Ant Henson Leaving Party

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Si Genaro @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovSi Genaro is on stage back-announcing Rachel Henson‘s Imaginary Jam Band as I walk in, he then takes the music floor with a couple of surprisingly decent and straightforward tunes – he’s giving the beat-boxing a miss (apart from the last song of six) instead playing and singing his songs au naturel. Something that works well is whistling between his teeth, with a touch of reverb its very atmospheric. Shows that as well as being the performance, he can also be a performer.

Hannah Robinson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovHannah Robinson starts her set with Monster, and continues with some more great work. Its better hearing her in this folk club venue, even though its noisier than a normal folk club evening, its still quieter than the music pubs and clubs she normally frequents. Her voice is very clear, the guitar work very open and delicate.

Ant Henson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovAfter a short interval (where I take the opportunity to catch up with some of the great and the good in the room) Ant Henson takes to the stage. I’ve not heard him in such a long time; I realise I’ve missed the rotund sounds from his 12 string when I hear them again.

Ant Henson with Nicky Hann @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

He’s inviting various people to join him in songs, Tom Francis starts with him on Djembe, first joiner is Nicky Hann on flute for something fairly contemplative; they explain that she was the one that really got him gigging through a Parisian busking tour years back. Ant Henson and Fran Milner's helping hands @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovLeo joins next, he’s accompanied Ant with percussion pretty much everytime he’s played recently. They all leave and Fran Milner joins Ant, to “cover his mistakes on piano”, as he puts it. He does a cover of an Our Blinkered Eyes song, Glass Eyed Doors. Ant Henson with Tom Flanery & Si Genaro duelling harmonicas @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovNext up are  Tom Flanery and Si Genaro on duelling harmonicas as the pace picks up, such that the music is fast and furious by the time Tom Francis and Leo rejoin on percussion for 20 42, a supposed spoof song that kept its place in Ant’s set as its turned out he likes it.

Ant Henson with Tom Francis, Tom Flanery, Stephen King Leo @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

A good evening, and a great send off.

I drop into Chaplins Bar on the way home, and Adam Phillips (Asp, Fish Out Of Water) has the whole bar clapping and hollering as he finishes an energetic song.

Alex Cope @ Chaplins, 11 November

Alex Cope is running the night for Andy Stock, and closes the evening, playing a few covers, and also inserting a lot of his own material, in the style of some of the covers

Spank The Planks Evening

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Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 Oct

Spank The Planks are an Appalachian Dance troupe,

Broken String Band @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 Octaccompanied by The Broken String Band. The Bournemouth Folk Club have given them an entire evening to curate, so we are promised a variety of acts to take us on a journey around the Appalachian region and beyond…

Broken String Band @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctThe band start with their rendition of Turkey In the Straw (or Turkey In The Oven, as they dub it) before an introductory dance from the troupe, followed by a special dance gifted to Spank The planks by a visiting troupe over for Sidmouth Folk festival a few years back. John - Melodion @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctJohn (guitar in the band, though playing melodion here) takes us into the Appalachian valleys, then South America with a couple of tunes before regaling us with a comical rhyming story recital rooted in the North of England.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctNext up are the dancers with Mississippi Sawyer. This is a dance originally to the tune of the same name, however the band (nicely contrary) prefer to play the tune Cold And Frosty Morning for this dance. David Lambert - Dulcimer @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctDavid Lambert then regales us with some tunes: Going Over Jordan on dulcimer with melodion accompaniment from John, banjo solo of Kitchen Garden, then Woody Guthrie’s Ain’t Nobody as re-arranged by Billy Bragg.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctMore dancing with Old Joe Clark, then North to Ohio with the band playing Big Sciota before a blues journey to the Southern deltas with guitar and harmonica thanks to David and Dick.

Dick & David @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 Oct

The dancers are back for Cotton Eyed Joe, again with a unique musical interpretation. What is most apparent with the dancing is how combinations of simple sets and moves can build into complicated dances

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctPigs Foot is a tune from Birmingham Alabama, the industrial centre of the Appalachian region, all about putting the pig iron in the furnace to make steel, followed by Copperhead Road, the Steve Earle song about moonshining and drug cultivation. Finally the first half is closed off with a dance to Shortening Bread

The band open the second set with June Apple, and an introduction – we have John on guitar, Steph on octave mandola, Ethan on fiddle, David on mandolin and Dick on acoustic bass. Then a dance, Yellow Rose, the tune of which has been recomposed by fiddler Bob who is sitting out of the band at the moment (arm trouble), yet is here in the audience. David & Dick @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctDick and David then play Red Rooster Blues, this time on slide guitar and harmonica, before Keith Solo - Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctKeith solos a scottish clog dance originating from Fife around the 1900’s.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctThe dancers return for Ducks On The Pond, one starts, then each joins in turn before we have all four stepping in time to the tune. Next the band play Shady Grove. Most of these tunes feature the fiddle heavily as the lead melody instrument, mainly with guitar or mandolin being the backup rhythm. Ethan & Steph @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctMore dancing with Arkansas Traveller then some Irish tunes with Ethan and Steph, the reason being Appalachian music is influenced by Irish, Scots Irish, Northern European and native American folk music. The next dance is Cluck Ole Hen; with five dancers this shouldn’t work (normally dances are arranged in pairs) yet it does for this choreography.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctThe band then play The Eighth Of January, all about how the Appalachians stuffed it to the British in the 1776 War For Independence. Next is an extra dance that demonstrates the interworking between the dancers themselves, and the band. Three dancers each take it turns to pass a rhythm around, two together and one, then the band come in, all in perfect time with each other. Whiskey Before Breakfast next with the whole troupe as a finale. The encore is the band with a Scottish song, Sleep Soundly ‘Til The Morning. Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctA great varied night along a good theme.

Latin Quarter Album & Tour Launch

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Catherine Burke @ Latin Quarter Folk Club 12 FebI’m at the Bournemouth Folk Club for Latin Quarter’s warm up gig for their Ocean Head / Latin Quarter Reunited tour, before they depart for Hamburg for their German leg. Catherine Burke opens with five of her cheeky numbers from her new album. Her songs are witty and humourous, and she is very expressive here, on her own patch, without the rest of her band as she had at the launch; very much unlike she can be in the music pubs in town, too.

Latin Quarter take to the stage to rapturous applause, many people here have travelled long distance, going by the facebook messages. They start with a couple of older numbers I don’t know, before explaining and launching into Legalise It (The Making Of Al Capone) – along with a Korean interjection from someone in the audience which causes amusement.

Latin Quarter Album & Tour Launch @ Folk club 12 FebLatin Quarter had their big time in the 80’s, though they continued with varying lineups and labels for some time. The 80’s style is still reflected in the instruments used (Yamaha DX 7 anyone?), though the music being produced on these vintage classics is bang up to date. A melodica also features. Mick Jones writes some catchy yet incisive lyrics, as reflected in 4th song Even Superman.

After another I don’t know, Miss Teen USA is introduced, inspired by this youtube video of Miss South Carolina asked why so many people in the US can’t place America on a World map. Here Steve Skaith plugs in his phone to play the intro of the song from the youtube video, which the band then pick up on as per on the album. A little clue to the music – no electric guitars or drums on stage, all the additional sounds are produced on Steve Jefferies’ wonderful array of synths and keyboards, the main reason to my comments about the 80’s sound.

We are led into a remix of Radio Africa, which they say isn’t their greatest song, Steve Skaith jests he didn’t think he’d still be playing it after 30 years. To be honest I had no idea I’d be hearing this live, 30+ years since being introduced to it courtesy of Peter Powell on Radio 1 (I can still remember his back announcement of it now, something along the lines that Radio Africa was the most beautiful and impacting song he’d heard all year)

The set continues, interlacing Ocean Head songs with numbers from the extensive back catalogue. Special mentions here for Blameless, an oldie about Judy Garland, and a reggae tribute Pyramid Label, with the prospect of it all going wrong as they joke – I hear Steve Jefferies utters the classic line “good enough for Jazz “. They encore with Church On Fire, yet another I don’t know, yet its incredibly busy, Yona and Steve S sharing some complex counter round lyrics, Greg’s bass lines really tricksy, and Steve J overlaying complex chords and harmonies.  A great sounding end for a great night.

Catherine Burke Album Launch Party

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Catherine Burke & Band @ Catherine Burke Album Launch Party 29 JanI’m at the Bournemouth Folk Club again for this celebration party for Catherine Burke‘s album launch, and Catherine has roped in a few friends to help out with the musical entertainment. Krista Green opens with her usual mix of great acoustic songs, followed by Ant Lewis doing some Dusty Cuts and Our Blinkered Eyes material, followed by Ele O’Kerwin (billed as 13 year old brilliance, she is 13 so no photo published) performing some amazingly touching keyboard numbers.

After the customary break and raffle to keep the folk club going, the main event of Catherine Burke and her band take the stage to gig the new album. I’ve obviously heard her quite a few times live this past week as she’s plugged tonight’s gig round town. Most of the songs are with full band – string bass, banjo & fiddle, a couple of songs are just Catherine on her acoustic guitar. These latter are the soulful songs, the fuller band tunes tend to be more full on in nature; all songs are pretty much autobiographical being inspired by moments and people in her life.

As expected by the instrument choice, and for those that know Catherine’s music preferences, many of the songs have a bluegrass sound and rhythm, and she rattles the lyrics out fast and furious, yet absolutely crystal clear. There’s also a lot of banter about why the songs are written, and some comments read as innuendo by some in the audience, even innocently intended as they are…there’s plenty of on stage shenanigans too, for example one song was only heard by the band this afternoo, yet one wouldn’t know to hear it, a toggle between E and A minor, Jimmy’s Song.

Krista Green @ Catherine Burke Album Launch Party 29 JanAnt Lewis @ Catherine Burke Album Launch Party 29 Jan

Folk Club – Rex Preston & Miranda Sykes

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Rex Preston & Miranda Sykes @ Folk Club 26 JanI’ve been invited to the Bournemouth Folk Club tonight by one of the promoters, Catherine Burke, as two people she recommended would be right up my street are playing, in Rex Preston & Miranda Sykes. They are an epitomal example of the amazing acts at the folk club – see the folk club website for their upcoming gigs. – Rex is a former local chap (so qualifies for the blog in his own right)

Rex sings harmonies and plays exquisite mandolin work, with very delicate finger picking; he also switches to a bouzouki for some songs. Miranda plays double bass, and has an amazing voice, clear and carrying; a guitar and ukelele are also available to her.

What is impressive about their performance is not only the good tunes, some of their own, plus songs of artists they’ve played with such as Imogen Heap, and other well known tunes (like I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free , otherwise known as the BBC Film 2012 theme). They also move about the stage – its quite engaging to see Miranda move away from the mic to join Rex for an instrumental, as this requires lugging the double bass around to do so.

Kimari Raven & Kat Hattersley @ Kimari Bday 26 Jan

Catherine Burke @ Kimari Bday 26 Jan

Tony Two Dogs @ Kimari Bday 26 Jan

Then on to O’Neills for a more usual night – it’s Kimari Raven‘s birthday and she’s playing as I arrive with Kat accompanying. Tony Two Dogs and Catherine Burke also play while I’m present, before I head home (dropping in on Veetacore in the Cellar Bar, who have stopped by the time I arrive) after another busy night of good music.

Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 5

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EDNSITP HopeFMI’ve had a brilliant night in the studio with all 3 members of Radio Boscombe, swelled by their special guests tonight Elvis Did Not Star In This Production (EDNSITP). Phone interviews with Trevor Hill about the Dorset Music Awards, and a number of female fans of the band, one of which unfortunately thought she was talking to boy band Take That for some reason – nothing at all to do with the way they were introduced by compere for the show Gary, I’m sure 😉  The boys have a wide range of items on youtube, some of which were performed live on air. Another sketch they did is on the forthcoming Comic Relief CD of Monty Python Covers, And Now For Something Completely Similar arranged by Radio Boscombe, all proceeds from sales of which will go to Comic Relief 2011.

Dan Rumsey Bmth UnpluggedI quickly head up to my currently regular Wednesday Haunt – O’Neill’s – for Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 5.  Dan Rumsey is first on stage. He starts with what I think is going to be a run of the mill acoustic strummed song, when he bursts into a really high chorus on Beautiful Animal. His songs feature a range of vocal dynamics, almost matched by the guitar work with builds and fades accordingly. He chooses an unusual cover, Hushabye Mountain, which shows a different style to those songs that have gone before. He has only vague variety in his choice of styles, though I am enjoying the quality of his song writing.

Logan Carter Bmth UnpluggedLogan Carter is next, and demonstrates the gentler finger picking art of guitar playing while still able to keep a rhythm going, which impresses me. When he strums it is laid back and open, the sustain under strict control. As for Dan Rumsey, Logan demonstrates he also has a high upper point to his voice. Logan shows a knack of utilising contrasts in his performance by alternating strummed and picked, low and high songs.
His cover Billy Jean is interesting, able to play the bass line with thumb and melody with fingers – hard to do, and even harder to pull off as near perfectly as Logan does.

Boyd & Wain Bmth UnpluggedBoyd & Wain burst on with a bit of a flourish, a good story then straight into a country number I couldn’t repeat here using Radio Rules. I’ve recently written about the last time I saw these guys at Solid Air, they are still good with stories & anecdotes about life as well as the songs, yet not going on enough to turn this into ….an audience with…. Having a fiddler as accomplished as Benny really aids Katie as she plays on a very bright sounding guitar. The final bluegrass take on Chuck Berry’s Maybellene goes down well with the crowd, the stomp box almost being irresistible for the majority of people around me…

Joel Gregory gets to close what has become an early finish. Joel has probably been the most recognisibly visible act promoting his presence in the competitoon on facebook. Rightly so, since 45% of the results are by public vote on the night. The first couple of songs contain clever lyrics which are a little mashed by the overblown chords. This is retarded slightly in the third song which is a quieter number overall. As ever once I write the words I need to eat them – Joel’s built to a crescendo. Wonderwall is his cover, loved by the blokes in the audience, although much cliche’d on the circuit.

As ever there are many notable musos in the audience, e.g. this time The Luminaires are here supporting bandmate Joel, while Jinder is supporting bandmate Logan.

At the end I brave a very cold evening on the bike to get home, with a stopoff at the Chaplins Open Mic.  Alan the Shaolin Punk is on stage for half a number as I walk in, that was it – not really enough time to build an opinion, sorry. However, I’m told he’s worth looking out for again.

An Audience With Nigel Waite & Friends

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The evening starts with an introduction by Nigel, telling us about SeeAbility (formerly Royal School for the Blind) and the kids and carers that in these times need to find increased sources of funding, which is what this concert is all about.

Les Wild (compere for the evening) sets a mood and announces opener Stan Graham. I feel for Stan, he has a hard job to do in opening both the big bill, and warming up the large crowd that have turned up for this album launch. Pleasantly, the audience need little urging as Stan has a good set of singalong tunes – easy choruses to pock up, and Stan is quietly enthuastic about us joining him – dropping completely out for a refrained chorus so we can hear ourselves as the audience.

Johnny Coppin is invited to take a solo turn next up (he’s been billed as accompanying Nigel, yet hardly needs an introduction)
Obviously well known and liked within the club for good reason, this nationally acclaimed star only plays a couple of guitar tunes and a keyboard song; surprisingly to me the audience also gently join in at appropriate moments. Doing a bit of research later, I discover Johnny produced Nigel’s album, a snippet I’ve missed in the announcements.

I’ve not seen Tinderbox for a long time, so this listening session is long overdue. They play two songs, one from each of their first couple albums, again starting in the singalong mode that the evening has encuraged.
Monique drops a couple of allusions to her pregnancy, with a comment that she’s feeling hormonal and teary – rather endearing though. They finish with a heart rending song from the upcoming fourth album (estimated release near the end of the year). I guess they’ve been asked to keep their patter between songs short, as Dan hardly gets a word in, leaving his fingers performing the guitar magic to do the talking.

Compere Les Wild has his work cut out while the stage is reset for Martyn Windham-Read & Iris Bishop. Iris’ Concertina and Martyn’s voice are a beautifully different combination, before Martin picks up a guitar to add to the ensemble. Nigel interupts the set to ask Martin to insert a 4th track into his set list – this is a pretty tune that could just go on forever – and that is intended to be interpreted both ways! It was a song writing exercise, intended never to be performed, however if one likes it, its wondeful. Of couse, a repetitive tune and words, if one doesn’t get the vibe, can seem to go on forever!

Finally, after the interval and inevitable raffle draw, Nigel joins the stage, with Iris and Jonny to start; eventually Les, Bob Whitley (on blues harp) and Nigel’s daughter Marianne have all taken part at different junctures.

Nigel is charmingly self-deprecating – he quips “normally after the interval there’s the professional artist for the evening – not tonight obviously!”  He’s also comically just slightly clumsy (only a small amount), able to make light of tapping Iris on the head with the guitar by mistake. This continues as a running joke for the rest of the evening…

There are some good stories behind the songs, and interesting anecdotes about the songwriting and recording process, which I judge not able to be shared here, sorry! (despite the title of the post).

The evening has also been a success for SeeAbility, £650 has been raised on the door and via the raffle, in addition to any album sales.

On the way home I drop in to see Antonia Edgeley-Long at Chaplins – she’s headlining the Sunday Session tonight. It’s a rare pleasure for me to hear her solo voice, more often than not she’s joining Voodoo Vegas for a song or two, or fronting her rock covers band Supercharger Heaven. She finger picks, while singing at a pitch which is slightly elevated from her normal speaking voice. Yes OK, I’m a sucker for female vocalists, and I’ve been spoilt tonight with hearing two with exquisite tones with Monique from Tinderbox and now Antonia.

Andy Stock and AJ close the night with a couple of nicely hammed tunes, or perhaps I should say out-of-tunes, as they have a friendly argument about the guitar and blues harps not matching, all in all a very pleasant Sunday evening.

Folking Fearne

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Took a rare opportunity tonight. Ness likes the group Fearne, who were on at the Bournemouth Folk Club. The club was formerly a regular Sunday pilgrimage for us, it hasn’t been for too long…

Opener Franziska Pretsch demonstrated the modern folk art at its best (or worst, depending on point of view) – solo singer songwriter guitarist with an amazing voice, formerly of this parish now sucked up into the big smoke up country. Good stuff.
Fransiska was followed by an amazing duo, Shadrack Tye, Sam Robson with percussive guitar and Tina Longford on fiddle accompanying Tina’s wide ranging voice, perfectly paired with Sam’s harmonies in their original material. They broke into an a capella Nobody Knows, winning the audience over even more…

Fearne folk club AlexI almost feel sorry for the headliners needing to follow such a scintillating performance.
No worries on that score. Nick dropping his bass to join Alex and Adam on mandolin for the first tune, an unforeseen development that worked for this first full band acoustic outing I’ve witnessed since the line up reshuffle.
A couple of new songs started the set before some favourites from the EP showed how much this always appreciative audience love their local grown heroes.

Very early Fearne song Doing All I Can To Make You Smile (from the unreleased first album) raised some laughs, all due the comment “it’s a real instrument, honest” as Adam showed a melodica off.. A great gig, in front of a great audience…

Finished off the night introducing Ness to Fiona Fox courtesy of Chaplins, playing a (for Fiona) troublesome gig, though I didn’t notice particularly for the few songs caught; only when Fiona spoke was the throat crisis noted. Took the opportunity to pass on what I’d discovered about VocalZone lozenges and poorly throats…