Another first visit for us to Four Rivers Folk Club, located in a fine old building in the centre of Hertford, and run by Pat Crilly. Excellent floor spots before our sets from Pat, Craig Joiner and Mike Excell. After an awkward “frog in throat” moment for Jenna in our first song, we managed to pack 12 songs/tunes into our two half-hour sets, including some new material. It was a very good evening, with a very appreciative audience and some very complimentary remarks at the end of the evening- always very pleasing to receive the latter.
A first visit to St. Neots Folk Club playing a short set at one of their Open Stage nights. Its not a huge room but it was packed out, with a good number of the audience standing at the back. We were second up, after an opening song from Roger, the clubs organiser and MC, then it was straight into our set, carefully chosen to fit the time slot, and included a first outing for a new set of tunes (Roslyn Castle and An Dros). We were followed by one of the biggest “bands” that we have encountered at our various gigs- the 11-strong Millstone Grit from Stamford who sing mass A’capella. And very good they were too!
Thanks to Solomon Smith for the photo below.
Our first full session at CB2 Acoustic Night by invitation from John Meed and Rhys Wilson was a really good evening for us. Our set went down very well with the audience and judging by the after-gig conversations with various members of the audience, it would be fair to say that we have some new fans (and some new visits to the website in the following days).
I (DC) entered this Robbie Callas Cup competition again this year but on this occasion was flying solo . Always a fun evening and again a hugely varied selection of songs from the entrants. Megan Wisdom was the eventual winner, but very pleased to record that I shared the runners-up spot with Simon Kelso. My song- ‘Ware out Mother’, a song learnt from the Melrose Quartet.
A splendid piece of news indeed for 50 % of Cambridge and Walker. After much hard work Jenna added to her BA (Music) with an MA in Traditional Music from The University of Sheffield. It was, in the words of Wallace (of Wallace and Grommit fame), “a grand day out” at the Graduation Ceremony.
Our first visit to Hadleigh Folk Club for a gig that was rescheduled from the beginning of the year due to snow, but this time no snow, just a very cold night. Simon and Val Haines were our kindly hosts at the Ansell Centre. The evening commenced with a bunch of very seasonal songs from the Hadleigh Community Choir, followed by some great bluesy/ragtime guitar playing and songs from Terry Hiscox (of Hunter Musket fame). Tim Win (not known to us before this gig) followed with a fine set of largely self-penned songs, complete with join-in choruses. After the traditional folk club raffle, and despite an abundance of prizes, Cambridge and Walker were not blessed with a winning ticket so with “heavy hearts” we commenced our set. Very pleased with both our output (hardly a glitch in sight) and the very enthusiastic and warm-hearted responses from the audience and we hope it isn’t too long before we can return to Hadleigh.
What an excellent evening at Blackfen FC! We went a little mad with wintery foliage and little lights on the NCI stage (Jennas’ idea!) but it did look very good. A short round of floor singers and then Tim Mellor (plus guitar, melodeon and Northumbrian pipes) took the first half with a real mix of traditional songs and tunes. Jenna and I joined him on stage for our three part harmony versions of “The Wren” and “Lloyd George”- great fun. The second half of the evening began with a couple more floor singers then it was our turn to launch into our long set which included a couple of new songs and tunes. Our set finished with Tim joining us on stage for a pipes + guzouki + Jenna vocals version of “On yonder hill” and finally finishing with a big sing-a-long on John Ball.
We had the great pleasure of appearing live on The Folk Show, hosted by Sue Marchant and Nicky Stockman, at the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire studios. Our time on the show was split between chatting about us and our music, live performances of a couple of our songs (“Briar and the Rose”, “It was a’ for our rightful king”) and a further playing of one of our recorded songs (“Two magicians”). Its an interesting experience playing to a radio-land audience as you can’t see or hear them, so there is no real-time feedback, but we had a very good time and Sue and Nicky were excellent hosts. I should note that, in the earlier part of the show, Boxwood Chessmen were in the hot seats, and it was good to catch up with them briefly before we went into the studio.
Cambridge and Walker were invited by the organiser (Carl Filby) to play at this annual music festival, and of course we were delighted to showcase our songs. We played three sessions during the day at different venues throughout Royston. Session 1, around lunchtime, was a 45 minute set in the unusual setting of the Royston Conservative Club. There was quite a good sized audience who seemed to enjoy our songs, but it was an interesting experience to be singing across folk who were also enjoying their lunches! Session 2, an hour later, happened in the Jolly Postie (the old Royston Post Office which is now an eatery) and we played a slightly different set with our good friend Les Ray doing the sound. A more diffuse audience but several people took the trouble to make complimentary comments and thank us for our set. Session 3 in the evening was as part of a gala concert involving many of the artistes who had played during the day- a shorter 20 minute set for us, but we thought it was the best- and really enjoyable to hear playing of the friends and other folk who had also played during the day.
A new venture for this years Cambridge Folk Festival- the English Traditional Folk Song sessions (organised by Tim Mellor)- saw us combining each day with other members of Blackfen Folk Club (and on the Sunday, with Sound Tradition from the Bury Folk Collective) to sing English folk songs and encouraging the lost art (at least in the southern half of the country) of group singing. We had to learn some new songs with good choruses, and the open-air sessions in the Flower Gardens attracted decent audiences who enjoyed joining in. It would be brilliant if this became an integral feature of the festival in coming years.