Skerryvore – November 2015

Experience: 9/10

Venue: Ropetackle Centre, Shoreham

Date: Thursday 19th November 2015

We’d wanted to see this band for a while, and this concert, their furthest south in the British Isles, was an excellent opportunity. I got their first album last Christmas, and while their sound has matured – they’ve been together for ten years now – it was still good, raucous entertainment for a couple of hours.

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St Agnes Fountain – December 2014

Experience: 9/10

Venue: Hailsham Pavilion

Date: 11th December 2014

Back again at Hailsham for a pre-Christmas treat – the Aggies were back in town! Another mix of old favourites, new songs, spoken pieces and lots of warmth, humour and charitable activities. The stage was dressed as before – I took some pictures this time – and a table at the front held the prizes for the raffle, which included items made by the people helped by this year’s charity. (I fancied the elephant, but no luck this year in the draw.)

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Sam Carter Trio – March 2014

Experience: 7/10

Venue: Ritz Theatre, Worthing

Date: Wednesday 19th March 2014

I wasn’t taken with the first half of this concert – listening to singer/songwriters droning on about life’s misery begins to pall after one reaches forty (or even earlier) – but the second half was much livelier and used more traditional material, so overall the evening was pretty enjoyable.

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St Agnes Fountain – December 2013

Experience: 10/10

Venue: Hailsham Pavilion

Date: Saturday 14th December 2013

This was a fantastic introduction to both St Agnes Fountain and the Hailsham Pavilion, which is a delightful small theatre space with a good atmosphere and strong audience support. We have added it to our ‘check regularly’ list. The little stage was rather crowded, with Julie Matthews on keyboard (and occasional guitar) on the left, Chris While beside her on guitar and percussion, David Hughes next on guitar and Chris Leslie on the right with an assortment of instruments around him. Behind them were three banners each showing a ship, in the style of a stained glass window, and there was an abundance of tinsel everywhere that tinsel could safely be put as well as a string of ever-changing lights draped along the row of microphones. It would be hard to miss that this was a Christmas show.

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Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham – April 2013

Experience: 9/10

Venue: Hawth Studio

Date: Monday 8th April 2013

This was another great concert in the Hawth’s studio, fast becoming a favourite venue. We hadn’t seen this duo live before – I saw Silly Wizard many years ago at the Edinburgh Folk Festival – but the Transatlantic Sessions on the Beeb certainly whetted our appetite, as well as introducing us to a much wider range of folk musicians. The evening went well beyond any expectations; despite the apparently limited range of instruments – Aly used two different fiddles, to accommodate different tuning – the music was very enjoyable, with the fiddle and accordion blending beautifully as well as working well on their own at times. What really made the concert a superb experience was the chat and stories from the two men. We laughed as much as we applauded, and we did plenty of both. And I don’t just mean me and Steve – the whole audience was involved and very appreciative of these two talented and experienced musicians.

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Feast Of Fiddles – April 2013

Experience: 10/10

Venue: Clair Hall, Haywards Heath

Date: Thursday 4th April 2013

This was fantastic! The fiddle line-up consisted of Peter Knight, Garry Blakely, Ian Cutler, Brian McNeill, Phil Beer, Tom Leary and Chris Leslie. The rest of the band were the usual suspects – a great combo.

They started off with some tunes, then more tunes – sorry, they didn’t give us the names and I’m not that familiar with their repertoire – and then Hugh actually said hello to us. He mentioned the new CD Rise Above It (we’d already spotted it, and bought our copy) and after Lochanside to Maribor*, Garry did his solo spot: Sons Of The Soil*, with Peter, High and Brian doing the backing vocals. Garry then introduced Tom Leary, who arrived with Chris Leslie, and the trio then did three tunes, with Chris playing a woodwind instrument which had a lovely haunting sound. There was a minor problem with feedback, soon sorted, and they began again. One of the tunes was called Tartan Slippers.

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Steeleye Span – March 2013

Experience: 8/10

Venue: Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells

Date: Sunday 31st March 2013

This was the last concert in the tour, and while we enjoyed getting our regular Steeleye fix, I have to admit that the effects of the tour were showing tonight. Maddy’s voice was definitely husky, and there were some wobbles during the songs. Even so she produced some lovely stuff during Betsy Bell and Mary Grey, and the final part of Tam Lin was pretty good too. Julian was more involved this time round, and there was a treat at the end of the first half; they’re working on a new project based on the Wintersmith novels of Terry Pratchett, and they played four of the songs that will be released on the new CD later this year (November time).

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The Tannahill Weavers – February 2013

Experience: 8/10

Venue: Hawth Studio, Crawley

Date: Wednesday 20th February 2013

This was our first time hearing the Tannahill Weavers in concert, and our first time in the Hawth Studio as well; both were very enjoyable. The sound balance wasn’t the best, but the overall effect was fine, and it was good to hear some new material (new to us) as well as some different takes on old favourites. The chat between the songs was good fun too; I especially liked the helpful hints on ways to cure seasickness.

During the introduction to one song – Are You Sleeping Maggie? – we learned that the band were named after Robert Tannahill, a poet and a weaver, who wrote many songs, some of which are in the band’s repertoire. I didn’t catch all the names of the tunes, but the first half went something like: tunes, song, song with audience participation, tunes, Are You Sleeping Maggie?, Jamie Raeburn’s Farewell, tunes – The Geese In The Bog and The Jig Of Slurs, another audience participation number, tunes, interval. Purchase of T-shirt and several CDs.

Second half: tunes, Welcome Royal Charlie, Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa’ (another Robert Tannahill song), tunes, When The Kye Come Hame (with audience), Come Ye By Atholl, tunes, Highland Laddie and tunes. The encore songs were Johnnie Cope, wrapped in some extra tunes, and Auld Lang Syne, the less well known version. We sang along as best we could, and a good time was had by all.

© 2013 Sheila Evans at

Fairport Convention – February 2013

Experience: 9/10

Venue: The Maltings, Farnham

Date: Friday 15th February 2013

Another good start to the year, concert-wise. It was also our first trip to the Maltings, a lovely venue. The seats weren’t the most comfortable, but the performance was great and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The support act for this tour was Fake Thackray, aka John Watterson, who performs Jake’s songs in Jake’s own style while adding touches of his own. The songs were: Bantam Cock, The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle, Dog, The Lodger and one about women talking too much. The Led Zeppelin homage blended almost seamlessly into one of the songs, and we were well warmed up by the time Fairport joined him for Sister Josephine. (He told us that the dog song hadn’t been recorded by Jake, but there’s a song called Dog available as a download; I presume it’s the same one.)

Fairport were in fine fettle tonight, and the introductions to the songs took even longer than usual. Simon and Chris sang really well, and Simon had some trouble with tuning his instruments, causing Danny Jack’s Reward to be restarted, twice, amid much laughter. The first half set was: John Gaudie, Honour and Praise, Albert & Ted, Fotheringay, Ancient Poacher, Rosie, Hexhamshire Lass and Walk Awhile, after which they took the interval. In the second half there was a strong nautical theme at the start, with Sir Patrick Spens being followed by Mercy Bay and The Wild Cape Horn. They didn’t mention the title of the next song – it was a traditional one from the album Angel Delight and was basically Peggy Gordon in a different dress – and that was followed by Festival Bell, Farewell Farewell, The Wood And The Wire, Doctor Of Physick, Who Knows Where The Time Goes?, Danny Jack’s Reward and Matty Groves. John Watterson joined them for the usual encore of Meet On The Ledge, and that was it (till the next time).

© 2013 Sheila Evans at

The Albion Band – March 2012


Worthing Assembly Hall

Friday 9th March 2012

This was an excellent set from a completely new incarnation of this folk band. Quite a lot of Worthing people seemed to think they had something better to do this Friday evening – their loss. The lineup boasted an impressive array of talent, including Blair Dunlop, son of the original founder Ashley Hutchings, Katriona Gilmore, Gavin Davenport, Tim Yates, Benjamin Trott and Tom Wright. They filled the hall with a great sound – there were the usual balance problems with the first couple of numbers, but by the third they were well into their stride and created a great atmosphere despite the small audience. Their humour shone through in the introductions, which were shared among the band, and even in the rock musician poses they struck occasionally.

Tom, the drummer, was also the band historian, telling us about the songs from their back catalogue, most of which the band had never sung before, and some of those on stage hadn’t even been born when the band recorded them – bit like watching an episode of Doctor Who at times! But it did give them a wide repertoire to choose from, and tonight’s set included all the tracks on the new album, The Vice Of The People, beginning with Roll Over Vaughan Williams, a Richard Thompson song There was lots of heavy guitar, so I couldn’t hear the words very well. The second number was Coalville by Katriona Gilmore, a lovely song about young people leaving the old industrial places.

This was a good start, and the rest of the album followed pretty much in order, with some additional numbers from earlier incarnations. They included Faces on the album, a Nik Kershaw number, and I wondered if this was a new trend? June Tabor and the Oysterband also included a Nik Kershaw number in their recent set at Chichester; they’re great songs, though both Steve and I reckon the folk versions are much better than the originals. There were a couple of songs based on nursery rhymes, written by Gavin Davenport – Thieves Song and How Many Miles To Babylon? – and with the other original numbers this band looks like it can make a major contribution to folk music for many years to come.

Thankfully there were no injuries after their daredevil leaps from the stage at the end of the first half, so we were treated to an excellent second half, finishing off the album with a few extra songs as well. I liked them all, and my subconscious especially liked Adieu To Old England, which I can’t stop humming! One More Day was easy to sing along to, which is probably why they chose it as the audience participation number, and I think Wake a Little Wiser was the encore.

It was a great show, and we’ll look out for this band again. (And those of us at the gig were able to buy the album pre-release – yay!)

Check out the website:

© 2012 Sheila Evans at