Martin Browne writes a fortnightly column about folk events in the district.
There are one or two performers who seem to have been in the folk arena forever. Their longevity is usually a testament both to their skill and appeal but above all to their ability to adapt to a changing folk scene and to remain fresh and original.
We recently had the pleasure at the Barn at Baston of experiencing one such luminary. Prolific songwriter Jez Lowe, along with his band the Bad Pennies, gave us a slick and musically adept evening of some old favourites and some new material.
Jez has been involved between 2006 and 2014 with the BBC Radio Ballads project and his latest album, The Ballad Beyond, distils 15 songs from the 200 that he wrote for the series. Two notable songs from the album were heard on the night.
The Pitman Poets celebrated the miners from the north-east of England who wrote their own ballads reflecting on their lives and working conditions. Secondly, a tragicomic song called The Wrong Bus poignantly told of the fact that soldiers in the First World War were transported to the front in a fleet of London buses ferried across the Channel for the purpose. The narrator in the song unwittingly catches the wrong bus in London only to find himself in the trenches. Jez’s larger-than-life cockney and German accents emphasised the comedy but subtly underlined the tragedy of human conflict.
Jez Lowe can hold an audience as a stand-alone performer in his own right but there is an extra dimension when he appears with the Bad Pennies. They contribute not only with their considerable musical talent but also act as a foil for the stream of good-natured banter that comes from the man himself.
Looking ahead, Friday (8pm) is the First Fridays Folk singaround at the Wishing Well, Dyke, near Bourne, and on Sunday, at the Hare and Hounds, Haconby, there is a singaround and song session (8pm) (plus a tune session on November 17 at 8pm).
Boston Folk Club’s guests at the Eagle, Boston, on Monday (8.15pm) are Doug Hudson and Ian Cutler.
Spalding Folk Club’s music session is at the Lincoln Arms next Thursday (8.30pm).
Finally, Stamford Arts Centre hosts a concert by Blazin’ Fiddles on Wednesday, November 19 (8pm). Tickets are £16/£15. Box office number is 01780 763203.