Bluegrass, Country and old-timey folk from one the hottest bands in the south. Their much-admired songwriting adds a Celtic twist to the overall Americana sound.
BBC Radio2’s Bob Harris is a fan, as is Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music, together with producers, presenters, reviewers, promoters and bloggers up and down the country.
Here’s your checklist:
Murder ballads? CHECK!
Rip-roaring banjo tunes? CHECK!
Songs of broken hearts? CHECK!
Haunting harmonies? CHECK!
Fred Davies - Guitar, mandolin,vocals.
Scott Smith - Guitar, lapsteel, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, vocals.
Steve Bell - Banjo, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals.
Scott Warman - bass
LAURA HOCKENHULL & CHLOE OVERTON
This will be the first public outing as a duo for these very fine singers - lead vocalists in two of the UK’s highly regarded acoustic roots bands. In Laura’s case it’s The Long Hill Ramblers and Chloe performs with Hatful of Rain and writes many of the band’s songs too.
With a shared background in traditional music their repertoire is likely to draw on sources from both sides of the Atlantic. Be prepared for the occasional country classic and songs about “broken hearts, banjos and babies.”
HARRY HORNSEY & ALFIE BERNARDI
This blog would run to many pages if it were to recount all the times spent at dreary pub gigs listening to try-hard musicians plodding robotically through their predictable setlists of blues numbers.
So chancing upon this dapper duo in a backstreet Brighton venue not unconnected with previous bad experiences was an unexpected delight. With superb harp player Alfie Bernardi at his side here was the extrovert HARRY HORNSEY breathing new life into old songs with wit and panache. His vivid vocals and dazzling guitar playing were showcased in an unusually broad repertoire ranging from prewar blues, ragtime and delta classics to country and early rock’n’roll.
More details at harryhornsey.com
An Evening with PHIL BEER
Back in the day Phil was based in Brighton and played and recorded with many Sussex musicians. Since then he has worked with Mike Oldfield, The Rolling Stones, Steve Harley, The Albion Band, Feast of Fiddles and, for the past 25 years, with Steve Knightley in Show of Hands.
He came to national prominence in the duo he formed with Paul Downes, who will be making a guest appearance on the night.
From a personal perspective, I have to thank Phil for being a mentor to The Taverners, a band I used to be in, from its early days right to the end. He masterminded our first album, recorded in Brighton and he and Paul Downes subsequently produced our next two albums on the Folk Heritage label and he joined us, along with Steve Knightley, for our last ever gig in 2011.
He has played in huge arenas, not least on five occasions at The Albert Hall, so this will be a rare opportunity to see him in an intimate setting. Virtuoso fiddle and guitar playing are guaranteed but there is sure to be an insight of a life in music, laced with his trademark humour and anecdotes a-plenty.
This is a one-off advance booking event and tickets are £13.00 plus £1.30 booking fee, available only from WeGotTickets by clicking this link:
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.