Folking.com Soloist of the Year 2019, Reg Meuross is a true troubadour. The breadth and depth of his material is unparalleled in contemporary folk: songs about forgotten heroes, famous names, folk legends, the climate emergency, tales from the kitchen sink and news from the world stage; if something needs to be sung about then Reg Meuross has a song for it. Mark Radcliffe introduced Reg Meuross onto the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show as a “brilliant singer-songwriter and true troubadour with a social conscience”. And it’s not all protest, as well as story songs which bring characters from history to life and comment on life around him Reg also writes and sings some of the most heart-aching love songs ever written, performed with depth and spellbinding delivery. Reg has that rare gift of being able to touch people through his songs and performance, on a really human level, his words and music painting pictures that remain with the listener long after the song has been sung, accompanying himself masterfully on guitar and captivating audiences with his beautiful tenor voice.
BELLA GAFFNEY & POLLY BOLTON Bella is no stranger to the club having started her acoustic career several years ago at Bradford’s Topic Folk Club. She then came to Nottingham University for her degree where she formed her backing trio, Bric-a-Brac, two of whom Chris and Caitlin were recent guests in May. She writes folk inspired songs which she performs with her own arrangements of traditional pieces and won the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections last year. She moved to York after jamming with the accomplished mandolin player, Polly Bolton in autumn 2017 and a great musical collaboration began leading to festival bookings both as a duo and a group called Bella, Polly and the Magpies. The organiser at Cambridge Folk Festival said they were “well- liked by the punters, a proper hit” which we can endorse from their performance last month in the main marquee at Warwick Folk Festival. Admission is only £4 for members and £6 for non members
Marc shared a guest spot at our club in January 2017 with Tina Taylor. At that time he was making regular solo appearances on the Nottingham folk and roots scene and also fronting a Trio called ‘The Breezes’. He has recently described himself as a “rootsy Radical Faerie singer of original and traditional songs in the folk idiom”. For about 5 years Marc was regular driver and accompanist to Roy Bailey up to Roy’s death last November, but since then has a new collaboration with a “wizard accordionist” called Simon Dumpleton from South Yorkshire. Marc has a lot of new material to perform, since he is close to completing a crowd-funder for his third album, following ‘Brisk & Breezy’ in 2016 and ‘The Hawthorn Spring’ in 2013. Wednesday 17 July should be a brilliant night!
The Shackleton Trio will be our next guests appearing on Wednesday 19 June. They play an exciting blend of folk, Americana and self-penned material. Georgia Shackleton writes and performs “wordy songs about other people”, accompanying herself on the fiddle, influenced by her strong roots on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk. The other members of the trio are Aaren Bennett, a powerful guitar player and mandolin ace and Nic Zuppardi, who brings influences from American and Scandinavian folk traditions. They have toured Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the UK and have appeared at Cambridge Folk Festival main stage, Folk East and Towersey Folk Festival. Their latest trio CD called “Fen, Farm and Deadly Water” has won a lot of bookings in the last year. Come and see this trio on Wednesday 19 June from 8.30 pm.
Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones are additional guests appearing on Wednesday 29 May. We have had them before as half of Bric-a Brac and as a duo they perform a good mix of traditional and original songs and tunes. Chris plays guitar, bouzuki and fiddle whilst Caitlin plays whistle or flute and sings. They both have day jobs as teachers but have found time to produce their first duo CD called “Carry Me Home” which has helped them to a main stage slot at Shrewsbury Folk Festival at the end of August. Come and see this young duo on Wednesday 29 May from 8.30 pm.
Quiet Loner, known to the authorities as Matt Hill, is a songwriter, singer, and guitarist originally from Eastwood, now living in the Dark Peak. His most recent album, “The Battle for the Ballot: songs and stories from the fight for the right to vote”, is the result of a year spent as songwriter-in-residence at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. His previous three albums weave deftly between English folk and Americana, and between the political and the personal. He was one of the five founders of We Shall Overcome in 2015 and was so popular when he played at our charity event last October, with songs he’d written about local characters and places that we asked him back. More on http://www.quietloner.com/about/
Bryony Griffith is a fiddle player and singer from Yorkshire with a rich repertoire of English dance tunes and songs. She sang in ‘The Witches of Elswick’ but is best known for her role in the BBC Folk Award winning Demon Barber shows. She has recently been appointed as a senior lecturer on the new Folk Music degree at Leeds College of Music and has also released ‘Hover’ a well-reviewed solo album of traditional fiddle tunes. Mike Harding wrote “She sings beautifully, knows how to kick out a song and does it brilliantly”.
Our next guest is RICHARD GRAINGER on Wednesday 18 March
Richard began by being invited to join Teeside Fettlers 36 years ago, but made his first CD 3 years later and has about fifteen to his name. He has been the Artistic Director for Folk on the Moor and other Festivals in Yorkshire over the last 20 years. From his previous guest nights with us in 2009 and 2014 we know him as a fine songwriter who is “keeping the tradition vibrant and alive”, and a guitarist who “has a captivating vocal style.” He has recently toured both Italy and last September in New Zealand to emphasise the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery in HMS Endeavour, built in Whitby.
The 4 original members of Higgs Bo’sun were the musical core of Trent Navigation Company Shanty Crew and so met separately to rehearse the music for TNC performances. They decided to form an entity to sing and play the folk music of Britain and America, as most had performed over many years in groups such as Trenchard’s Folly, Bedlam and Earthreel. They are Will Walker (fiddle), Les Wilkinson (melodeon, guitar, tenor banjo, whistles, mandolin), Norman Randall (guitars, mandolin, bouzouki, harmonica) , John Thorne (concertina, melodeon, harmonica) and newest member David Martin (fiddle, bass guitar, mandola and mandolin). These ‘particles’ performed in 2018 at Nottingham Playhouse, City Arts Hockley and the Embankment Pub and look forward to playing for you at the Gladstone.
Our next guest on Wednesday 16 January 2019 is STEVE TILSTON.
Steve is one of our most celebrated songsmiths widely recognised in folk and contemporary music. His words, arrangements and subtle quite superb guitar playing could be no one else. It’s now 7 years since we last booked him at the club. We are pleased he’s agreed to come back because it is in the intimate setting that (as Robin Williamson wrote) he is appreciated as “One of the select band of songwriters with the vision to write great songs rooted in the tradition”.
The best examples are ‘Slip Jigs and Reels’, ‘The Naked Highwayman’ and his prophetic song of the financial crash in 2009 called ‘Pretty Penny’. These are included on ‘Distant Days’ his retrospective CD released in July. As Folk Roots reviewer put it, “Steve Tilston is that very rare combination of singer, songwriter and guitarist who actually excels in all departments”.