Mick Ryan and Paul Downes
MICK RYAN is well known on the folk scene as a fine singer of traditional and original songs He was described by “Folk Roots” as ‘definitely the most underrated singer in the country.’
Having written both comic and serious material for the very popular band “Crows” in the 1980’s, he has since written for radio and a series of highly successful folk musicals: ‘A Tollpuddle Man’ (with Graham Moore); ‘A Day’s Work’ ; ‘The Voyage’; ‘Tanks for the Memory’ and, recently, ‘The Navvy’s Wife.’
The reviews say it all: ‘Mick Ryan’s words and music are superb’ (“Folk on Tap”); ‘wonderful songs’ (“South Tipp Today”).
His duo with Paul Downes has been similarly well received: ‘Positively oozes skill and professionalism’ (“Folk North West”); ‘The singing, as we have come to expect from Mick Ryan, utterly superb’ (“Shreds and Patches”).
PAUL DOWNES has a sensitive, yet fun approach to live performances which puts him among the most respected artists on the British acoustic music scene today. He has been introduced (to his embarrassment) as one of the greatest acoustic guitarist in the world. It is easy to see why when you see the dazzling array of styles he performs with effortless brilliance, but, at the same time, considers himself a singer of songs rather than a guitar technician.
Paul has a rich musical background that has progressed through working with Phil Beer, The Arizona Smoke Revue, Pete Seeger and, currently, The Joyce Gang. Nine albums with bands, four highly acclaimed solo albums and over two hundred session credits have still left time for Paul to tour every concert venue, theatre and festival in Britain (including two appearances at the Royal Albert Hall with Show of Hands); plus many tours in the USA and Europe.
Together, then, Mick and Paul provide singing, music and entertainment of the very highest quality.
9th March 2018
Ben is an extraordinary young guitarist and a fine singer, whose material is as eclectic as it excellent. Whether interpreting a Swedish folk tune or a Ralph McTell song, Ben captures the beauty of the piece and adds his own creative polish. In spite of his tender years he’s built up a massive reputation at folk clubs and festivals, as well as supporting many major performers.
23rd March 2018
When Tom McConville takes a traditional tune or song, he really works on it. With either fiddle or voice (or indeed both at the same time), he explores all the possibilities of pace, decoration, and expression, and whilst the product has the unmistakeable McConville sound, it’s always true to the tradition. What he has is the knack of knowing when to go wild with a tune and when to keep it tight, a fine judgement which only comes with experience and deep feeling for the music. He brings these skills to a wide range of material, from the 19th Century James Hill to the 21st century Richard Thompson. There’s lots of talk at the moment about the younger generation taking over from the oldies. Well, let me tell you that Tom McConville is as fresh and as alive with new ideas as when he started, and never afraid to explore new combinations of sounds with other musicians. His latest CD, with Aaron and Claire, hits a new dimension in the interpretation of traditional music, and a technical excellence of the very highest quality.”
6th April 2018
Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith
Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith are one of the finest duos to have emerged onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. Their combination of outstanding vocal work, sensitive instrumentation, and a powerful social conscience has brought them widespread critical acclaim.
‘Their real strength lies in their original compositions, which range from stories of protest and eviction to the powerful, atmospheric title track about night workers. An impressive set.’ The Guardian
The songs themselves are always given centre stage but they are brought to life with stunning musical arrangements and vocals. There is an integrity that shines through their performances and a common thread of political struggle, resistance, and justice.
Their critically acclaimed second album ‘Night Hours’ was released in December 2016 on Fellside Recordings. Described as ‘exhilaratingly diverse and full of impeccably crafted songs’, it has cemented the duo’s reputation as two of the most exciting musicians and social commentators on the scene.
In September 2018 Jimmy & Sid will release their third album with a major UK tour. The album will be a further development of the duo’s songwriting and the contemporary sound that attracted such critical acclaim on their second release, Night Hours.
‘To be a great folk singer, you have to be a great storyteller, as Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are clearly aware. The duo are both fine singers and multi-instrumentalists.’ The Guardian
20th April 2018
Steve Hicks and Lynn Goulbourn
The welcome return of a duo who have a strong local following. Their performance is interspersed with humorous interludes that are mostly unplanned! Steve’s versatile virtuoso guitar and Lynn’s powerful melodic vocals combine to breathe new life into a variety of songs with a few mouth watering instrumentals thrown in for good measure.
4th May 2018
Jeff Warner is among the nation’s foremost performer/interpreters of traditional music. His songs from the lumber camps, fishing villages and mountain tops of America connect 21st century audiences with the everyday lives–and artistry–of 19th century Americans. “Providing more than just rich entertainment, Jeff will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the land you live in” (Caffé Lena, Saratoga, NY). His songs, rich in local history and a sense of place, bring us the latest news from the distant past.
Jeff grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their folksong collecting trips through rural America. He accompanied his parents on their later field trips and is the editor of his mother’s book, Traditional American Folk Songs: From the Anne and Frank Warner Collection. He is producer of the two-CD set, Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, the Warners’ recordings of rural singers, many of them born in Victorian times. “The scion of one of the nation’s most eminent families of folksong collectors, he represents a tradition that is fundamentally unbroken since preindustrial times” (Stuart Frank, Senior Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum).
Jeff has performed widely, from large festivals in the UK, to clubs, festivals and schools across America. He plays concertina, banjo, guitar and several “pocket” instruments, including bones and spoons. And “he inhabits a song in a way which few singers can do” (Royal Oak Folk Club, Lewes, UK).
18th May 2018
Dan Walsh Trio
A rare opportunity to see three incredibly talented musicians working together as part of a one off collaboration. Banjo wizard Dan Walsh is joined by the mighty Ciaran Algar on fiddle and maestro Nic Zuppardi on mandolin. Ciaran is well known for the long standing duo with Greg Russell and as part of Sam Kelly’s Lost Boys, whilst Nic has augmented many line ups including The Georgia Shackleton Trio.
1st June 2018
Comprising the singing talents of Alex Cumming (Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley), Kate Locksley (Night Fall), Rosie Calvert (Speldosa) and Will Finn, the a capella foursome have been creating a storm across the UK festival circuit in the past few years with critically acclaimed performances at the Shepley Spring Festival, Beverley Folk Festival, Warwick Folk Festival, Sidmouth Folk Week, Whitby Folk Week and many more.
Their debut album, ‘One For The Pot’ explores traditional and contemporary songs from all over the British Isles and beyond with a sensitive and lyrical approach to arrangement. Their second album, ‘Of Labour & Love’ contains new and original compositions as well as murder ballads, exotic shanties and traditional songs of love and loss, and has been critically acclaimed.
7th September 2018
Mark Bloomer & Andrew Cadie have been constantly tearing up and down the German autobahn since 2007, when as two ex-patriot British musicians they found a common bond.
Andrew’s Northumbrian pipes are the most obvious local reference to his roots, while his fiddleplaying is heavily influenced by neighbouring Scottish styles.
Mark learned to play the guitar and mandola in his years as a stalwart of the Cork session scene. Together their outstanding musicianship and harmonies breathe life into both original and traditional songs.