Over the course of her remarkable career, Maddy Prior has made it her mission to work with some of the most exceptional musicians in the world – both within Steeleye Span and beyond. To that noted list she has added accordion player, singer and clog dancer Hannah James and multi-instrumentalist Giles Lewin (Bellowhead / Carnival Band), forming a trio that explores the music of England, the British Isles and Eastern Europe. Debut album 3 For Joy took fourteenth century poems, tales of the industrial revolution from Ulster and music from the Southern Baptist Church tradition, while their latest Shortwinger is themed on the wild field, mainly concerned with birds, hares and their place in folk mythology. The trio will be performing songs from both albums as well as highlights from Maddy’s solo and band career – all presented in a daring acoustic style that enhances one of the finest voices this country has ever produced.
Ropery Hall welcomes Police Dog Hogan
If you read a couple of the broadsheets, or if you travel with Rough Guides ,or watch TV ads then you probably know several of this extraordinary band that make up Police Dog Hogan.
Tim Dowling on banjo writes a very popular, and totally hilarious, weekly column in the Guardian’s Saturday supplement while Tim Jepson on mandolin is a former DailyTelegraph travel columnist who has several Rough Guides to his credit and affable and entirely eccentric frontman James Studholme runs one of the country’s leading film production companies and produced that wonderful John Lewis Christmas ad.
“Aside from their success at their day jobs, for everybody else this is a band that provides great entertainment,” explained Mark Keable of mtm promotions who is bring the eight piece band to Barton upon Humber’s Ropery Hall on Friday, April 22.
Originally a trio, Police Dog Hogan were formed in 2009 and have since developed into a high-energy and eclectic eight-piece band.
Led by their main singer/songwriter James Studholme, they combine fiddle, banjo, mandolin, accordion, brass, drums and guitars with knockout four-part harmonies in an exuberant fusing of country, pop, folk, and rocking urban bluegrass.
“They are, in fact, as hard to categorise as they are so easy on the ear,” Mark went on. “Their literate and superbly crafted songs veer from the wistful and poetic to flat-out, foot-stomping tales of doomed barbecues, French mustard and falling in love on a Tennessee highway.”
James adds: “Our aim is always to have a great time playing and singing – and for our audience to enjoy each show as much as we do.”
“It’s a grown-up band and we clearly relish making the most of our increasing success in a world of much younger acts. The combined age of One Direction still isn’t as much as just our bass player and drummer,” he went on. “But we promise a belter of an evening just the same. There’s lots of life in us yet!”
The Sunday Times has described them as “wonderful”, the Daily Telegraph named them one of its ‘favourite new bands” and Radio 2 called them “a band to watch” while veteran DJ Johnnie Walker praises their gigs as “a really good, fun time”.
Together, this group of London media friends got together out of a joint love of American music.
“You could call it Americana, country-folk, folk-pop or even urban bluegrass, but it’s difficult to do justice to the sheer range of styles this band is willing to take on and, if necessary, transform,” Mark added.
Tickets to see Police Dog Hogan’s gig, that starts at 8pm, cost £15 or £17 on the door and can be bought online at www.roperyhall.co.uk, in person from the Craft Gallery or by calling 01652 660380.
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We are happy to welcome Blackbeard’s Tea Party back to Ropery Hall with their brand of gutsy folk rock. Traditional songs and folk tunes are given a heavy rock edge with playful arrangements and driving dance rhythms. This is all mixed up in an engaging, high-octane stage show that frequently leaves audiences cheering for more.”
Back in the austere 1950’s a schoolboy drank a bottle of ink and instantly became the centre of attention in the playground.
Now read on…..
Rock veteran John Otway dubbed himself “rock’n’roll’s greatest failure” after many unsuccessful attempts to produce a second hit single to follow his 1977 classic (Cor Baby, That’s) Really Free with Wild Willy Barrett.
However, a mere quarter century later, he was back on Top of The Pops with the wonderful disco pastiche, ‘Bunsen Burner’ and back in the charts as a birthday present from his adoring and patient fans.
And, more recently, his “Beware Of The Flowers Cause I’m Sure They’re Going To Get You Yeah” voted the seventh greatest lyric of all time in a BBC poll.
But that, of course, was not enough.
A couple of years ago John realised that live footage from the many concerts over the years, plus many TV appearances – and a failed world tour attempt – would make an entertaining documentary film. So he made one. Initially expecting a couple of humble screenings for fans, the film premiered at the Odeon, Leicester Square, was shown at Cannes – and at prestigious UK film festivals including Cambridge during it’s national tour.
2016 saw a remarkably successful Kickstarter appeal which raised over £40,000 for John Otway and the Big Band to record their first new album in many years on the island of Monserrat, whose famous studios hosted bands such as the Rolling Stones before being devastated by forces of nature, being a preferable option to Harlow.
The album ( strangely enough called ‘ Montserrat’ ) is available now on Red Bowler Records.
Expect madcap mayhem and some scintillating stunts from a man old enough to know better…..and also to be surprised at just what a showman and musician really lies underneath the tomfoolery.
‘He’s a cabaret act masquerading as a rock act. He is gleeful, anecdotal, funny and life-enhancing.’
Canterbury Fayre Review.
“Martin Simpson has transcended borders and oceans to quietly become a superb storyteller and musician of great depth and unquestionable taste.” Stephen Fearing
The remarkable intimate solo performances Martin gives go from strength to strength – every gig is a masterclass. He travels the length and breadth of the UK and beyond, giving rapt audiences passion, sorrow, love, beauty, tragedy and majesty through his playing.
“What’s it like being the best guitar player in the world…?” Martin’s modesty and grace prevented him from answering this BBC Radio 4 interviewer’s question recently, but the facts speak for themselves.
40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976, Martin is known as a guitarist of formidable talent. Equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.
He is listed in Gibson Guitars’ Top 30 Acoustic Guitarists of all time, and Acoustic Guitar readers voted him number 12 guitarist in the world in 2005.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, and a fine banjo-picker to boot, his solo shows bear witness to an artist at the very top of his game. Whether interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. His own songwriting produced the poignant ‘Never Any Good’, from Prodigal Son, 2007’s Folk Album of the Year.
Martin continues to collaborate with a dazzling array of people from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons are among the great musicians he has worked with.
In recent years, he has been a lynchpin in the award-winning Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and, in 2015, recorded Murmurs, an exciting new album with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr. Martin’s eagerly awaited new solo album entitled Trails and Tribulations will be released in September 2017 on Topic Records. Album guests include Andy Cutting, Kathryn Tickell, Nancy Kerr and John Smith.
He has had the most nominations of any performer in the 18 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an astonishing 31 times, 12 of those as Musician of the Year, winning that particular accolade twice.
A virtuoso player without question, but above all Martin Simpson conveys his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art.
Following another sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival the Mock The Week regular and host of BBC R4’s Newsjack Angela Barnes will be taking her ‘beautifully structured show’ (The Scotsman) Fortitude on the road.
On November 9th 2016, two momentous things happened to Angela, which have deeply affected her. Donald Trump won the US election and she turned 40.
Now, Angela is in no rush to join the ranks of middle aged, she’s only just getting started. She didn’t become a comedian until 33, only learnt to swim when she was 37, didn’t fall in love until 38 and passed her driving test at 39. Why the hurry? She is un-pensioned, un-married, un-mortgaged and a fully paid-up member of the Peter Pan generation. People have stopped asking Barnes what she’s going to be when she grows up, and instead want to know when she is going to settle down; she hasn’t been bothered by the ticking of the biological clock, thus far – maybe it’s missing batteries. But what happens when the choices you make aren’t your choice anymore? Does her body have different ideas about the future?
“She’s just a gloriously down-to-earth, straight talking and extremely funny comic” The Guardian
“Storming hour of stand-up” Fest – ★★★★
Before becoming a comedian, Angela worked in health and social care. In 2011, she won the BBC New Comedy Award and became a finalist at the 2011 Latitude Festival New Act of the Year competition. Since then Angela has become a regular on BBC’s The News Quiz, Newsjack and Mock The Week. She has also appeared on BBC Three’s Russell Howard’s Good News, Russell Kane’s Whistle Stop Tour (BBC Radio 2), and BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show.
“feels like a sure-fire bet the instant she utters her opening lines.” The Scotsman
After an eventful year off (got a new laptop, etc.), the boy’s back in town, with resolutions galore but less courage in his convictions than ever. How much has Ivo learnt? And what good has it done him? As seen on Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo, As Yet Untitled, Live From The BBC, Fighting Talk.
“Sharp punchlines, topper gags and the unmistakable sense of a young comic finding another gear” – Scotsman.
“Honed to within a whisker of perfection… a joyous show” – Evening Standard.
“Like Hugh Grant’s less well-adjusted younger brother” – Guardian