Radio Boscombe arranged their Christmas Special Show for listeners to HopeFM. Comprising the usual mix of original material performed live, canned material from prior shows, and classic material from other comedy groups they’ve been associated with there’s a good blend and balance, even if the ironic tribute to the Pearl Harbour 70th anniversary fell on some ears harshly (had a phoned complaint).

Aaron Gregory dropped in with some tunes and his new EP to promote a charity fundraiser he’s organising for Sparkles, providing a hydrotherapy pool for St Victorias school, Branksome, and much was made of some of the artists who are giving their time for free to play and hopefully swell the coffers.  Rock Regeneration reviewed the night.

On to the Chaplins open mic, where Chris Woodford sets a strong tone by opening with his usual harmonic symphonies. What I find amusing is he drifts from movement to movement, with breath pauses to allow a change in mood, mode and tempo, and those breaths are always thought of by some in the crowd as stops, hence a couple of claps soon falter.

David Mansell takes to the chairs. He’s another amazing guitarist, I’d normally have thought him more of the blues persuasion than other genres, unlike Chris he sings too. Tonight he’s sticking to gentle folk ballads, the archetypal story in a song. He’s playing with including some Jazz guitar expressions, I like that he throws in a gliss chord at the very end of a piece, slowing down the a big burst to signify “I’ve finished, cue your applause”. Dave’s big finish is a blues number, good 8 bar staple.

Madison Tar Heels are 3 Jack Ratts members under the watchful eye of Hawkeye. They kick off a bit of a stomping set with CrippleCreek, really fast banjo work, slap string bass and washboard making great taps. The lively nature of the music is catching, there are whoops and various Southron phrases thrown around from both the band and the audience. The music is all old time, 19th century Americana  (I did call this Bluegrass though I’m later informed this is called old-time, invented before bluegrass; its all in the picking action, aparently…) – Cluck Ole Hen, Turpentine and the like. Short, snappy and a lot of fun.  Its so much fun, that by the time I leave, I’m too late to catch Pete Christie at the Thomas Tripp tonight – the difference in bar closing times & travel between can be awkward sometimes…