ELSIE FRANKLIN grew up in a home filled with music. Her Dad, Adam, is a musician of international repute who plays host to countless American roots players touring the UK, with whom she has shared sessions round the kitchen table from an early age.
Small wonder that, still in her teenage years, she has become a performer of astonishing maturity, not only in her interpretations of classic s from the country blues repertoire but also of her stylish original material.
Having played all over the UK, she came to the attention of the legendary Dave Kelly, of The Blues Band, whose sister, Jo Ann Kelly was an early inspiration.
He says: "Elsie Franklin is the most natural blues singer I've heard in years. Her guitar playing is pretty damn good too, uncluttered and tasteful, she really understands the genre - she's the whole package"
Having come from contrasting musical backgrounds Emily Hall and Josh Slowley came together to form THE NAUTICAL STRING SECTION. Drawing on such diverse influences as Martin Carthy, Stephane Grappelli and Wolf People, their music encompasses shanties and traditional songs to the music of 1930s Paris, with the odd stopover in the Appalachian mountains.
Emily plays and dances with The Cuckoo’s Nest morris side, while Josh is also a member of The Wellington Wailers shanty group.
Sidmouth-born Ewan Wardrop grew up surrounded by the sights and the sounds of the town’s International Folk Festival. From there he developed a keen interest in American and British folk ballads, songs of the British music hall and more recently the songs of his adopted county of Sussex.
A multi-instrumentalist, He has worked all over the world as an actor, dancer and musician and is currently working on a project with Rob Harbron (Leveret), Ben Nicholls (The Full English) and fiddle player Ben Paley.
A love of George Formby led him to write the critically acclaimed play Formby for the Edinburgh festival in 2012 in which he plays the ukulele in Formby’s unmistakable style.
This summer he can be seen acting in Much Ado About Nothing at London’s Globe Theatre as well as dancing with his Morris side The Bo Diddlers.
Hamish Currie hails from the east coast of Scotland, where folk music was always part of the landscape. Having moved south his repertoire is now taken from the traditions on both sides of the border, laced with some original and contemporary material.
He has appeared as the guest artist at clubs from Cumbria to Sussex and featured at countless festivals, including Towersey and Cambridge.
“A skilled guitarist and singer with an infectious sense of humour" - St. Neot's Folk Club
"Hamish's arrangements always cut through the mundane to get straight to the interesting...a Carthy-like precision to his guitar playing.” - George Papavgeris
“An accomplished performer, there was a hearfelt audience response.” - Swanage Festival
PETER FERGUS MCLELLAND
Peter is a hugely experienced performer with many years of gigging in the UK and Europe along with his partner Mannie in a variety of line ups and musical styles. He will be performing tracks from his latest solo CD, Turn of the Tide which he describes as, “songs of the sea, coast, fishing, rivers, lovers and banishment.” The album reprises his concert performance at last year’s Cornwall Folk Festival and features some of his own material as well as traditional songs.
He will be joined by Tom Evans on bass and the legendary multi-instrumentalist Nick Pynn on fiddle.
Support comes from Uckfield-based NATASHA NORODIEN, a lovely singer whose singular interpretations of traditional ballads and covers of material by folk influenced songwriters are inspired, she says, by such greats of the folk revival as Sandy Denny, Joan Baez and Mary Black.
KIRSTY MERRYN & MIKE REINSTEIN
Kirsty Merryn has been turning heads in London’s prestigious folk venues and has now been signed up to support Show Of Hands on their autumn Cathedrals Tour.
She is currently working on an album of original songs focusing on the stories of real and imaginary female heroes, some with Sussex connections.
“An incredibly gifted songwriter and musician….she is a rare talent” - Sam Kelly, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winner 2016
“Everything about the future will be rubbish – except Kirsty Merryn. I plan to retreat to my bunker and listen to her EP until it all goes away.” - The Guardian
“Sassy and sexy, witty and wistful” - Steve Knightley, Show of Hands
"Perfect! Poised vocals." - Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music
"Perfect! Poised vocals." - Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music
A compelling performer and established songwriter, Mike Reinstein is a wonderfully dextrous wordsmith whose incisive analysis of the human condition is leavened with warm humour.
“...in a similar ball park to masters of wordplay like Jake Thackray, Leon Rosselson and Robb Johnson, on whose label he now appears" - Colin Irwin, Spiral Earth
"A brilliant singer and songwriter" - Mike Harding
“Alluring melodies strewn with beguiling hooks and perceptive lyrics with a perspicacity that could punch a hole through sheet steel” - Folkwords
“Music with heart, wit and imagination” - Folking.com
“Songs which engage the inner mind as well as the emotions” - Fatea
TERRY MASTERSON & EMILY MAE WINTERS
Terry Masterson was at the heart of British folk revival in its infancy and remains a hugely influential figure, especially in Sussex. He was a resident at the legendary Bunjies Folk Cellar in Soho where Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and David Bowie all played early in their careers.
Following residencies at more prestigious venues around London he became much sought after. He was top of the bill at the first Broadstairs Festival and soon embarked on headlining tours of the USA and Canada.
His life-long involvement with the oral tradition was fostered by the storytelling of his Irish father and song sessions at family gatherings. Among the Irish diaspora he forged especially strong links with the travelling community, whose songs are a feature largely in his repertoire. A captivating performer and spellbinding singer, it is a cause of much regret that he only recorded one album - but this has recently been reissued on CD and will be available on the night.
We’re delighted to be part of Emily Mae Winter’s tour promoting her debut album, Foreign Waters, recorded at Ben Walker’s Brighton studio. An award-winning songwriter, she has appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival and at the Folk Alliance International in Kansas.
Much praise has already come her way:
Emily Mae Winters has produced an arresting, enthralling tantalising introduction to her work that leaves us hungry for more. - Folk Radio UK
Superbly crafted and dramatic song writing.. Winters’ songs reflect a love of poetry, her lyrics giving a dark edge to songs that are beautifully performed. - Radio 2 Magazine
Some singers grow on you over time and others stop you in your tracks. Emily Mae Winters falls into the second category. - Fatea Magazine
We were hooked. - Time Out
Her songs are touched by the influence of Irish folk, country and Americana, and her voice borders on devastating. In short… she’s terrific! - Folkroom
A singer straddling the folk and country genres with some aplomb. - W21 Music
Haunting - Acoustic Magazine
He was just sixteen when he made his first public debut, alongside his father at The Royal Festival Hall but this will be a rare solo appearance. In addition to the familiar Copper family favourites there are sure to be songs from his grandfather James’ cherished comic and music hall repertoire.
John and his sister Jill now bear the torch handed down by their father, Bob, the prolific author and broadcaster and who are now joined in their glorious harmony singing by their burgeoning extended family. Between them they carry this unrivalled heritage with an easy familiarity born of seven generations of family song sessions round the kitchen table.
There will be fascinating insights into the quotidian pleasures and hardships of work and leisure in the heydays of pre-industrial farming life, with and anecdotes and banter a-plenty.
Next month: Terry Masterson & Emily Mae Winters
TOM EVANS & JACK HOGSDEN
Tom and Jack grew up in families with a long involvement with folk music in Sussex.
Tom’s Dad is a regular contributor to local sessions and his multi-instrumentalist Mum, Sue, is a pivotal member of the famous Twagger band. He too can turn his hand to a variety of instruments and has been playing in public since he was 11.
Jack’s parents, Becky Martin and Leon Hogsden, are steeped in Sussex traditions. Excellent musicians and singers, they are integral to the activities of Ditchling Morris.
It’s unsurprising, therefore, that their repertoire comprises mostly English songs and tunes as well as those of Ireland, Scotland and North America.
Having already forged a reputation as an insightful lyricist in his native Hampshire, Dom has been turning heads on the Brighton music scene of late. Hearing his father playing traditional Scottish music he was later influenced by the songs of the Durham miners in a documentary he encountered during his film studies.
For him the creative process begin as poems but his captivating melodies transform them in a most felicitous way.