Ward Thomas ‘The Good And The Right’

Ward Thomas are a Country / Americana duo from Hampshire, comprised of 19-year old twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas who release their first UK EP on 7th April with a debut full length album to follow this Summer.


Hampshire and Country music may not be obvious bed fellows but these girls, brought up on a rural live stock farm from a family line that included artists and authors, have had Country music in their blood ever since they were introduced to the music of Carrie Underwood, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss by a cousin in their early teens. “We fell hard for Country”, as Catherine puts it. One listen to the vocal cadences and close harmonies on their ‘Footnotes’ EP and Nashville and Hampshire suddenly don’t seem all that far apart.

Since a demo recording of the song “Footnotes” found its way into the hands of top Nashville session musician Bobby Blazier, the girls have spent much of the last two years recording in Nashville with Blazier and other top Country players including Dan Dugmore and Chris Rodriquez. The resulting Ward Thomas album will feature guest appearances from Grammy Award winner Michael Omartian (who appears on the EP track “Take That Train”) and Country Music superstar Vince Gill, winner of 18 CMA awards and 20 Grammys.  2014 will now see Ward Thomas turning their attention to their home country with a first UK release.

The 4-song EP features three original songs co-written by the girls and recorded out in Nashville and a cover of Dougie MacLean’s classic ‘Caledonia’. The lead track, a song about the bittersweet relationship with technology entitled ‘The Good & The Right’, is the perfect barn-storming showcase for the girls’ song-writing and vocal talents. This is backed by ‘Footnotes’, (“writing “Footnotes” was the first time we felt we were not just singers but songwriters too” says Lizzy), which highlights their beguiling harmonies and a vocal blend perhaps only twins can possess. Their easy way with story telling is perfectly encapsulated in ‘Take That Train’, a true-life story about love lost and a chance for redemption, inspired by Lizzy’s brief encounter with a complete stranger on a train who confided in her, recounting her whole life story.



Ward Thomas’s own life story has also helped them define their sound and own brand of Country music. “Our parents went through a divorce, so our father built his London business and our Mom went back to school to get her art degree,” says Catherine, “Lizzy had a bad riding accident and many more ups and downs helped us grow to consider life beyond the farm. It might seem unusual for two British 19-year olds to be so into Country music but we love the sound and the stories – and cows, chickens and goats have the same language in rural Hampshire as they do below the Mason-Dixon line!”

More Names Announced for Cambridge Folk Festival

Van Morrison (Sun), Sinéad O’Connor (Fri), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Sun) Richard Thompson (Fri), Rosanne Cash (Sat), Newton Faulkner (Thur)Afro Celt Sound System (Fri), Loudon Wainwright III (Sat), Eddi Reader (Sat) The Full English (Sat), Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham (Sat/Sun), Oysterband (Sun) Julie Fowlis (Sun), The Fisherman’s Friends (Fri), Cara Dillon (Fri) Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle (Fri/Sat), Pokey LaFarge (Thur/Fri) Peatbog Faeries (Sat/Sun), Peggy Seeger (Fri), Jason Isbell (Sun) Lúnasa (Sat/Sun), Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita (Thur) North Mississippi Allstars (Sat), Hot 8 Brass Band (Sat), Sarah Jarosz (Sat/Sun) Yves Lambert Trio (Sat/Sun), O’Hooley & Tidow (Sat/Sun) Skinny Lister (Thur) Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin (Thur), Jim Moray’s Silent Ceilidh (sat) Brian McNeill (Fri/Sat), My Darling Clementine (Fri), Whapweasel (Fri) New Rope String Band (Sun), The Rails (Sun), Old Swan Band (Fri) Megson (Fri/Sat), The Young’uns (day tbc), Hat Fitz & Cara (Thur) The Mischa Macpherson Trio (Sat/Sun)

cambridge ff

More names have been revealed for this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations: double chart topping, multi-platinum selling, Brit Award nominated, acoustic guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, heading the line-up for Thursday night; Scottish singer songwriter Eddi Reader, who has enjoyed a long and successful career both as a solo artist, including acclaimed project ‘The Songs of Robert Burns’ and with hit pop band Fairground Attraction; Scotland’s traditional fiddle supremo and leading instrumentalist and composer Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham; godfathers of folk rock, the ever-popular Oysterband; pure-voiced Gaelic singer and multi-instrumentalist, Julie Fowlis; Port Isaac shanty singers The Fisherman’s Friends, following their moving, show-stopping return to the stage at this year’s BBC Folk Awards; master of flutes, whistles and Uilleann pipes, uniquely gifted fiddle player and foremost Irish traditional guitarist Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle; experimental Celtic dance band Peatbog Faeries from the Isle of Skye; American, blues-infused rock and roll band North Mississippi Allstars; feel good street music with a social message from New Orleans’ Grammy nominated Hot 8 Brass Band; dynamic, Quebecois folk music pioneers Yves Lambert Trio; Yorkshire folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow, whose music has been described as ‘defiant, robust, political, Northern and poetical’; folk-punk band Skinny Lister, gaining a growing reputation for their rousing, high energy live shows; Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin, recent winners of Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; back by popular demand Jim Moray’s Silent Ceilidh; Brian McNeill, leading the Festival session; critically acclaimed British country band My Darling Clementine, including Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish; award winning English dance band Whapweasel, hosting Friday’s ceilidh; a children’s concert featuring a skillful blend of musical recital and circus from New Rope String Band; new folk rock duo The Rails, featuring Kami Thompson and James Walbourne; long established and influential country dance group Old Swan Band, hosting a kids’ ceilidh; both a regular set and a children’s show from highly original folk duo Megson, mixing heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving, rhythmic guitars and mandolas; Teeside trio The Young’uns, beguiling audiences with irrepressible humour, bold vocals, gripping storylines and innate musicality; raw, old-timey blues from Australian-Irish husband and wife duo Hat Fitz & Cara; BBC Young Folk Award winners 2014 The Mischa Macpherson Trio.

As previously announced, the legendary Van Morrison will make his debut at Cambridge Folk Festival this year, as headliner for its 50th anniversary. With one of the most revered catalogues in music history and unparalleled talents as a composer, singer and performer, his Sunday set is sure to be a fitting finale to the celebrations. In another Festival first, internationally renowned singer-songwriter and activist Sinéad O’Connor, famed for her captivating stage presence and stunning vocal range, will be headlining Friday night.

Plus Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Sun), celebrating over fifty years of their uplifting South African gospel influenced a cappella music; folk-rock royalty Richard Thompson (Fri), one of the world’s most critically acclaimed guitarists and songwriters; US singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash (Sat), following the release of career defining album ‘The River & The Thread’; global beat pioneers Afro Celt Sound System (Fri), fusing West African rhythms, Irish traditional music, cutting-edge dance grooves, Indian bhangra, Arabic influences, dub reggae, and more; US singer-songwriter and Festival favourite Loudon Wainwright III (Sat); a rare festival appearance from The Full English (Sat), featuring Fay Hield, Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, Rob Harbron and Ben Nicholls performing seminal early 20th century folksong; Multi-award winning Irish folk singer Cara Dillon (Fri); Pokey LaFarge (Thurs/Fri), playing a creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing; influential American folk singer Peggy Seeger (Fri), who played the very first Festival; critically acclaimed US singer-songwriter and former member of Drive By Truckers, Jason Isbell (Sun); leading traditional Irish music group Lúnasa (Sat/Sun); Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita (Thurs), a unique collaboration of classical harpist Finch and kora player Keita, exploring the traditions of Wales and Senegal; young American singer-songwriter and instrumental virtuoso Sarah Jarosz (Sat/Sun).

See the Festival website www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk for more information and tickets. More artists to be announced, including Club Tent showcases and The Den line-up.

Held annually in a beautiful tree lined park in Cambridge, the four-day outdoor Festival is considered one of the world’s most prestigious.

Having started life in 1965, the 14,000 capacity Festival showcases both international headline artists and young, emerging talent across four different stages and continues to enjoy sell-out success year on year. Renowned for its unique parkland setting, great facilities and family friendliness, the Festival offers something for everyone with street theatre, music workshops and sessions, raucous ceilidhs, open stages, a youth area, internet café, kids’ ceilidh, storytelling, free creche, paddling pool and playground, real ale bars.

Tickets: Full Festival £138; Thursday £21; Friday £50; Saturday £60; Sunday £60. Camping: (Full Festival tickets only, per 2-3 berth tent) Cherry Hinton £56, Coldham’s Common (second site) £38.  Tickets subject to booking fee.


Cambridge Folk Festival is promoted by Cambridge City Council.

Threepenny Bit to release new album ‘Pantomime Cannon’

Threepenny Bit, the Hampshire-based eight piece folk band, announce the release of their third album, Pantomime Cannon, with Little Folk Records on September 5th 2014. The album is a collection of traditional and self-penned folk tunes played with a groove that combines their folk, jazz, classical and rock influences while capturing the raucous style they are known for. It will be distributed by Ditto music online as well as directly from the band’s website at www.threepennybit.net.

Threepenny Bit hail from all over the country but now reside between Southampton and Oxford. After founding the Southampton University Folk Society in 2010 the original three piece (hence the name) formed a busking band to take folk music to the streets of Hampshire. Over the following year, five other members joined and the band’s sound began to evolve into what it is today: a genre-bending mash-up of influences and styles played with explosive energy! Pantomime Cannon is the follow-up to their second album Cartography, which was nominated for the FATEA Awards’ Instrumental Album of the Year 2013. ‘We’re hoping to push the boundaries of what’s expected from folk music with this album’ says the band’s violin player, Chris. ‘Expect a mixture of traditional and original tunes, dub-style rhythms, intricate harmonies and jazz flute breaks!’

‘We started work on this album almost as soon as we’d finished the previous one,’ says Josh, the band’s guitarist. ‘We had some material that wasn’t quite ready in time for Cartography, so we’ve spent a year and a half gigging to really hone it into something awesome.’ Pantomime Cannon was recorded at The Ranch Production House in the New Forest over the Winter. ‘The live room was huge! We could focus on playing together as a whole band and getting the sound just right. The goal was to capture the feel of our live show and get that energy into the recording.’

Threepenny Bit are: Chris Nichols, violin/viola; Guy Moore, drums; Hannah Gray, flute/whistle; Helen Gentile, clarinet; Jason Beaumont, flute/bass; Josh Robson-Hemmings, guitar; Ruth Burrows, saxophone and Steve Troughton, accordion.

The band will be showcasing material from the album at the following events:

Apr 26 Oxford Folk Weekend

May 02 Deverills Festival, Wiltshire

May 05 Rochester Sweeps Festival

May 24 Chippenham Folk Festival

May 30 Winchester Discovery Centre

Jun 29 Folk on the Quay, Poole

Jul 11 The Talking Heads, Southampton

Aug 1-8 Sidmouth Folk Week

Aug 23 Purbeck Folk Festival

“Their arrangements are fresh and unrestricted. Their approach accomplished and natural”~ Folk Words.

More information can be found at www.threepennybit.net

Fairport’s Dave Pegg back in action

Fairport Convention’s Dave Pegg
back in action for May/June tour

Legendary folk-rock outfit Fairport Convention will welcome the return of long-serving member Dave Pegg on bass guitar when the band hits the road this spring. Earlier in the year, his son Matt had to stand in as bassist when Pegg senior badly injured his hand in a kitchen accident.

“In January, I severed a tendon in the first finger of my left hand while I was emptying the dishwasher,” Dave recalls. “The irony is I’d just spent two days chain-sawing firewood without incident.”

“My hand was in a splint for six weeks so I couldn’t play bass or mandolin on Fairport’s winter tour. Luckily, Matt is a bass player too – like father like son – and he was available to deputise for me. Now I’m raring to get back on the road and really looking forward to playing with the band again.”

Fairport Convention’s semi-acoustic spring tour will have an intimate feel and will visit thirty-odd venues and festivals between Thursday 1 May and Saturday 7 June. The concerts will feature a mix of new songs and long-established favourites from the Fairport repertoire.

The band’s line-up features Simon Nicol (vocals, guitar), Dave Pegg (bass guitar), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (mandolin, fiddle, vocals) and Gerry Conway (percussion).

Hailed as the originators of British folk-rock music, Oxfordshire-based Fairport Convention has been playing for nearly fifty years yet remains as vibrant and inventive as ever.

After the spring tour, Fairport will be preparing for their annual open-air music festival at Cropredy in Oxfordshire which takes place on 7, 8 and 9 August.

Eddi Reader – Vagabond

I’ve just been listening to Eddi Reader’s latest CD – ‘Vagabond’.  It kicks off with a 1930’s feel and moves through a range of styles encompassing jazz, 3/4 time signatures, traditional Scottish music and a hint of country. It all comes together to produce a really beautiful collection of chilled music superbly performed by Eddi Reader and her friends. I think I’ll be listening to this quite a lot.

Eddi Reader - Vagabond
1. I’ll Never Be The Same
2. Back The Dogs (Dancing Down Rock)
3. Vagabond
4. Married To The Sea
5. Edinah
6. Snowflakes In The Sun
7. Baby’s Boat
8. Macushla (My Darling)
9. Midnight In Paris 1979
10. Buain Ná Rainich (Fairy Love Song)
11. In Ma Country
12. Pray The Devil Back To Hell
13. Here Comes The Bells
14. It’s A Beautiful Night

The latest Eddi Reader album, Vagabond was released by Reveal Records in February 2014. Recorded by Mark Freegard in Eddi’s hometown of Glasgow with a cast of well chosen musicians and friends eager to play their part in this, most captivating, deeply personal yet universal sounding album. Vagabond was produced by Eddi Reader and features many of her long-term musical collaborators including: John Douglas (Trashcan Sinatras), Alan Kelly, Ian Carr, Ewen Vernal, Roy Dodds (Fairground Attraction), John McCusker and Boo Hewerdine.

“Eddi Reader is one of my favourite singers of all time.” Jools Holland


In Eddi’s own words –

I have been on a journey with this set of recordings. Two years ago, I began writing and playing with ideas on John’s new piano. Well, I say “new” – it’s a second-hand, small Zender piano. I’d never heard of that make, but when we got it tuned, the fella said that they use this kind of piano to train the piano tuning students. Often, if they got bad marks, the saying goes that they had to ‘return to Zender’. After I kicked him out of my house for that terrible joke, I sat down and began falling for its sweet tone and I attempted to learn my way around it. The guys in the Edinburgh music shop who sold it to me told me that Tom Waits had been in the shop earlier and sat playing on it for a half hour then bought another one. Mr Waits was playing Edinburgh that night, so it seemed plausible. It’s a lovely piano nonetheless. It took me all the winter of that year to become acquainted with the idea that I was writing and that I should start recording. I did, but only the odd day here and there. 2012 was a wonderful and weird one. John and I got married on 8 June. With that we are both blissful, but in other things we were challenged. John developed an incurable illness and we were distracted by health issues and family troubles. I took a while to steady my feet about all of that. Then by the end of the year, I knew I needed to pull the fellas together and try recording live – if only to bring myself back to land. The good news is John is walking the road to recovery and will get better. No fear or doubt! Buíochas le Dia! The recording sessions progressed throughout January 2013, (it’s the best time to grab everyone as most are at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival) and they were amazing. We all squeezed into Mark Freegard’s Kyoti studio with Roy Dodds (drums) and Ewen Vernal (double bass) creating an engine for Boo Hewerdine’s steady rhythms (guitar) to steer through the songs with me (singing) sometimes playing guitar or piano, Ian Carr (guitar) soloing and Alan Kelly (accordion) floating in and out of everything. I recorded around 26 songs and had to choose 12 as 26 won’t fit on a CD. This new album was supposed to be 12 songs that flowed well together but I couldn’t bear to leave some off. So I got John to choose. When I protested he would say, “Those songs are on the next record”. We compromised on 14.”



For further information visit : www.eddireader.com

17/04/14 Sheffield Memorial Hall United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
18/04/14 Gateshead The Sage Gateshead United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
19/04/14 Runcorn The Brindley United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
21/04/14 Leeds City Varieties United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
22/04/14 Bath Komedia United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
24/04/14 Inverness Eden Court Theatre United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
25/04/14 Edinburgh Queens Hall United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
27/04/14 Glasgow O2 ABC United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
29/04/14 Worcester Huntingdon Hall United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
30/04/14 Lincoln Drill Hall United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm. Buy tickets
23/05/14 Ireby Ireby Folk Festival United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm.
11/06/14 London Barbican United Kingdom
Time: 7:30pm.


Newton Faulkner heads line-up for Thursday night at Cambridge Folk Festival.

Double chart topping, multi-platinum selling, Brit nominated, acoustic guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner will head the line-up for Thursday night at the 50th anniversary Cambridge Folk Festival.

Newton Faulkner
Other names just announced for Thursday are: Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin, recent winners of Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; folk-punk band Skinny Lister, gaining an increasing reputation for their rousing, high energy live shows; and raw, old-timey blues, Australian-Irish husband and wife duo Hat Fitz & Cara.

Also appearing on Thursday will be: Pokey LaFarge, playing a creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing; Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, a unique collaboration of classical harpist Finch and kora player Keita, exploring the traditions of Wales and Senegal.

More names for Thursday and the rest of the weekend to be announced.

See the Festival website www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk for more information and tickets.

Beverley Martyn New Album – The Phoenix And The Turtle

Beverley Martyn

Beverley Martyn started her musical career at just 16 with the jug band The Levee Breakers and recorded her first single “Babe I’m Leaving You” in 1965. In 1966 she was chosen to launch Deram Records and released a single, “Happy New Year” written by Randy Newman. She contributed to the Simon & Garfunkel album Bookends, toured America with the duo and later appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival on 16 June 1967.

In 1969 she met John Martyn, whom she later married. As a duo they issued two albums, Stormbringer! and The Road to Ruin. Although she was spending more time with her children, Beverley continued to contribute to John’s solo projects until the breakdown of their marriage.

At various times, Martyn has worked with Levon Helm, Jimmy Page, Dave Pegg, Richard Thompson, John Renbourn, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham, and Sandy Denny. She appeared in the photograph on the album sleeve of Bert Jansch’s 1965 album It Don’t Bother Me; where she can be seen lounging in the background.  In December 2013, Beverley appeared at the Royal Festival Hall as part of a celebration of Bert Jansch, alongside friends and contemporaries such as Donovan, Martin Carthy, Pentangle and Robert Plant. Her powerhouse performance of “When The Levee Breaks” was described by Mojo as ‘sounding almost Janis Joplin-esque’.  A film of the event is due to be shown by the BBC in the spring.

In 2004, Fat Boy Slim sampled Beverley Martyn’s song “Primrose Hill” for the track “North West Three” which is on his album Palookaville. Beverley still performs the song live along with ‘Auntie Aviator’, also from The Road The Ruin.

April 2014 will see the release of her new album entitled The Phoenix and the Turtle. Described by Beverley as a very personal album, it features songs written throughout her entire career, from her very first song, “Sweet Joy”, to the previously unrecorded Nick Drake & Beverley Martyn song “Reckless Jane” which was started in 1974 when Drake lived nearby Beverley in Hampstead. “We started writing the song as a bit of a joke,” she says, “I couldn’t look at it for a long time after he died, but then finally I decided to finish it.”

“When The Levee Breaks’ and ‘Going To Germany’ are songs Beverley used to sing with The Levee Breakers. Another song, ‘Women And Malt Whiskey’ is, in part, about John Martyn and other friends from the scene back then.

The Phoenix and the Turtle is Beverley’s first album in fourteen years and was recorded in Wales with guitarist and producer Mark Pavey; it also features contributions from bass player Matt Malley, ex-Counting Crows and drummer Victor Bisetti, ex-Los Lobos which were recorded “by the magic of computer” in California. The album “still has that in-a-room feel,” said Beverley recently, “it sounds like an old style analogue record. It’s very me, very transatlantic.”

Beverley Martyn and her full band will be playing, Bush Hall, London, April 29th, 2014, to coincide with the release. Tickets priced at £15.00 in advance. Box Office: 020 8222 6955


Blackbeard’s Tea Party Tour Dates 2014

March 2014

Fri 14 – Wed 19. Costa Del Folk Festival, Hotel Alay, Av de Alay, 5, 29630 Benalmádena, Málaga, SPAIN
Tel: 01254 504970 See website for tickets and times


Sat 29. The Duchess, Stonebow House, The Stonebow, York, North Yorkshire YO1 7NP
Tel: 01904 641413 Tickets £6.00 — From 7:30 p.m.

Sun 30. Barnsley Acoustic Roots Day, Horizon Theatre, Dodworth Rd, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 6PD
Tel: 01226 704230 See website for tickets and times

April 2014

Thu 3. Hare & Hounds, 106 High St, Birmingham, West Midlands B14 7JZ
Tel: 0121 444 2081 Tickets £6.00 — From 7:30 p.m.

Fri 4. The Greystones, Greystones Rd, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 7BS
Tel: 0114 266 5599 Tickets £10.00 — From 8:00 p.m.

Sat 5. West End Centre, 48 Queens Rd, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 3JD
Tel: 01252 330040 Tickets £10.00 — From 8:00 p.m.

Sun 6. The Edge Arts Centre, Farley Road, Much Wenlock, Shropshire TF13 6NB
Tel: 01952 728911 Tickets £8.00 — From 7:30 p.m.

Wed 9. Fruit, 63 Humber St, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire HU1 1TU
Tel: 01482 221113 Tickets £10.00 — From 7:30 p.m.

Fri 11. The Prince Albert, Rodborough Hill, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 3SS
Tel: 01453 755600 Admission Free — From 8:00 p.m.

Sat 12. Rake and Pikel Chester Rd, Huntington, Chester CH3 6BS
Tel: 01244 318254 Admission Free — From 8:00 p.m.

Fri 25 – Sat 26th Folk Weekend George St, Oxford, Oxford OX1
See website for tickets and times


May 2014

Fri 16. Howden Live, Shire Hall, 11 Market Place, Howden, East Yorkshire DN14 7BJ
Tel 01430 431535. Tickets £10.00 — From 7:30 p.m.

Fri 23. Ireby Festival, Globe Hall, Ireby, Wigton, Cumbria CA7 1DX
Tel: 01697 371645 See website for tickets and times

Sat 24. Chippenham Folk Festival, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15
Tel: 01249 657 190 See website for tickets and times

Sun 25. Chester Folk Festival, Kelsall, Cheshire CH3 5UP

See website for tickets and times

June 2014

Sat 7. Gate to Southwell Folk Festival, Normanton Road, Southwell, Nottinghamshire NG25  OPT
Tel: 01636 816 678 See website for tickets and times

Sat 14. The David Hall, Roundwell St, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5AA
Tel:  01460 240340 Tickets tba

Fri 20th – Sun 22nd Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak Cultural Village, 93762 Kuching, Malaysian Borneo.
Tel +608-241098. Tickets from RM90.00. http://rwmf.net/

July 2014

Fri 11. Bromsgrove Folk Festival, The Bowling Green, Stoke Prior, Worcestershire B60 4BH
Tel: 01527 831577 See website for tickets and times

Sun 13. Ely Folk Festival, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB6 2SH
Tel 01284 758000 See website for tickets and times.

Fri 18. Festival at the Edge, Stokes Barn, Much Wenlock, Shropshire TF13 6DB
Tel: 01939 236626 See website for tickets and times

Sat 19. Larmer Tree Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, SP5 5PY
Tel 01725 552300 See website for tickets & times


August 2014

Sat 9. Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, Cropredy, Oxfordshire, OX17
Tel: 0900 637 1644 See website for tickets & times

Fri 15. Moira Furnace Folk Festival, Moira Furnace, Furnace Lane, Moira, Swadlincote, Leicestershire DE12 6AT
Tel: 01530 272 305 See website for tickets & times

Sat 16 & Sun 17. FolkEast Festival, Glemham Hall, Little Glemham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 0BT
See website for tickets & times

Wed 20. & Thu 21. Whitby Folk Week, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21
Tel: 01274 833669 See website for tickets & times
Fri 22. Galtres Festival, Duncombe Park, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Tel: 07803 570399 See website for tickets & times
Sat 23, Sun 24th & Mon 25th. Shrewsbury Folk Festival, West Midlands Showground, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 2PF
Tel: 0115 807 7900  See website for tickets & times

September 2014

Fri 5 & Sat 6. Swanage Folk Festival, Swanage, Dorset BH19

See website for tickets & times

Fri 12. & Sat 13. Bromyard Folk Festival, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4NT
Tel: 01432 340555 See website for tickets and times

Blackbeard’s Tea Party have been playing together since the summer of 2009. They began as a busking, function and ceilidh band, but quickly gained a reputation as a formidable live act and soon found themselves selling out venues in their home town of York.

Word quickly spread, and the band began to play gigs further afield, including a number of noteworthy festival concerts and ceilidh bookings throughout 2010 and 2011. These included Sidmouth, Shrewsbury and a headline slot at Galtres, amongst others.

To date Blackbeard’s Tea Party have released an EP (Heavens to Betsy, 2009) and their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober’ (2011). Since the release of Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober – which R2 Magazine gave a five star rating – Blackbeard’s Tea Party have gone from strength to strength. They were recognised as one of the best live bands in the UK in the 2011 FATEA Awards and 2012 saw a long run of festival bookings, including Cambridge and Whitby, and return visits to Sidmouth and Shrewsbury, amongst others.

2013 was their biggest year yet with the release of their second album “Whip Jamboree” accompanied by their first UK headline tour. During the  summer of 2013 they performed at numerous festivals, including a return to Sidmouth plus appearances at Beverley, another headline slot at Galtres, alongside first time visits to Broadstairs, Holmfirth and many more. In between all these shows, Blackbeard’s Tea Party could still be found busking on the streets of York whilst performing at their own band gigs across the country. Already the diary for 2014 is filling up with numerous major festival appearances now confirmed.


The Band:

Stuart Giddens: melodeon, sumptuous vocals

Tim Yates: bass, melodeon, trombone, sousaphone
Martin Coumbe: electric guitar, lidl acoustic guitar
Dave Boston: djembe, congas, shakey things, bells, faux bells
Liam  ‘Yom’ Hardy: cajon, drums, tambourine, minature cymbal
Laura  Barber: fiddle, cello

World music project first for Martin Simpson & Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops)

Dom Flemons and Martin Simpson Credit Alan Cole_Shrewsbury Folk Festival

English musician Martin Simpson, one of the finest acoustic finger-style and slide guitar players in the world, and American guitar and banjo player Dom Flemons (from the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops) will work together to create brand new collaborative material rooted in English and American folk traditions.

They will research and explore how folk songs travelled from England to North America and vice versa, changing shape as they journeyed.

Using archive collections in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House – including Cecil Sharp’s landmark folk music fieldwork notebooks and diaries from his collecting trips in the Appalachian Mountains – they will go on to perform just four shows, including a performance at renowned music festival WOMAD.

This is an English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) commission, in association with WOMAD.


Martin spent many years living and playing in America. He has been nominated an astounding 26 times in the twelve years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other performer – with nine consecutive years as nominee for Musician of The Year, which he has won twice. 2008 saw an incredible five nominations for Prodigal Son and two wins, whilst in 2010 he had an unprecedented six nominations for his CD True Stories and a win for Best Traditional Track. 2012’s nominations for Martin included Best Album, Best Traditional Track and Best Musician. Martin has recently been involved in The Full English, a musical collaboration celebrating the archive of the same name, and The Elizabethan Session in March 2014, a new music project paying homage to that era.

A performance at Cecil Sharp House and a brief visit to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, sparked Dom’s interest in how the songs from his home state of North Carolina may have sounded in the hands of English counterparts. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills, in addition to singing. Dom’s banjo repertoire includes not only clawhammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band, Dom was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences. The band won a GRAMMY for its 2011 album Genuine Negro Jig and was nominated for its most recent album, Leaving Eden, in 2012.




23 July: Cecil Sharp House, London, 7.30pm

Tickets £16



24 July: Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich, 8pm

Tickets £15, £12.50 concessions



25 July: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham by Sea 8pm

Tickets £15

http://ropetacklecentre.co.uk/events/martin-simpson-dom-flemons/, via booking office on 01273 464440 or in person


26 July: WOMAD, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9DG

Weekend (24-27 July 2014) ticket information and prices available at http://womad.co.uk/tickets/. (Day tickets to be released at a later date)

Phil Beer sets sail with series of summer Folk Boat cruises

All aboard! Phil Beer, the multi instrumental wizard from award-winning English roots band Show of Hands is changing tack this summer – and inviting sailing and music enthusiasts (and novices) to join him on a series of five day cruises in West Country waters and beyond.

All aboard! Phil Beer, the multi instrumental wizard from award-winning English roots band Show of Hands is changing tack this summer – and inviting sailing and music enthusiasts (and novices) to join him on a series of five day cruises in West Country waters and beyond.

phil beer

With Show of Hands taking a rare break from touring until the autumn, Phil’s year will see him steering a different course – appearing solo, with the all-star Feast of Fiddles, the Bully Wee Band and his own Phil Beer Band.


But perhaps the highlight of his year will be when he takes to the high seas with his series of Folk Boat sailing and music workshop adventures this summer.


Exeter-based Phil is one of the folk world’s most popular ambassadors and was nominated for the coveted Musician of the Year title at the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.


He famously got his sea legs back in 2009 when he took time out to achieve a lifetime dream of crewing in the famous Tall Ships Race, on the 74 foot Bristol built wooden cutter Pegasus which crossed the finishing line in an impressive second place in its class, after a voyage of 4,500 nautical miles and an adventure which took in 12 countries.

This summer he will be back on board the eight-berth Pegasus (above at its launch in Bristol) and twelve-berth gaff-rigged  ketch Tectona (right), both operated by the Exeter-based sail training organisation The Island Trust – on a series of Folk Boat cruises out of Plymouth.


The idea for the cruises came about when Phil ran a one-off sailing/music adventure with Pegasus skipper Diggory Rose back in 2011. Phil, who has his own boat which he sails around the River Exe, says: “I have a long standing connection with Diggory as he’s the son of our late friend and folk singer Tony Rose.”


For a flavour of Phil’s Folk Boat at adventure see www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VZobxmjdAs  filmed last August.

[chromeless id=9VZobxmjdAs width=395 height=220 autoplay=no ytcontrols=no]


2014 cruises will run weekly from Sunday, June 1 through to the end of August. Says Phil:” We are already half way to a sell out.”


He says applicants do not need to be proficient in either sailing or musicianship. “The cruises are open to all comers and the experience will be tailored to the unique people on the voyage. It is an informal, experience with daily music sessions and if you don’t play or sing you can just sit back and listen. One of the best things is a night sail where everyone gets to help run the boat through the small hours.”


“We’ll be visiting West Country ports like Falmouth, Brixham, Salcombe, Dartmouth and Weymouth with the possibility ,depending on weather conditions, of getting as far as the Scilly Isles or even France(participants are advised to bring passports in case of a French foray!).


An August “Show of Hands special” featuring a songwriting workshop with Steve Knightley and another evening presented by Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston is now sold out with a waiting list but spaces, at £700 a head, are still available on the following cruises, all leaving Plymouth on a Sunday night.



June 8-13

June 15-20

June 22-27

June 29-Jul 4



Aug 10-15

Aug 17-22

Aug 24-29


Anyone interested in booking a berth for the Folk Boat adventure should contact vicky@firebrandmusic.co.uk and you can read more about Folk Boat here www.philbeer.co.uk/sailing and see Phil’s gig dates here www.philbeer.co.uk/tour-dates