Monday 24 December 2012

Paul Vile in Twickfolk's stocking

'Twas the night before Christmas Eve, when all through the Inn,
Not a guitar was a stirring, not even a mandolin.
The chicken wings were placed by the side with care,
In hopes that Gerry and his ukelele would be there.......'

From Top left - Chris, Pete London, Paul Vile, Rowena Gee, Florianne, Mary,
Dave Mills, Gerry Evans, Bernadette, Bob, Ed, Glenn and Doug Brown.
It was with some sadness that I fought my way through the rainy night to be at Twickfolk's 2012 curtain call. I have to send my final choice of paintings to the printers this week in preparation for the exhibition. So this would be my last chance to feature some excellent musicians and hang out with a great bunch of people. I knew it would be hard work too because it was Singers Night. Everyone who attends get the opportunity to sing/play at least 2 songs.

There were several performers who stood out for their skill and panache, too many to name them all here.
I've tried to write as many down below. Special mention must go to Paul Vile, who I know as the unflappable sound technician at Twickfolk but displayed such tenderness in his singing and delicate touch on the mandolin. Dave Mills was irrepressable with his percussion led tunes.

I have been very lucky to have been welcomed into the heart of Twickfolk over this past 6 months and I'll miss them. Gerry's vision and hard work, Sue's musicality and charisma, Sara's quiet confidence and warmth, Paul V's wit and sound knowhow, Paul M's straight talking, design and bonhomie, Jutta's intelligent conversation and good company AND Robert's encouragement and publicity skills. Thank you.

Please come along to the exhibition on the 27th January 2013 at 6pm and help celebrate 30 years of this fantastic Folk club with me and Twickfolk!

Twickfolk Seasonal Singers Night menu -

Dave Mills - Daydream Believer & Singing the Blues (Melvin Endsley)
Bernadette - Down by the Salley Gardens
Gerry Evans - Christmas in Prison (John Prine) & White Christmas
Sue Graves - River (Joni Mitchell) & Last Night (Lynn Miles)
Rowena Gee - Sweet Bells (Kate Rusby) & Spencer the Rover
Chris - 'Red Nose'
Sue & Doug Brown - Lets fall in Love (Cole Porter)
Pete London - Merry Xmas Everybody
Bob and Margaret - Do they know its Christmas (Bob Geldof & Midge Ure)
Glenn - A 15 year old took my woman blues
Mary - Dear John (John Denver)
Paul Vile - Winter Song
Florianne - Les Champs Elysees
Dave - House Boat poem
Ed Fordyce -  The Pains of Love and You're No Good (by Clint Ballard Jr)

Have a Great Christmas and a brilliant 2013,

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Outbound to Wonderland, Ireland and Provence

'Impressive' - Garry Smith

 Last Sunday (16/12/2012) at Twickfolk wasn't a 'Runaway Train' of a night, more of a mystery tour that took us to places all over the Northern Hemisphere.
Our departure was courtesy of the ever impressive Garry Smith. As you know this is the 3rd time in 6 months that I've drawn Garry (left) and he still remains one of my favourites during the art residency. His tune 'Outbound to Wonderland' was named after a sign you'll see travelling through the Boston Metro. Wonderland was a Greyhound Track (1935-2010) and both Garry's song and performance capture the imagination (like the sign itself).
Next we had the spoken words of Racker Donnelly, who's Yuletide Suite animated both the audience and Racker himself to a near state of flight.
The main draw of the evening took a while to get up to full speed. Despite Duck Baker's tentative start I immediately warmed to him and hugely enjoyed his western swing tunes and especially 'The Blackbird'. We we're then joined by Helen Roche, who style doesn't immediately engender itself to the audience. Her thin delicate face and slight physique leans away from public as though she'd just got an umpleasant whiff of the Twickfolk crowd. This impression doesnt last long. As she sings she pulls you further in towards her. We started our journey in Scotland and Ireland, took various detours through Provence and end up at our final detination with Satan via Germany.

Next week is Twickfolk's Christmas celebrations with a seasonal singers night. Percussion aficionado Dave Mill's has promised me a cracker (of a song).


Duck Baker

Helen Roche


Racker Donnelly

Monday 10 December 2012

Twickfolk Quality Street - Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston

Apologies now for this sweet laden blog post, it must be the first wiff of Christmas that has addled my brain.

Twickfolk was awash with colour and flavour last night (9/12/2012) as an assortment of performers took to the stage. As you know I've found myself at Twickfolk via years sketching on the jazz circuit, so I felt very much at home upon seeing the double-bass propped up in the corner as I arrived, but before the main act of Miranda Sykes (left) and Rex Preston we we're treated to 3 floor spots.

Firstly Sue Graves was like an Orange Creme with her silky voice and sunny disposition. Second up was the Toffee Deluxe of Doug Brown who gave us plenty to chew on with his accordion playing and weighty lyrics. The third and final floor spot belonged to the red haired Daria Kulesh who like a Strawberry Delight presented us with a refreshing and vibrant explosion. Unfortunately we heard just one of her own tunes, 'I Want Attention!' and like most sweet things I was left wanting more!

Then we we're treated to the Quality (Street) of the evening. Miranda Sykes (Bass/Guitar) and Rex Preston (Madolin/Bouzouki) had such a varied repertoire I didn't know what to expect next. The songs were all well crafted and the skill and depth was appreciated by the packed house. Just like a Milk Chocolate Hazelnut, Miranda Sykes gave us a smooth flow with her bowing followed by chunky substance with pulse driven bass lines. Rex on the other hand was a Caramel Swirl of excitement playing with such speed and verve. The two tunes that made an impression upon me were 'Only One Way' and 'Turn to me'.

It was a great night.


Rex Preston (below), Daria Kulesh (right)

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Dick Gaughan in the Twickfolk spotlight

It was a big night at Twickfolk this weekend with both Dick Gaughan and Stuart Forester in the Twickfolk spotlight. With a big crowd, we found ourselves in the folk amphitheatre upstairs and under a fierce red spotlight it felt like we were in a boiling cauldron. The music lived up to it roasting atmosphere and it was a memorable night.
Stuart started off proceeding with excellent and unpretentious set of earthy narratives. Themes included piracy, hellraising and drinking, with 'The Star of the West' being my favourite. The room was packed out and as usual I perched on the stairs. I was soon accompanied by Twickfolk's Paul Micklethwaite who shot several mean Rotherham stares to those chatting on the back rows.
Once Dick commanded the stage, I was joined on my step by Stuart Forester himself. We we're both entranced by Dick and his eyes which we're the smallest smouldering coals held ours for the briefest second. Although he was up on the stage he was at one with us in the audience. His playing and delivery of narratives appeared ferocious but we never felt threatened because he made us kindred spirits to his cause. I was so taken by the red firey atmosphere I left early and opened up the studio doors so that night I could start getting my ideas down on paper straight away.
Dont forget to put the 27th January 2013 (6pm) in your diaries for the Private View of the 'Art Of Folk' exhibition with music from Alan Franks (7-7.30pm). FREE ENTRY.


Monday 19 November 2012

Fil Campbell, Rowena Gee & Sue Graves - Twickfolk Songbirds

As you know my path to Twickfolk has come through the wilds of jazz and I'm slowly learning my folk knowledge 'on the job'. None have taught me more than Twickfolk's headliner last night Fil Campbell who took me on a tour of Ireland's folk heritage.
Her husband Tom Mcfarland drove my drawings forward, giving them rythmn and exuberance through his percussion. He charmed us with Twickfolk favourite David Francey's "Come rain or come shine".
Fils own tune 'Dreaming' was a highlight for me. Sung with passion, encompassing complex imagery and an intoxicating swig of surrealism.
Delia Murphy, Margaret Barry, Mary O'Hara and Ruby Murray inspired many of last nights narratives. Fil Campbell included all these singers in her TV series 'Songbirds.

Two more songbirds got the the evening started for us. Sue Graves (left) once again put us under her spell and Rowena Gee (right) demonstrated her versatility with two songs "Show me the river" and "Sailor girl".

Thursday 8 November 2012

The Sun always shines of Twickfolk

Apologies for being off the blog for a few days. I've had a rush of work including an excellent CD launch at Pizza Express of Burton Bradstock's latest folk-jazz project. I was in the illuminating presence of Rich Rainlore and he'll be writing about the gig on Rainlore's World Of Music in the next few days.

During these damp autumn nights what we need are those bright moments and none could be more cheering than Suntrap. They we're great to draw with 4 distinct characters (the mesmeric Sara Byers unbelievably described herself as unphotogenic) and featuring my favourite instruments to draw, the fiddle, from John Sandall and Mary Wilson. Paul Hoad's dry humour and the modern themes wrapped in well crafted tunes made it a great night.

After several weekends filling walls and my time on various building projects I didnt last the course with the Twickfolk performers last Sunday. I was there long enough though to experience Jacquelyn Hynes' beautiful flute, entwined by J Eoin's narratives.

I'd like to note some of the floor spots or support musicians for these two gigs. Twickfolk favourites Sue Graves and Paul Micklethwaite. With a leftfield appearance from fiddler Matt Grabham who Gerry had discovered busking the previous day and invited along.

Thursday 25 October 2012

A tale of two halves - Luke Jackson & Josh Harty

It was a double header at Twickfolk this week with two very different personalities and performances taking to the stage.
First was Luke Jackson's fresh rapid fire approach. His powerful voice and energetic presence roused us all from our Sunday night ennui. His tune 'Big Hill' brought us all to the peak of alertness and his set was over way too soon.
Next we had a very different and understandably more mature voyage with Josh Harty. Like the Montana landscape he is inspired by, he left plenty of space for us to think and dream. There were long instrumental journeys and his lyrics were measured and poignant. I had to work harder to achieve my drawings and struggled to represent him singing. Like an Ansel Adam's photograph, I marvel at the starkness and steely beauty of Josh's work.