitar, bass, vocals), of world dance band Jabba Cartel, Andrew Sharpe (piano, vocals) of Steamchicken, and singer songwriter Wes Finch (electric guitar, vocals). For this gig, their arrangements are augmented by percussion from Ben Haines and woodwind from Beccy Bernamont.
Support will be provided by popular Leamington duo, Steve 2 (Stephen Boyer and Steve Redshaw), and – following her superb performance with Coventry Singer Songwriters last month – a welcome return appearance by Corinne Lucy.
And news from the Wurzel Bush telegraph…
Another change of guest has been announced by Rugby’s Wurzel Bush Folk Club. Former Dubliners singer, Sean Cannon was due to appear on Tuesday 15th February but has had to postpone again because of other commitments. Instead, the talented young Birmingham duo Thorpe and Morrison are appearing that night.
Originally with Joe Broughton’s Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, David Thorpe and Ivan Morrison play lively and energetic arrangements of English and Scottish traditional music on guitar and fiddle. Take a listen!
18th January 2022
Things to do in ‘22
A few changes on the CV club circuit
but lots of good stuff happening
by Pete Willow
A new club, a new venue, a new date and, sadly, a temporary closure are among the changes to the local folk circuit in the first month of this new year.
Leamington Folk Club is the new name on the listings although the monthly event kicks off in a familiar folk venue, the Temperance Café n Bath Street, Leamington.
Meeting on the second Thursday of each month, it opens February 10th with some impressive home-grown names performing 15-minute spots, including The Silver Wye (Wes Finch and John Parker), Lauren South, Tyburn and Chessi O’Dowd. Hosted by Nik Draycott, the music starts 7pm and tickets are £3 – details here.
Atherstone Folk Club has announced its move to a new home for its monthly get-togethers. Meeting on the third Wednesday of most months, the club is now located at the Atherstone Red Lion Hotel, 99 Long Street, Atherstone. The first meeting there takes place this Wednesday (January 19) with a New Year Singaround, starting 8pm. Future guests include The Paper Circus (Feb 16), Bernard Hoskin (March 16) and Becky Mills (April 20), with resident act Finger In The Jar on all these dates. Details of this week’s event.
Some changes too for the venue of Warwick Folk Club which still meets at the Racehorse on Warwick’s Stratford Road, although the venue is about to change its name to No34 Garden and Grill, part of the Caviar and Chips group, who also own the Virgins and Castle, Kenilworth.
As a result of the necessary rebranding work to the venue (!), Meet On The Ledge’s guest appearance is now moved from Feb 28 to Monday March 14, although other scheduled shows are unchanged: Martyn Oram (January 31), Performers Night with Dave Fry (February 14) and possibly – if the refurbishment has finished – an informal Singaround (March 7th). Local multi-instrumentalist annA rydeR is their guest on March 28.
A change of date has been announced for Sean Cannon’s appearance in Rugby’s Wurzel Bush Folk Club, from January 18 to Tuesday February 15. Details here. The club also presents 4-piece folk-rockers, Rack and Ruin as guests on February 2.
And Rack and Ruin’s band leader, Mick Bisiker appears for an extended concert with fiddle genius Al Romanov (aka Ralph Allin) for CVFolk’s 2nd Sunday show on Sunday February 13 at the Albany Theatre Studio, Coventry. Starting 7pm, the concert also features local singer-songwriter Andi Wolf and a short set by Pete Willow. Details here.
January also sees a few temporary closures. While uncertainties remain with public health rules, Tump Folk in Coventry and Folk at the Lounge sessions in Monks Kirby are taking a rain check for this month but will hopefully be back in action soon. Willow and Tool’s Music Parlour is taking a longer break as its intimate room in the Harvester, Long Itchington is not conducive to social distancing. With host band member commitments thrown in, the earliest reopening date is looking like October 2022!