PAUL DOWNES - September 7th

Paul Downes is an exception to the general rule that our guest performers are based in Sussex. He now lives in Devon but spent several years in this area and has, for many years been part of the band I used to play in, the Brighton Taverners.

Even as a 15-year old he was causing wonderment in west country folk clubs with his precocious skills and since then he has developed into one of the finest acoustic guitar players on the folk circuit. Steve Knightley was a schoolmate but it was with another local contemporary, Phil Beer, with whom he first achieved national acclaim. The Downes & Beer duo were a hugely successful live act which produced some memorable albums.

Since then he has played with Pete Seeger, Show Of Hands, Richard Thompson, Maggie Boyle and is currently part of Mick Ryan's touring theatre shows.

Why is he so much in demand? Quite simply because he is one of the most versatile guitarists you will hear in a long time - with stunning accompaniments to a huge range of songs, including his own.

As Folk Roots said of him, “An incisive guitarist...there is smoothness and depth in his voice ... estimable songwriting skills.”

Support tonight is from Chichester’s Annie Winter, “the Sussex Nightingale”, a very fine interpreter of the traditional music of the southern counties.

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