Spalding folkee samples folk further afield

Folk veteran Steve Tilston.
Folk veteran Steve Tilston.
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A regular column from Spalding Folk Club’s Martin Browne.

From time to time it is refreshing to look a little further afield, outside of the comfort of your local area, to see what is happening in the folk scene in someone else’s back yard.

The opportunity arose to go to March town hall for a concert in celebration of the acoustic guitar. This now annual event was conceived, promoted and compered by Phil Hare, a very competent guitarist in his own right and previously a guest at Spalding Folk Club.

The evening was well attended, in an intimate setting and we were entertained to a concert of quality singing and musicianship. The show opened with young local duo Tom Harlock and Aimee Peart-Webb. Aimee’s powerful and clear voice was sympathetically underpinned by Tom’s rhythmic acoustic guitar accompaniment through a repertoire of pop songs and standards including a bluesy rendition of Gershwin’s Summertime.

Phil then gave us a set of some of his self-written songs interspersed with several skilfully delivered guitar tunes: these ranged from the lilting and melodic O’Carolan air Si Bheag Si Mhor to the frenetic Penguin Café Orchestra number Music for a Found Harmonium. As well as being a professional musician he also teaches guitar and, as a nice touch, brought on one of his students, 15-year-old Jack Butler, for a cameo spot. The future is in safe hands (literally).

To top the evening off the final set belonged to folk veteran Steve Tilston. He has been a professional folk musician for over 40 years and was there at the beginning of the great British acoustic guitar scene alongside such icons as Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, John Renbourn and Wizz Jones. His performance was spot on and he seems equally at home and keen to give of his best performing at a small, cosy venue like this as on the main stage at a large festival.

Overall it was a small but perfectly formed event and a reminder that, for us at least, live music is a rewarding and refreshing form of community entertainment.

Live events to look out for start with the First Fridays Folk Singaround at the Wishing Well, Dyke, near Bourne, on Friday (8pm). On Sunday there is a singaround session at the Hare and Hounds, Haconby (8pm, same time for tune session on 16th). Next Thursday, Spalding Folk Club holds its music session at the Lincoln Arms, Spalding (8pm).

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