Hitchin Folk Club

Monthly Newsletter - Hitchin Folkus

APRIL 2018

Hi Folks

Our Easter concert on Sunday 1st will be, again for the 10th time, shared by Liz Simcock and Dave Ellis & Boo Howard. Liz writes songs and performs them in folk and acoustic clubs in and around the Southeast and beyond. In 1999 she featured on the Playpen Album of New Acoustic Music alongside Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, Eddi Reader and Kathryn Williams. Since then she has trodden an independent path, gaining a growing reputation as a performer and songwriter. Liz counts Richard Thompson, Clive Gregson, Boo Hewerdine and Joni Mitchell amongst her main songwriting role models. For the past few years Liz has worked with the virtuoso backing of Dave Ellis on guitar and Boo Howard on bass. Tonight she will be back solo. YouTube  Dave Ellis came down from Liverpool for the London folk club scene in 1970. He released a solo album on Sonet records in 1973 which is considered by some to be a classic guitar record of the 70s and which gave him national exposure on the Old Grey Whistle Test and In Concert.
In 1979 Dave formed his electric band ‘The Reactors’ which incorporated guitar, drums and keyboards with Boo Howard playing bass and handling most of the vocals.  The band was eventually trimmed down and developed into an electric duo (comprising Dave and Boo) which was renamed ‘Brave Lucy’. There was a direction change for the duo in 1998, when Dave and Boo transformed themselves - combining Dave’s intricate guitar work with Boo’s mellow vocals to create something very different and entirely new for the folk and acoustic clubs. Their songs are intelligently constructed, elegantly articulated and never less than entertaining. The mix is eclectic (from folk to jazz to blues to bluegrass) but the songs are at the heart of it all, served by imaginative and stylish arrangements and by the singing and playing of two seasoned, wholly in tune musicians.
The longevity of this concert format is a testament to its success, a great way to spend Easter Sunday evening, bring the family!

 Sunday 8th sees a repeat of that memorable January evening in 2017, when we celebrated Maureen’s 50 years running the club, with Mike Silver & Johnny Coppin.  Between them Mike & Johnny have been playing at the club for 86 years, but are truly every bit as good now as they ever were.  Mike, who first appeared as Brenda Wootton’s accompanist, is a superb songwriter, masterful guitarist and captivating performer, beguiling audiences with music that reaches out and draws you in, with a voice that is warm, embracing and richly resonant. With a lifetime of professional music behind him, plus a busy on-going concert, song-writing and recording schedule, Mike continues to perform throughout the UK, Europe and America, captivating audiences with songs of insight, experience - and accurate observation of our all-too-vulnerable human condition.  Johnny Coppin, who first appeared with the folk band of the time, Decameron, is a singer/songwriter, composer, radio broadcaster and poetry anthologist. His clear voice together with his ability to write fine songs make his music essentially English in character while having universal appeal. What they say - "Strong, clear vocals, and songs of substance" Daily Telegraph, "One of the finest voices in its field" Q Magazine, "One of the land's finest singer-songwriters....his music is as natural as the sun on the hills or the fresh waters of the streams" Brum Beat, "Eloquent, evocative and romantic" Birmingham Post. YouTube

We have three young artists for you on Sunday 15th, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, supported by Saskia Griffiths-Moore.  Greg and Ciaran met in 2011. Quickly signing to Fellside Records, in July 2012 they released their debut album, The Queen’s Lover. The duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene.  In January 2013, the pair picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award. Extensive touring followed despite still needing to complete school and University exams playing club venues and festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy.  After recording their second album in the November of 2013, they received the Horizon Award for Best breakthrough act at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces; Ciaran becoming All Ireland Fiddle Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Greg had already begun a career as a solo musician. Powerful songs and searing instrumentals! While Ciaran was at University, Greg became involved in other projects, eg. Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band and the Transports. Ciaran is also a member of Sam Kelly’s Lost Boys, who headline a warm up concert for the Kimpton Folk Festival on May 19th. YouTube.  Saskia is a 25 year old independent English singer-songwriter, known for her pure, clear voice and her nu-folk style repertoire.  She arrived on the folk circuit by a somewhat stranger route than most, having previously been one of the world’s youngest craniosacral therapists, practicing on Harley Street.  In 2014 she left it all behind to move to the West Country and pursue a successful career in music.  YouTube

 Sunday 22nd we have Allan Taylor. Allan is one of the last of the travelling troubadours who came through the social and artistic revolution of the nineteen sixties and carved out a career as a solo singer-songwriter. At the age of twenty one he left home and became part of the vibrant folk music of London, playing all of the major folk clubs of the time and then to Greenwich Village, New York, playing legendary clubs such as The Gaslight and The Bitter End. Signed to the international record company United Artists and recording in London, Nashville and Los Angeles his albums were released world-wide. He is considered to be one of the foremost singer-songwriters and guitarists in his genre, with more than one hundred recorded versions of his songs by Artists in ten different languages. One song in particular, “It’s good to see you” was a hit in many countries, recorded by America’s Don Williams, Scotland’s Frankie Miller and, would you believe, the late Notty Ash’s Ken Dodd!  There are eighty cover versions of this song alone. YouTube.  Supporting will be club resident, Bill Reed.

We end the month on Sunday 29th with an evening of musical brilliance, tinged with more than just a little musical madness!  Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection is back!  During a long career in the music business, Willy Barrett has performed in many collaborations, most notably as the Godfather of Grunge Folk with John Otway. In the early days at Hitchin Willy would bring an array of musicians (and furniture) with him but, in 2004 Sleeping Dogz was born and the act took on a much more structured form, with Mary Holland on cello and John Devine on Uilleann pipes and whistles. Then Willy played a master stoke with the addition of French chantress, Aurora Colson, creating the French Connection.  Jane Williams has now replaced Aurora centre stage, but the theme remains the same.  Of the French Connection, “It is unlike anything you will ever see or hear with the range of music and musicianship. Willy holds it all together. He's one of the most overlooked musicians in the country.” From a cafe in Paris, via a hoolie in Dublin, to a night out in New Orleans with rip-roaring fiddle and banjo – this band does it all!  YouTube. Supporting will Elliott Morris.  With hundreds of gigs behind him – and a coveted Danny Kyle Award from Celtic Connections 2013 – Elliott has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.  The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as ‘The Next Big Thing’, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs. YouTube.

Tickets are now available for Daphne’s Flight on September 16th, £16 members, £18 non-members.

 Keiron & Maureen Jones


Picture gallery
Who played when?(work in progress, now adding links)
Directions to the club