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Musicians lost to 2016

Dear Grim Reaper.

You have been a greedy bastard. Now feck off, take a year’s sabbatical, and leave the world of music alone!

Yours sincerely
2016

The Grim Roll Call

  1. David Bowie
  2. Dale Griffin (Mott The Hoople)
  3. Glenn Frey (Eagles)
  4. Colin Vearncombe, (Black)
  5. Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane)
  6. Signe Anderson (Jefferson Airplane)
  7. Maurice White (Earth Wind and Fire)
  8. Viola Beach (all four members)
  9. George Martin
  10. Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
  11. Andy Newman (Thunderclap Newman)
  12. Merle Haggard
  13. Jimmie Van Zant (American singer, songwriter)
  14. Prince
  15. Lonnie Mack (American rock, blues and country singer)
  16. Billy Paul (Me and Mrs Jones)
  17. Guy Clark (country and folk singer, songwriter)
  18. Dave Swarbrick
  19. Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic / Talking Heads)
  20. Henry McCullough (Irish rock guitarist)
  21. Ralph Stanley (American bluegrass artist)
  22. Scotty Moore,(long time-guitarist with Elvis)
  23. Alan Vega (electronic protopunk duo Suicide)
  24. James Woolley (Nine Inch Nails)
  25. Matt Roberts (3 Doors Down)
  26. Rod Temperton (Heatwave)
  27. Pete Burns
  28. Bobby Vee
  29. Leonard Cohen
  30. Craig Gill, (Inspiral Carpets)
  31. Colonel Abrams (American singer/songwriter)
  32. Leon Russell
  33. Ray Columbus (and the Invaders)
  34. Bap Kennedy, (Belfast singer-songwriter)
  35. Sharon Jones (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings)
  36. Wayne Duncan (Daddy Cool)
  37. Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
  38. Rick Parfit (Status Quo)
  39. Joe Ligon (Mighty Clouds of Joy)
  40. George Michael

By |December 26th, 2016|0 Comments

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Merry Hell at the Hermon

hermon

Hermon Chapel (picture – Barry Edwards)

Destined to be bull-dozed, the Hermon Chapel was purchased by social worker and Oswestry Town Councillor Duncan Kerr, whose vision and sheer hard work has transformed the building into a premises for public meetings, music performance and movie screenings.

Retaining the layout and furnishings of a traditional Welsh chapel, Duncan has added a tiny licensed bar, a sound system and stage lighting to create a performance space accommodating an audience of a little over 100.

There are some who might possibly play merry hell over the thought of  the former holy building being used for rock music, and that, figuatively speaking, is what happened last weekend. It was, of course, all good natured as those nicest of folk rockers, Merry Hell, descended from Wigan to perform their stuff.

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Bob Kettle

The band’s six-piece acoustic(ish) line-up played two 45 minute sets that included many of their old favourites like Bury Me Naked and Drunken Serenade, and some from their newly released album Bloodlines, (a hairy review of which will follow soon).

The cosy atmosphere was fabulous and the band’s energetic enthusiasm for everything they do rubbed off onto the appreciative audience, many of whom where, quite literally, dancing in the aisles. Bob kettle’s new ‘alternative anthem’ Come on England, was one of the highlights for me. Another was his emotional and poignant song about refugees, Coming Home, sung by the entire band, a cappella.

The band were, as always, stunningly brilliant. If you’ve never seen them, please do! And if you can get to see them in a lovely little venue such as this, all the better.

 

By |November 29th, 2016|0 Comments

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Folk on the Dock

20160827-4076The Hell was Merry, the Eleanor was Nelly, plus a bespectacled dog who’s been on the telly.

 

Liverpool held it’s first ever “Folk on the Dock” festival over the Bank Holiday weekend. BBC Radio DJ Janice Long hosted the event, and with over 30 acts performing on two main outdoor stages, two concert venues and several smaller stages (some on the deck of boats moored in the Albert Dock), there was something for everyone.

Best of all, apart from the evening indoor concerts, the whole thing was free!

We were only able to go on the Saturday this time, so we missed out on seeing some of our favourite acts, but next year I have a feeling the entire weekend will be on our itinerary.

Here are some of the highlights featuring Folk Rock Band Merry Hell, Liverpool singer Eleanor Nelly, a couple of Shanty Singers and a bespectacled dog 🙂 .

By |August 30th, 2016|0 Comments

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Saturday’s Acoustica Sessions at Llangollen Fringe Festival

Mike Clarke

Organiser and MC Mike Clarke

For the past few years the Fringe Festival has grown into a major event for Llangollen.

Acoustica has become a part of that festival, taking place on the Saturday afternoon between 1.00pm and 8.00pm.

This is a purely Acoustic event introducing new acts (to the area/event).  No Amplifiers or effects pedals, nice and simple, and back to basics, with just instrument and vocal mics to reinforce the sound.

This year’s  Acoustica event took place on Saturday the 16th of July at The Hand Hotel, on Bridge Street.

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The Glaaswalkers

The event was opened by The Glaaswalkers featuring the event’s organisers, Brian Connaughton and Mike ”Squeezebox” Clark.

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Brian Connaughton

The Glaaswalkers describe themselves as “Three Blokes , one woman, one fiddle, one bass, a guitar, three squeezeboxes, seven gob irons, and various whistles playing mostly their own stuff A touch of folk, blues and countryish music. The other main band members being Matt Moose,  and Sam Rex Edwards.

After their opening spot, Brian jumped onto the sound desk and generally made sure everyone was mic’d up correctly and Mike talked himself hoarse introducing all the afternoons’ acts whilst perfecting the art of speaking through the widest and most genuine smile you have ever seen.

 

Penni Neale

Penni Neale

Next up was Denbigh’s Penni Neal. Penni is a retired lecturer, born in Pwllheli, who developed her love of singing at an early age.

Penni is an active member of the local music scene involved with the Denbigh Folk club and more recently the Ruthin All Styles Music Club.

She sang a wide range of songs in in both Welsh and English leaning heavily on her Folk, Country and Blues roots. Her version of Highway to heaven had the room spellbound.

Chris Birchall

Chris Birchall

Next up was Chris Birchall aka The Hairy Photographer, Chris first got into music in his teens as bassist and vocalist with sixties Merseybeat band, The Executioners.

During his career as a photojournalist, Chris snapped dozens of high profile musicians, including the likes of Clapton, Blondie, The Who, The Jam, The Clash, Sting – the list goes on. And all the time hankering to get back to performing but never having the time.

Now retired he brought the songs of Bob Dylan, Willy Nelson, The Beatles, Christy Moore and Damian Rice to Llangollen, alternating between his his vintage EKO Ranger and Washburn 12 String.

John Williams

Hailing from the Wirral, John Williams is a singer/songwriter with folk roots as his main genre. His set included some of his own compositions and songs by the likes of Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler.

He performed Romeo and Juliet as you’ve never heard it before, played on  an eight string baritone mandolin. Being a multi instrumentalist, for this set he also used a four string tenor guitar.

Isabella Crowther was next up. An Indie/Acoustic artist with a lovely voice. Although from North Wales she is currently based in London, gigging the local music scene. Her set included songs from her debut E.P. released this summer.

Isabella Crowther

Isabella Crowther

In a nice touch, the organisers invited local pensioner Peter Meilleur on stage to recite a William Blake poem.

A last-minute addition to the line-up was local musician Chris Burton who gave us a taste of the songs he can be found busking on the town hall steps on the weekends, raising money for the air ambulance.

Next up was Theo Laughlin is a talented and colourful musician performing as something of a one-man band with guitar, foot drum and stomp tambourine, He sang a mixture of his own humorous and serious works with a few well known sing-alongs too!!

Theo Laughlin

Theo Laughlin

Listing his main musical influences as the delta blues, jug bands, country blues,  Steely Dan, Ry Cooder, Clapton, and Dylan, Andy Bob Beaumont did a fine set including his song Red to Blond. before dashing off back to Bangor for another gig. Andy Bob also has a live session booked for next Monday night on Tudno FM at 10.00pm.

The headline act this year was the locally-based Alt-folk, Sunshine Pop band, Campfire Social. They took to the stage for the last hour with a highly entertaining set. Undeterred by a gremlin in the PA system, they jumped off the stage to get up close and personal for the last half of their set.

All in all it was a wonderful  afternoon’s entertainment thanks mainly to the hard work of the two enthusiastic organisers Brian Connaughton and Mike Clark.

(Click the pictures to enlarge)

Headliners Campfire Social

Headliners Campfire Social

 

By |July 17th, 2016|0 Comments

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Shout! The Mod Musical

20160523-1041Well this could be one of the easiest reviews I’ve ever written.

In fact I could just write “fabulous” and leave it at that. Because that one word sums up this …erm …well …fabulous show.

Or maybe I could string together a whole bunch of superlatives.

Maybe I could say “Let the pictures speak for themselves” and when you go and see the show (and you must – it’s the law!) when you go and see the show “let the music speak for itself”.

Because it does…

20160523-1011Right from the get-go, this is a high energy musical and visual treat as it takes you, through the eyes of these lovely young women, from the early stirrings of emancipation in the fifties through the swinging sixties and into the seventies, charting the journey women took from a time when their only aspirations would have been to marry and be a dutiful housewife, to a position of strength and independence. To a time when young women knew what they wanted from life and went for it (even if some aspired to marry a Beatle!)

20160523-1034To put together a cast of six actresses and four musicians who gel and bounce off one another and feed off each other’s enthusiasm is no mean feat. But when you realise the entire cast are graduates of the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts (LIPA), it’s amazing.

Not only that… it was produced and directed by LIPA graduates too. And the fact that pretty much the whole shebang has been put together by graduates has to be a fine testament of both that excellent institute based in Paul McCartney’s old school, and to the remarkably talented youngsters growing up in Liverpool today.

20160523-1022The show was originally staged as an end of term production at LIPA. Then following rave reviews, was taken to the Edinburgh Festival – TWICE!

In their ultimate wisdom, the Royal Court decided the time had come for this beautiful old Art Deco theatre to reverberate to the sounds of SHOUT! the Mod Musical.

20160523-1062It would be wrong for me to pick out any one of those girls to be ‘man of the match’ (wrong on so many levels!).  They were all superbly talented actors, singers, dancers. If pressed to pick out a favourite moment, however, I would probably say it was when Evangeline Pickerill sang “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” with exactly the right mix of emotion and humour as her ‘Yellow Girl’ character lamented over the fact Paul McCartney was about to marry someone other than her.

But each of the girls had their ‘moments’ and in abundance. They all had superb voices and their performances were faultless. Hayley Hampson, Emily Chesterton, Sarah Folwell, Miriam O’Brien and Katie Tyler are all names you will be reading in rave reviews for many years to come.

20160523-0971Even if you (together with the entire cast) are too young to remember the sixties, when the sounds were big and cars and skirts were mini, you will thoroughly enjoy this uplifting show. The entire Royal Court audience last night were on their feet at the end singing along. I can pretty much guarantee that will be the case every night before this show ends on the 4th of June. It’s only a (far too short) two week run. Please don’t miss it!

Totally 5 Stars! 

Click the pictures to enlarge.
I defy you to scroll through without saying YES I’m gonna see this!

By |May 24th, 2016|0 Comments

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