Colum is a member of the internationally renowned Sands family from County Down. His first album was released in 1981 and his songs like “Almost any Circumstance” and “Whatever you say, Say Nothing” were soon in the set lists of artists such as Billy Connolly, Maddy Prior and June Tabor. His first book was published in 2000 and contains a mix of stories and songs “leaving behind an optimism and appreciation of the power of the human spirit over adversity” just like his performances. He presented BBC Radio Ulster’s folk show for almost 20 years and short series for Radio 2, RTE and Radio 4. His tenth CD “Song Bridge” all self-penned tracks, was released in 2020.
Coincidentally Carrington Triangle began 40 years ago and with Colum now rarely leaving his native Northern Ireland to tour, we feel privileged to have his songs, wit and wisdom to celebrate our anniversary.
Our next guest night is Wednesday 18 May when Paul Downes is coming to entertain us. His sensitive yet fun approach to performance puts him among the most respected acoustic guitarists with a dazzling array of styles, but he prefers to be known as a singer. His best friend at school was Steve Knightley and at 16 they met Phil Beer. After a few years they went touring as Downes and Beer, then as a trio with Bill Zorn in Arizona Smoke Revue.
When Show of Hands became successful Paul resumed a solo career, with spells as a session musician then playing the music for Mick Ryan’s folk operas and in a duo with the late Maggie Boyle. He is currently also performing with Mick Ryan as part of the group ‘Crows’.
Julie Wigley is a singer/songwriter from Derby and she and husband Steve are regulars at Folk Clubs around the country. Her output of original songs has been phenomenal. Since 2015 they have produced seven albums, a songbook and a poetry/songbook illustrated by Steve. Their eighth album, ‘Time Train’, comprising 17 new songs, is recorded and will be released in the Spring.
They have featured on folk programmes on Radio Derby, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester, among others and performed last year on the main stage at Moira Furnace Folk festival, Derby Folk festival, and the Yarmouth Sea Songs and Shanties Festival, Isle of Wight. Julie’s songs always have a story to tell and a number of them feature their home county of Derbyshire.
Stonesthrow is a collaboration between Steve & Julie and their friend Tony Fowkes and the trio sing mainly acapella versions of some of their favourite close harmony folk songs, by some of their favourite contemporary artists plus traditional songs. Stonesthrow were winners of the 2021 Write a song for Lincolnshire competition, with Julie’s song ‘The Usher Imp’
Canadian roots/swing duo Over The Moon’s Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell are awarding multi-instrumentalists/vocalists that met, fell in love, got married and discovered their voices blend so well together that people often tear up upon hearing them sing.
Living on a ranch in the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, it’s inevitable there will be a strong sense of place- and the rhythms of the land when you start to make music. When the couple released their debut album, the resonances were there for all to hear. reflecting the pulse of life, lived in a territory that is both dirt-hard rugged and beautiful.
Their music is a wild ride from 40’s sounding western swing and Appalachian old-time, to cowboy blues. Simple and sweet, all of their material has a common thread that speaks of the Canadian west and on their UK release, reviews were glowing. American Roots UK saying it was “Exceptional” and Country Music People adding “There’s so much to enjoy here.” The editor of Maverick Magazine told readers “You will love this” Elmore Magazine, New York “We knew we were on to something special”
“We take a no-nonsense approach to traditional English folk song, taking our cues from revival singers such as Frankie Armstrong, Peter Bellamy and the Watersons and placing an emphasis on strong vocals, tight harmonies and unfussy arrangements.
With repertoire drawn from and inspired by our homes in the North West and East Anglia, expect to hear a distinctive range of songs sung with passion.”
“Their new EP is one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in a long time. There’s no artifice, no straining for clever effects at all. It’s just damn good songs sung beautifully.” Mike Harding, The Mike Harding Folk Show
“Good straight ahead, proper job folk duo like what they made in the 1970s – sound and look like an escapee from Trailer. No silly folkist mannerisms, and not twee… worth investigating.” Ian Anderson
“The Charcoal Black and The Bonny Grey EP is a small but perfectly formed gem which shines like a beacon in the dark winter night and will be treasured by anyone for whom the legacy of traditional English folk music is as important today as it ever was. Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp are part of that rare but thriving band of musicians who are influenced by traditional material while developing their own distinct style and I, for one, hope we’ll be hearing much more from them in the future.” Helen Gregory, folkradio.co.uk
Robb Johnson is now widely recognised as one of the finest songwriters working in the UK today. “An English original”,(Robin Denselow, the Guardian) … “one of our best singer-songwriters ever” (Mike Harding)… a “renowned folk-punk”(Time Out). His songs feature in the repertoires of a wide variety of musicians, from folk legend Roy Bailey to cabaret chanteuse Barb Jungr, and he enjoys a similarly diverse spectrum of critical acclaim – “a modern-day Dostoyevsky” said the US’s Dirty Linen, Mojo made the double CD Gentle Men, a song suite family history of the First World War and its consequences, Album Of The Month, while The Daily Telegraph made it their Folk Album Of 1998. A revised version was recorded in 2013 to coincide with the centenary of the First World War featuring Roy Bailey Barb Jungr, and was again greeted with widespread critical acclaim. Tony Benn said Johnson’s “Winter Turns To Spring” is his favourite song, while Jeremy Corbyn’s favourite is “Bob Crow”.
Alice Jones is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and dancer from Ripponden in West Yorkshire. Her background is deeply rooted in the English folk tradition and the music that she makes instantly reflects this strong influence. Alice sings mostly traditional songs accompanying herself on the piano or harmonium and sometimes only with foot percussion. The sensitive and intuitive arrangements of each song allow the stories to take centre stage and, inspired by her beginnings as a percussive dancer, they are loaded with a rhythm and energy that portrays her dancer’s heartbeat. Her distinctive voice and innovative style lends a fresh, modern perspective to traditional material and brings new life to old songs.
“Alice Jones is a seriously impressive singer of traditional songs” fRoots (270)
If you’ve not seen him before this quote gives you a good summary of what to expect: –
“Pete has a compelling stage presence and approachable style that delivers a mix of Humanism, politics, love, social commentary and humour… all wrapping its way around the folk tradition.”