A fortnightly column from Martin Browne of Spalding Folk Club.
The Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities are behind us and, thinking ahead to Spalding Folk Club’s 2015 guest list, I also took a backward glance at those we had in 2014.
Last year seemed to have been mainly a re-booking of firmly established favourites: the ten guests making re-appearances were The Hut People, Dan McKinnon, Catherine Craig & Brian Willoughby, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston, Winter Wilson, The Willows, Pete Morton, James Keelaghan & Hugh Macmillan and Pilgrims’ Way. Those making their debut were Jinski and Hannah Sanders.
The forthcoming year sees a total turnaround statistically with two returning acts and ten making their first appearance.
In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for emerging talent to break into the system. The forthcoming programme can, at least, be said to provide the local folk followers with the opportunity to sample some fresh acts.
Guests this year from February onwards will be Alistair Russell & Chris Parkinson, Jeff Warne, trio Red Moon Road, Luke Jackson, Union Jill, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Stuart Forrester & Carol Anderson, Chris Sherburn & Findlay Napier and Maria Dunn.
Our January guest was multi-instrumentalist Brian Peters. Although among my list of new acts Brian has, in fact, made a welcome return after an absence of many years. How we realised what we had missed! He gave us an evening filled with a mainly traditional repertoire including Lay the Bent to the Bonny Broom, Cold Stringy Pie, the Golden Vanity, William Taylor and a very early English version of Wild Rover. He also gave us a fine version of the late Keith Marsden’s Prospect, Providence. Switching nimbly and seamlessly between guitar, melodeon and concertina for accompaniment he interspersed his mixture of tunes and songs with interesting and informative chat on the background of each piece.
He is a seasoned and accomplished performer and his virtuosity was all the more evident in a stirring rendition of Dallas Rag on concertina.