The Bishops Stortford Acoustic Club

at South Mill Arts Centre

1-3, South Road, Bishops Stortford, Herts. CM23 3JG

 

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21st December 2022

CHRISTMAS CONCERT

 Fund Raiser

 

For our last evening of 2022 we invited 3 acts to be part of our Christmas Concert and at the same time try to raise a few quid for Retune. The Concert was without doubt a success! All the acts were old friends who have played in the past and set the stage alight with their musical brilliance. And the fund raising bit for Retune was an outstanding success with an ever generous audience digging deep into their pockets so we were able to present Retune with Ł200 to help them carry out their innovative and exceptionally effective work with young people and aid them through difficult times. The difference that Retune has made to so many young people in the relatively short time it has been in existence is a testament to their hard work, unique approach and the desire to expand and help bring a level of order to young people’s lives and wellbeing. In our own small way, we have their backs because Retune has the backs of the many young people it meets and helps.

 

 

 

Bill Tarran

Opening the evening was Bill Tarran. Bill has been the Host and M/C for the Club for several years but it is not often he gets the opportunity to play an extended set. His speciality is playing the songs of that era of the 70’s and 80’s when the singer-songwriter so evident. He brings back songs that have been long forgotten by all but those who were there or those who inadvertently stumble into the genre. It was a time of peace, love and political awakening and those song writers all had a point. Sometimes those points have got mislaid, but the songs remain great.

 

 

 

Blues Inc

It was a great feeling to welcome back Blues Inc in a somewhat changed line up. Having lost bassist Graham Smith to holidays and they gained the wonderful guitarist Martin Hewitt. The established and expected performance of classic blues, as well as some modern(ish) stuff, was most welcome. The Band, in whatever configuration, exude energy and are still the bench mark by which others are compared to. It was so good to see and hear them again, especially Drew Bonnington who we are always delighted to welcome back as 20 years ago he and Keef Jackman started the club.

 

Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn

We then were treated to a stellar set from Pat and Greg. Pat was suffering from a bit of a frog in the throat that meant he had to work so hard to give us the distinctive voice that illuminates his songs. Suffice to say he did not disappoint! With Greg’s virtuosity in abundance, he completed the songs with fills and interludes with his very special talent on whistle. These fit together like a comfortable jumper and enhance the performance of the songs. We were treated to a glorious set, one to savour. Pat also brought along copies of his newly released solo album Amber and Gold. To find out more go to the Album reviews section.

 

 

Tom Ryder and Joe Hazell

As our closing act we had two players who started their musical journey at the Acoustic Club. Tom and Joe gave us a musical miscellany of their greatest hits. They have performed as the Kazans, solo and as members of various duos but it is a testament to their shared history that when they get together, they produce a magical sound. Individually they are terrific. Tom has a voice that is like no other and Joe has developed into a superb lead guitarist but make no mistake, they can swap roles in the blink of an eye and the output is the same. Once of the highlights was perhaps the most heart-felt version of Fairy Tale of New York you will hear. Completed by songs from almost 2 decades of playing together a fitting end to a terrific night.

 

 

 

7th December

6 Acts 4 Songs

 

Indie Herts

Tom Wackett is Indie Herts and Indie Herts is now a solo project that includes a second arm to the performance with respect to Tom’s skill with a looper. Sometimes looping can be sort of formulaic but in Tom’s hands, well his feet really, he brings a level of expertise that convinces you “He is not alone!!” Not your usual fare was delivered but that is a good thing. His choice of Brit Pop got the audience instantly involved because we all knew the songs! A really refreshing interlude in the evening and looking forward to the next development in the project.

Cider at Yours

If you get lucky enough, you will listen to Beckie and Richard and they will convince you Dolly Parton is a Goddess and hard-core Country and Western is the only music you want to hear. Sometimes they drift into one of Richards songs, which are distinctive and certainly not C&W! Whatever they deliver, it is performed in a wonderful manner. Richard writes some pretty hard-hitting songs with a twist that will not only left us smiling but thinking as well. Beckie authentic vocals provides a finishing effect on the songs. Together the merge to form an outstanding duo who produced a really great set.

Kimberley Stoker

It was a real treat to see Kimberley back exactly where she should be. She has been away for a while being a great Mum. When we spoke we worked out it was well over six years since she had been at the Club but the intervening years have left us bereft without her performances. She sat behind her keyboard, adjusted the mike and all was well in the world again. The performance was just STUNNING. Her voice remains unique. She has a range and depth that has improved and matured to the point where we were all begging for more. Rarely do we get such rapturous applause. That just about says everything we need to know. Many, many thanks and come back soon

 

 

The Big Buch Band

Following the withdrawal of Sheri Kershaw with an infection (Get well soon Sheri and hope to see you in the New Year) The Big Buch Band jumped so ably into the breach. They are a trio who specialise in Good Time Music and are readily available for any kind of occasion. On this occasion they increased their number by one adding Andy Church (vocalist and former cajonist with Blues Inc) on cajon and joined the rest of the band Chris Walls on vocals and guitar, lead guitarist Martin Hewitt and Chris Brimley on bass. The Big Buch Band closed the evening is their traditional way with songs we all knew and joined in with enthusiastically with the final number Country Roads getting huge audience participation.

 

Terry Hiscock

Terry Hiscock cemented his reputation with an outstanding set of songs that proved, if it needed reaffirming, that he remains a legend on stage. He writes songs that have real meaning and delivers them in a way that insists you listen. He slots classic songs from among others Spike Jones (She broke my heart in three places – without the pistol!) to his own repertoire and leaves you wanting more. Already looking forward to headline spot in the new year with Roger Pavitt.

Rhys Wilson

Rhys Wilson has a self-deprecating delivery that lulls you into a false sense of security that leaves you open to the brilliance of his performance. His background of being a life long Spurs fan means he has the personality that endears him to over half of North London and the surrounding environs, but his music always shines through. Polished, professional and engaging, his set was one that asks when is he back? Next year is the answer

 

 

30th November

Jim Watts

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

An extra special night ensued when we welcomed JIM WATTS to the Long Room last week. Jim is a fine example of the guitar playing singer, a sort of throw back to the golden days of the genre. He is primarily a blues performer but he does meander so delightfully into the world of Americana and soft country rock so effortlessly. A guitar picker of real style and talent he enthralled the large audience with a fine selection of all sorts of music.

 

Jim was supported by

Bill Tarran Host and M/C as well as sound man too!

Chris Rivett

Eleanor Hewins

Paul Bamlett

Ned Lister

Hanako Ward

It was so nice to hear two new players, Paul and Ned, as well as Hanako who gave us 3 tunes on her electric guitar, Eleanor three wonderful originals and the Grandaddy of them all Chris Rivvo who it is so nice to hear playing again after his recent upheavals. (Nothing dramatic – he has moved house)

 

Many thanks to all who attended and enjoyed a real diverse evening of Acoustic Music.

 

Also GET WELL SOON Tony! Our Soundman has been quite ill recently, but is well on the mend and looking forward to seeing him next week.

 

Bill

 

16th November

6 Acts x 4 Songs

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we welcomed 6 diverse acts and we were rewarded with a fantastic evening of mostly original songs and tunes. Every single act performed to the very top of their game (if only the England Team could perform like that, the World Cup would be a foregone conclusions - but I digress!).

 

Last week, we welcomed 6 Acts who are renown for entertaining and differing musical styles and genres.

 

Steve Hickey

Steve was new to the Acoustic Club but there were no worries as he is an experienced player, who not only writes his own songs but has a terrific presence when he takes to the stage. His songs seem to be almost utilitarian in that they are brilliantly expressed on an acoustic guitar but it takes little imagination to believe that they could easily morph into an electric setting. A first-time player, he was a fantastic opening act with both confidence and great songs

Andy Hunt

Andy is a much too infrequent visitor to the club but he brings a fusion of blues, soul and occasionally rock into his set. He is an engaging player and the audience was full involved in his set. He has an amazing repertoire and gave us a set that explored the various influences that makes Andy Hunt “Andy Hunt”.

Colin Frid with Greg Camburn.

Colin is a difficult artist to classify. He will give a soulful version of John Prine songs, then will beat your brains in with an Eric Clapton blues and then revert to a country song that you wish you could remember when you first heard it.

Colin has one of the most distinctive of voices and uses it to the maximum effect on every song he plays. In truth, if you feel he needs more vocal umphh then best book a choir. That is the only way you will get a fuller sound.

Just to prove his versatility he teamed up with Greg Camburn for a couple of songs, which were delightful. Two Masters at work for the price of One.

Paul Booth and Si

Paul Booth and Si have coalesced into an inventive and ultimately highly enjoyable duo. They reconstruct Paul’s songs and take them to a different level in that they excel at. A solo guitar and voice give one level of performance. If you add Si's bass playing, you fill the stage with sound that is fulfilling and intoxicating.

As ever they produced a wonderful sound and a terrific set.

Billianna, Joe Hazell and Graham Instrall,

Billianna is the force that drives this intriguing trio along. With her Dad, Graham, on cajon and complimented by Joe Hazel providing the melody guitar line, Billianna is the glue that not just brings the performance together but her voice puts a great big cherry on the icing of the metaphorical cake. She has a distinctive voice that carries her vocals into a place where she is most comfortable. Her original songs are developing into really top-class songs and between the three of them they deliver them in a unique manner - honest to the writer and a quality that is remarkable.

Martin Day and Jan Jackson with Graham Instrall

Martin Day has played at the club on previous occasions and he opened Bish Bash with ‘Bill The Bash’ on drums. He has now teamed up with Jan Jackson on bass and despite Bill not being about, he invited Graham Install to join him and Jan with his set. Graham was keen and the resulting 4 song set was terrific. Martin writes about his life and experience and his songs force your feet to tap. His sound hits you like a hammer and with Jan's driving bass and Graham doing a great job on cajon, the set was a rip-roaring success.

 

What a fantastic end to a fabulous evening of live music provided by committed, dedicated and exemplary musicians who prove live music is alive and in very good health.

 

Thanks, of course, to Tony for fantastic sound

 

Bill

3rd November

Joe Hazell and Abbie Middleton

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we had a real treat with some new players to the Club who brought a new perspective to the stage.

 

To start with Joe and Abbie, our headline Showcase, gave us a memorable performance. They are truly a fantastic duo who complement each other’s talent and ability. Their set just sped by in the twinkling of an eye and was a fitting end to a fantastic evening of live music.

 

For our support acts we were treated to 2 new players and coupled with well known support players as well.

 

We were delighted to welcome Trina Read who was going to perform so covers on guitar but as we had a keyboard available, curtesy of Ben Camburn, Trina gave us a couple of her own songs on piano, and what a delight they were!

 

Ben Camburn is the piano playing son of our favourite whistle playing legend Greg. He is classically trained with wonderful technique and gave us a mini recital of brilliance, playing piano pieces that were a joy for being as unexpected as well as show stopping (I am not sure Greg stopped grinning throughout the performance - with every reason!) Bens’s music is both entertaining and a real difference from the usual fare we offer.

 

We also had Jo Clack who writes songs that look at the world from a different view point, sometimes from the side and sometimes head on but always to the point.

 

To close the support session, it was great to see Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn back to their very best for an extended set.

 

To finish the evening we were treated to Joe and Abbie previewing many songs from their forthcoming album.

 

What a fantastic end to a fabulous evening of live music provided by committed, dedicated and exemplary musicians who prove live music is alive and in very good health.

 

Thanks, of course, to Tony for fantastic sound

 

Bill

26th October

Tom Ryder and the

Acoustic Club Young Players

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

As last week was Half Term Week we held one of our Young Players Nights where we featured the new, young players who are looking to perform, share their music and delight their friends and family. Every time we hold one of these special evenings we are delighted by the sheer enthusiasm and talent that abounds in our area. We are so grateful to all the Music Teachers who encourage their pupils to actually get on stage and perform and we are proud we are able to give the stage over to their young charges.

 

Coupled with that we like to arrange a Headline Showcase who the young players can relate to. Last time we were delighted to welcome Tom Ryder who fits the bills so very well.

 

Jack Carey is a guitarist from the Carpenter School of players and delighted us with two tunes. Making his debut at the club Jack proved he has been well schooled and taught to the highest standard. He was accompanied by Hanako Ward on electric guitar and yet again Jeff Carpenter developed a fine young player.

Danny McCarthy was accompanied by his dad John and, due to a recent infection, was unable to sing, so he left it to Dad, but what a bass player Danny is developing into!! They played almost traditional rock songs (if they have been around over 40 years then they are traditional!) and their performance improves all the time.

Alessandra Freeston. It was a fantastic treat to welcome back Alessandra back to the Club. She plays a traditional Japanese instrument called a Tsugaru Shamisen which originates from the Tusgaru Province in Northern Japan. Not only is the instrument used in traditional music but Alessandra’s teacher, Hibiki Ichikawa, is renowned for not only his performance of tradition music but also his modern compositions. Allesandra played two modern tunes one by Ichikawa and the second a self-composed tune Judith.

Anna Hughes is a young player who has sung at the club in the past, but this time was her debut as a solo performer. Understandably nervous before taking the stage, as soon as she was standing behind the microphone her nerves subsided and she performed two songs – a cover and a self penned song. What a triumph! A fantastic performance. Very certainly a young lady who will be steadily going places in the next few years.

Hanako Ward is almost a veteran of our Young Players evenings if that is not a contradiction in terms. From the very tiny young lady with a ukulele and backing from her teacher to an assured player with the confidence and ability to present songs that are not your usual fare in no time at all! She has now progressed to electric guitar and continues to astound and impress. She played support to Jack Carey and she is developing into a fine vocalist as well.

 

 

What a fantastic end to a fabulous evening of live music provided by committed, dedicated and exemplary musicians who prove live music is alive and in very good health.

 

Many thanks to all who played and supported the Club.

 

An especial thanks to Greg who ably stood in for Geoff on the door whilst Geoff was carousing celebrating his sons 40th Birthday.

 

Thanks, of course, to Tony for fantastic sound

 

 

19th October

6 Acts 4 Songs

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

When we started organising the 6 x 4 Nights, the objective was to give players a chance to develop a set, to try new material and expand the knowledge of the audience of their talent. Last week’s 6 x 4 night was just about the best example of not only why we did it with a couple of old favourites, a couple of players we do not hear often and some very new and developing players. In truth, the outcome was about as good as we could ever have hoped for. What a night!!

 

BILL TARRAN

It is not often that Bill gets the opportunity to play one of the 4 song nights as he is the Host and M/C of the Acoustic Club and tend to step back to encourage other players. However, when he gets the Stage, it has to be said he has a repertoire that started in the 1970’s and sort of encompasses the succeeding decades with varying degrees of enthusiasm! There are so many icons from the heyday of Acoustic Music when the singer songwriter was the pinnacle and the choice of songs went from Roy Harper via Elton John-Bernie Taupin and back to Ralph McTell.

COLIN FRID

Colin Frid is one of those players who has been around the music scene for quite a while! He has a range of songs, both original and versions of other peoples songs. Colin is a master at re-imagining of standards and classics. He stamps his authority on every song and he did it last time yet again. Colin is always a performer who can fill a room with his sound and as ever he filled his set with brilliant versions of 4 great songs

JIM WATTS

Jim was making a return visit to the Acoustic Club and demonstrated exactly why we love his individual style and welcomed him back so eagerly. He has a wonderfully mellow and laid-back approach that is pushed into the background as soon as he starts to play. His style is a brilliant claw hammer finger picking and his voice is a delight. He sings songs he likes, in his style and from the rounds of applause so did the audience. The blues classic Rainy Monday was given a complete new lease of life when the Watts Formula was applied.

CLARK and JOHNSON

Tony and Karen have been a fixture of the acoustic scene in the wider area for many years. Karens voice is distinctive and appealing and Tony is a master of the accompanying guitar as well as providing the perfect backing vocals. This time they paid tribute to Boo Hewerdine by selecting their four songs from one songwriter. Hewerdine is an award-winning writer and performer from Cambridge and the tribute they paid was immense. Their interpretations of the songs reinforces their position as just about one of the must see duos around.

TRANQUILITY BEACH

Molly and Ben are two local musicians who are beginning to make quite a stir in music circles. They are new, inventive, engaging and have the ability to hold and enthral an audience. They first played the Acoustic Club a year ago and in the intervening period they have been on the whirlwind of success. They have developed not only their song writing but performance by incredible leaps and bounds. They have released their first single and it was clear from their performance why they are in so much demand. Just a great set!!

ABBIE MIDDLETON and JOE HAZELL

After having witnessed Joe in many, many line ups over the years it comes as no surprise that Joe has teamed up with Abbie. The result should not have been a surprise considering the history but it was! Abbie has a clarity of voice that is rare, Joe has so much talent as a guitarist and song writer he is just exceptional. When you put the two together you get fireworks. They have played together for a while but their performance last week was electric and was a fitting end to a brilliant evening. I, for one, did not think that we would ever have a Kylie-Robbie duo played at the Acoustic Club, but every song, no matter what genre, can be performed better if the players are good enough and add something new to it. These two are going places and looking forward to the album with anticipation

 

Many thanks to Tony for the sound and all the enthusiastic audience for their involvement in the whole night.

 

 

5th October

Cut The Mustard

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we welcomed back to the incredible Cut The Mustard. Dave and Marin are highly experienced musicians who spend their time playing in multiple bands and even occasionally solo but their love of blues and ragtime brought them together as Cut The Mustard a few years ago to fill that void in their performance repertoire.

 

It is to their credit that they rarely cross over and rigidly pursue their choice of genres and are almost religious in their pursuit of blues, ragtime but essentially good time music that delights every crowd the perform to.

 

Due to some missing players Cut The Mustard played for over 45 minutes and never missed a beat. Always entertaining, some terrific harmonies, musical excellence and a set that raced by. Many thanks to Dave and Martin for a memorable headline showcase

 

We had a couple of last minute drop outs in the list of supporting players which gave us the opportunity of more songs from our players

We had only four support players but what a line up they were! We had Bill Tarran Host & MC, the astounding Archie Eastlake, the stunning Stephen Aravena, the always inventive Pete Croft and the evergreen blues legend Dan Starr. Every player rose to the occasion and did that little bit more so many thanks to you all. BUT one of the real highlights of my year was young Archie Eastlake. Archie is one of the young guitarists under the tutelage of Jeff Carpenter. Jeff has this view that players, how ever young, should perform. Archie arrived a couple of years ago and was the star of the young players at Bish Bash. He played the guitar solo from Hotel California and a Shadows number and I suggested to him we should play HC in its entirety sometime. On Thursday he asked me “If I was up for it?” Well, the rest is history. Playing in the original Bm (which is right and proper) Archie smashed it! What a player. Thanks Archie and a big shout out to Jeff Carpenter for his continual support to local music teaching players how to play.

 

Many thanks to Tony for the sound and all the enthusiastic audience for their involvement in the whole night.

 

21st September

6 Acts 4 Songs

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we welcomed back some new players as well as welcoming back some players who are very familiar to us

 

Vic Lennard

Vic Lennard is one of those musicians that seems to pop up all over the place. He proved again that he is Mr Versatile with his song writing being out of the top drawer. Vic gave us 4 great songs and proved again why he is always popular

 

Dan Thomas

First timer Dan Thomas (although he has appeared in Bands at the Horns at the Half Moon) lived up to his reputation as both a great song writer but also a pretty damn fine performer. His songs are a reflection of his life, loves and all things in between

 

John and Di Cullen

John and Di Cullen have been described as “an inspirational music partnership” performing traditional and contemporary material with harmony, humour, guitar and bowed psaltery (an instrument of the zither family so Google tells us!)

We do not get too many Folk Duo's these days, and that is a shame as we love versatility. John and Di are so experienced and just downright good at what they do it was a highly interesting, humorous, serious set. Thanks so much for some real roots music.

 

Mike Excell

Mike Excell is a local singer/songwriter and band leader!. Hi song writing seems to revolve around politics and cricket and if he can intertwine the two he is a very happy bunny. Mike sees things in life from a slightly different view that most others but he is acerbic, funny and poignant all in one. Another terrific set!

 

Linda Moylan and Ian Montague

Ian and Linda have been performing together for a while and it shows! Linda has the voice of an Angel at times and then she will slip quietly but most definitely into her roots from East London and Ireland. There song writing is a treat and their deliver equally special.

 

Andreas Jensen

Andreas is a man with a back catalogue that is somewhat impressive. His songs demand an audience and are always worth the trouble of listening to. His albums are personal and reflect his view. He closed the evening with a fine display of the song writing art expertly delivered.

As ever, thanks to Tony for the wizard the mixing desk

Bill

 

 

7th September

Elliot Porter

Welcoming Elliot Porter to the Acoustic Club is always a pleasure. Eli is an outstanding writer, player and all-around performer. He is at home either playing in a pop-up piano venue, a wedding or on a dedicated music stage.

We at the Acoustic Club fall into the last description – a label we are very happy with – and Eli just shines when an audience can hear every nuance and note..

Performing new and old songs with equal verve, he treated us to many new songs from his forthcoming (soon we hope) album as well as more than a few from his fantastic album “Lanes”. We were also so pleased that his outstandingly talented sister Chloe joined him on vocals for three songs at the end of his set. It is amazing that the addition of a voice that compliments Eli’s distinctive vocal performance brings a whole new depth to the songs.

 

Eli had spent most of lockdown engaging in various on line projects as well as completing a raft of new material and it is testament that two members of the audience arrived having booked him for their wedding. Quite by chance he played the “First Dance as a married couple” song which only reinforces how versatile he is.

 

Many thanks Eliott for a fantastic showcase. And here is to the next one!

 

Thanks must go to our support players as well. In no particular order they were Bill Tarran Host and M/C, Trina Read a fantastic young player making her debut at the Club, Jo Clack his usual self with witty and meaningful songs, Tom Ryder and Greg Camburn doing what they do best with the aid of Toms new guitar that complements his songs so well and Greg on what is insulting referred to as a penny whistle. Lauren Parker was as ever her usual brilliant self and our long-time friend and player Mike Johnson proving yet again that the golden age of Super Group songs are available and can be played on an acoustic guitar.

 

Thanks to Tony for his hard work on the desk.

 

 

17th August

Suzy Thomas

Last time we welcomed Susy Thomas to the Club for her first Headline Set. She had previously performed a four song set and it was obvious she was nailed on for a Headline Spot, So, job done all booked and we were delighted she (accompanied by a very loyal band of supporters) performed so beautifully.

 

Susy is a seasoned player with a terrific history of performing with some of the very best in the UK who took a few years off to raise her family. She has recently returned to live playing and we were so pleased she was able to play for us. Her original songs are just that - highly original with wonderful tunes sitting behind words that ranged across all themes and subjects, topics and ideas. She is in the process of completing her latest album and she treated us to an extended preview of the new material. The new album will be worth the wait and she promises that she will share the completed album with us as soon as it is released.

 

It would be fair to say that the packed long Room hung on every word and musical phrase. The set literally flew by in a blink of any eye. This is always a sign of a terrific performer at the top of her game. Many, many thanks and we are all looking forward to the next time.

 

Our list of support players was a fitting scene setter for Susy! With four new players, it can be a gamble but believe me it was not! Every support player rose to the  occasion and we were given a 90 minute session from such talented players that was second to none New players Ellie Brown and Owen Jones performed with style and Alessandra Freeston performed two traditional tunes on a very traditional Japanese 3 string instrument called a Shamisen.

 

Eleanor Hewins, Jay Williams and Daisy Wilcox, are graduates of our young players evenings and are stepping up to the mark by continuing to develop their individual style as well as their song writing ability. Their output is prodigious and awe-inspiring. Lauren Parker has been playing for many years as part of the local band the Mugabees but is now branching on here own as a solo performer. Again a strong songwriter but her voice is one of those marvels that is just a delight to listen to. At Bish Bash she had to compete with a frankly over loud grunge/garage band but her set (when it could be heard) was like last time - an absolute delight.

 

Many thanks to all our players, You set the bar so high and to close the evening with Susy made the end of the summer season a triumph for live music.

 

Many thanks to Tony for great sound - as usual

 

3rd August

6 Acts 4 Songs

 

Last time we had a wonderful selection of local and not so local players to delight you for our 6 Acts evening

 

Laura Dannan

Laura is a drummer who has learned to play guitar recently and has discovered a talent for song writing that is truly remarkable she plays songs that hit home and are so engaging. Laura did the business for us as ever.

 

Alice Walker

Alice is an original. She is a performer who engages in a disarming manner that convinces you that you are her bestie and she is singing just for you. Again and again Alice delivers for us at the Acoustic Club and this evening was no different. New songs, the same very high standard and the expected outcome. A fantastic set!

 

Greg Camburn Host and MC along with the other member of his dynamic duo Pat Crilly

With Tom Ryder being unable to make the evening, it fell to Greg Camburn to host and M/C the evening. Which he did with his usual brilliance. Added to that Pat Crilly joined him for a set from the brilliance that is Crilly and Camburn. As probably our most prolific headliners and support artists, they did what they do with apparent ease. They are just about as good as it gets.

 

Paul Booth & Si

Paul Booth on guitar and vocals coupled with SI on the bass adds a whole new element to his music. The combination of the bass and guitar, along with Pauls vocals add to the range and depth to the songs, whatever he is playing originals or covers

 

Indie Herts

Indie Herts are making their debut at the club and they an offshoot of various bands and musical associations. They gave us a more traditional type of music and were an instant hit.

 

Anna Wells

Anna is a multi talented band leader, solo player as well as a music teacher and writer. She gave a preview of her new material and proves that her first solo album Circles was no one hi wonder. This set proved we are waiting in anticipation for the new album due later in the year.

 

Many thanks to Tony for great sound - as usual

 

20th July 2022

SKY WEST

Last time we welcomed back to the Long Room the five strong Sky West.

 

A band from sort of the North Essex/Hertfordshire/Cambridge and surrounding areas and despite their varied past associations, or more likely because of them, they combined to bring an extended set of not only their music but other peoples as well. All members are very able writers but it is the performance of their music that sets them aside. into a unique and compelling musical experience.

 

Due to the dreaded COVID we were somewhat depleted in the support acts. But those who did not succumb to the modern day lurgie stepped up to the plate admirably. Our support players were Bill Tarran Host and MC, Nigel Yates, Jo Clack, Chris Rivett and Eleanor Hewins

 

Many thanks to all of them but most especially Rivvo, who we were so pleased to see and hear again and Eleanor who breaks new highs with her original songs. Both of them thrilled us with 4 songs, so an extra special thanks

 

Bill

 

 

6th July 2022

The Boxwood Chessmen

Last time the Boxwood Chessmen proved once again that they are an outstanding group of performers.

With a huge variety of instruments and the talent to get the very best from each one and an eclectic mixture of songs and tunes from the canon of "traditional music" their set was brilliant from the first to the last. Their vocals are superb and with a great stage presence that introduced their songs with an engaging manner and a commentary that was highly entertaining.

 

Many thanks to the Boxwood Chessmen for a fantastic evening and looking forward to the next time.

 

With a list of supporting players that was both varied and hugely original. Many thanks to Bill Tarran Host and MC, Xavier Leret, Pete Croft, Rafael Monteiro, Elliot Porter and Pat Crilly.

 

Many thanks to all our players and of course to Tony who has slotted in as the mixing desk maestro so well.

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

29th June 2022

6 Acts 4 Songs

Last week we were delighted to welcome 6 Acts performing an extended set each. These longer than usual sets give the Artists an opportunity to develop their set and introduce us to some more of their songs and tunes. I think I counted 18 original songs throughout the evening!!!

 

HANAKO WARD Hanko has been performing since she arrived via her music teacher Jeff Carpenter and is now completing her performance by adding vocals to her stunning playing of guitar and ukulele. Hanako gave us a reprise of some of the tunes she played ages ago on ukulele and has now moved to playing them on guitar. Her crisp and precise guitar playing is a delight and she is developing both a vocal style and ability to match.

 

LUKE JAMES WILLIAMS Luke has performed at the Acoustic Club many times in the past, as well as a knock out set at Bish Bash, brought songs from his upcoming album. Luke is without doubt a cracking song writer and has an ability to compose some interesting melodies to accompany the thoughtful words. His first full album is due for imminent release and is reviewed in the Album Section below and on the website

 

ANNA WELLS Anna needed very little introduction to the Long Room and after reminding her of her past playing Elvis covers she opened with the best version of "In The Ghetto" I have heard in many years. Anna is a proven songwriter and she performed some new songs, just for us!

 

THE SUGAR COATED SISTERS Chloe and Tabby are fast developing into a musical force having recently won the Newcomers Musical Comedy award. They have their own view of life, love, sisterhood and the World as it appears to them. They can be dark in their humour, hard hitting in their observations and vulnerable in their apparently wide-eyed innocence. Their delivery is just astounding. Because of the length of their songs, accompanied by guitar and double bass, they played 3 musical events which proved their pedigree. Good luck to you both in the Caves Venue at the Edinburgh Fringe later in the summer. We will all be rooting for you at awards time!

 

SEAN McKINNEY Sean is an experienced musician who engages with the audience in a style all of his own. He started playing music as a teenager growing up in Surrey; eagerly forming bands, playing and putting on gigs, and enjoying some local success and notoriety. Appearing as Morning Tourist, Sean has done his time on the music circuit and brings his experiences teaching and living abroad to his song writing. He gave us four songs that truly proved what a cracking performer he is. Negotiation are in place to bring him on a return with his band Morning Tourist. Looking forward to the experience.

 

TOM SLATTER Tom has a different view of song writing is to bring the skills of a latter-day Victorian street-theatre barker with a guitar promising tales of mystery, imagination, ‘orrible murders and bloody great waving tentacles’. His songs were inventive original and compelling and well worth a listen.

 

15th June 2022

Joe Chipperfield & Max Storey

 

Joe Chipperfield is one of the genuinely nice people. Coupled with that he is a brilliant guitarist and singer a completes the picture by being a consummate performer. His love is The Blues and there is a saying that what you enjoy, you will become good at it. Joe actually abuses the privilege on all counts. When you add the brilliance of Max Storey on mouth harp you have a Headline Act to dream about. Acoustic Blues has rarely been expressed so eloquently. Blues standard followed standard until the end of a fantastic set. Many thanks to Joe and Max

 

We had some pretty outstanding supporting players as well with a fine supporting cast of

Paul Booth

Colin Frid

Sue Clarke & Andy Howe

Robbie Burr

Jay Williams

Tom Ryder

Greg Camburn and Pat Crilly

 

Many thanks to all our players and of course to Tony who has slotted in as the mixing desk maestro so well.

 

Bill

1st June 2022

Joe Hazell

 

Joe Hazell. What more can you say? He is such a talent as a guitarist, pianist, song writer and performer and he proved this last time. Not only did he manage to support Billianna during the support slots but smashed the headline spot completely.


Joe proved his versatility by not only his mastery of his pedal board, but played some brilliant songs on the piano. His version of the Police's Everything she does is magic.


As a designated Young Players Night we welcomed Support was provided by:-

Hanako Ward, Emma Vince, Isabel Hinks, India Purton and Billianna supported by Graham Instrall & Joe Hazell.

 

Pat Crilly and Bill Tarran brought some gravitas and aged enthusiasm as we lost a couple of players due to illness and both of us were happy to join the young players

 

Many thanks to all our players and of course to Tony who has slotted in as the mixing desk maestro so well.

 

 

Bill

18th May 2022

6 X 4 Acts

AKOS has been missing for a while but it was a triumphant return bringing his fusion of Hungarian Folk Tunes as well as his own songs. He was accompanied so well by Matt Hodge on various bits of percussion. His fantastic guitar work blends so many styles within his music produced a set that was, as ever, a remarkable event.

A new venture from an old friend and one of the rocks of Royston Live Chris Walls brought his latest musical venture The Buch Band. Unfortunately, bassist Chris Brimley had got the infection and was at home isolating, but that did not diminish the incredible talents of Martyn Hewitt on guitar and played a highly individual Americana set which was immensely enjoyable

Paul Booth is always a welcome visitor to the club and this time he brought his bassist Si who always adds musical colour and a fullness to the sound and texture to Paul’s songs.

Literally they are transformed and he gave us a marvellous set bringing his own songs that are just pure Paul Booth,

 

Vic Lennard is man who has experienced quite a lot of life and made a welcome return to the club. A song writer of note, Vic proved his credentials as an archetypal singer songwriter with his own songs and brought his particular style and songs back to the Club

It is always good to welcome new players to the club and we were delighted to welcome Tu-Kay and Ryan to the Club for the first time. Tu-Kay and Ryan gave us a set of folk-americana-roots music who blend harmonies and intricate music into a musical experience that was a treat

Colin Frid is always a welcome visitor and his performance is always an experience. His "one of a kind voice" and choice of songs, either original or from other writers, always brings the best. Colin also brought his recently serviced D35 Martin which we have missed. It is frankly an essential part of his remarkable style and he gave us a super set.

4th May 2022

The TOM BRAGGINS TRIO

With the very first strike of the very first note, the past two years of being without live music from the Tom Braggins Trio were forgotten. As an exceptional trio they are so comfortable in their own music it is part of who they are and what they produce. As the driving force Tom has always been an innovator musically and despite the time away it was a treat to hear them as they should be heard.

 

The set was a triumph! and those who witnessed it were delighted.

 

The Trio is a masterful collaboration of Tom Braggins, (guitar & vocals), Chris Eldred (Keys) and Phil Haines (Drums) and we are all looking forward to the next time they grace the Stage at the Acoustic Club.

 

Many thanks to them and also our supporting artists who quite frankly knocked 'em bandy.

 

Many thanks are due to our host and M/C Mr Pat Crilly who was joined by the inimitable Mr Greg Camburn. It was great to welcome Jay Williams, Stephen Aravena, the Sugarcoated Sisters (Chloe & Tabby Tingey) Tony and Karen performing as Clark & Johnson and the evergreen "Jono-Solo" Mr Mike Johnson.

 

Bill

20th April 2022

Fly Yeti Fly

Last time I was away in Scotland and to say I am gutted that I missed the evening is an understatement! Our Headliners Fly Yeti Fly are a distinctive duo who bring their life into their music and are happy to share it with anyone who will listen.

 

Over the years we have been very fortunate to welcome Lorna and Darren back from the wilds of Wiltshire to the Long Room for their almost unmissable performance. This time was no different.

This duo mix their unbelievably magical music with the aid of guitar, mandolin and harmonica and complex, simple and haunting vocals and they now are one of the most original duos around. They stamped their pedigree once again, and demonstrated that they are up there in the category of the very best. They are an unexpected musical experience as they brought memories of the heyday of British Folk and then hit you right between the eyes with an up to date sound that makes them always worth the time to listen.

Their latest album "Make a Ring" was released in November 2021 and is a full album which is just about as good a folk/soft rock album I have heard for years. I hope they sold a lot of copies!!

Due to my absence, we arranged for the unique Mr Pat Crilly to carry out the Hosting duties with his usual style and panache.

Geoff tells me that the whole show was a very "Strong" evening and with some of our planned supporting players being struck with Omicron, we relied on a couple of regular players to complete the evening.

Support was provided by

Pat Crilly Guest Host and M/C aided and abetted by the irrepressible

Greg Camburn

Paul Booth

Ryan Thwaites

Jo Clack

Ben Kelly

Sam Tatchell

Tom Ryder

 

Many thanks to all our performers for their brilliance and their support. It is appreciated enormously

6th April 2022

6 Acts 4 songs

Last time we welcomed some new and some more familiar acts to the Long Room

 

Andy Hunt made a return to the Club, and a welcome one at that, with his own distinct brand of music.

 

Martin Day plays and sings like he should be back in the golden age of the acoustic scene. His whole sound approach was a great set for us.

 

Shorelines are a well known feature in the North of Essex/Cambridgeshire area. A five piece with a duo of singers whose voices compliment each other so well. A full and rounded back line lay the foundation for their unique music.

 

Susie Thomas. Susie came with a sterling reputation and a back catalogue to match and lived up to her promise. An excellent set of original songs that cross the boundary between Country and America beautifully.

 

Stephen Aravena Stephen brought his fine repertoire beautifully delivered. His songs are thought provoking and has a style all of his own.

 

Eleanor Hewins Eleanor has been appearing in the long room for many years and has opened the Band Stand stage at Bish Bash but last time was a great opportunity to listen to her highly original and perfectly delivered songs. A real original talent who we are so happy to see and listen to every time with last time being no exception.

 

Finally, thanks to Rob for his great work on the Sound Desk

 

 

30th March

The Maystones Acoustic Band

Last week we were delighted to welcome Zac from the Maystones Acoustic Band as our headline Showcase.

 

Zac is without doubt a terrific performer and is quickly becoming an exceptional songwriter. His guitar playing is sympathetic to his songs and it is easy to hear how easily the whole set can be easily transposed into heavy rock which are part and parcel of the fully committed Maystones Band.

 

Listening to his songs, Zac brings a maturity that is beyond his years as demonstrated so ably by his last song Ce la vie. Thanks so much to Zac for a great Showcase and also to John McCarthy who lent Zac his guitar when he suffered a classic guitar malfunction.

 

Due to Covid we lost 3 of our 8 acts planned so we asked them to do a bit more. With support was provided by

 

Bill Tarran Host and M/C

Pete Croft

John McCarthy

Xavier Leret

Dan Starr

 

Thanks to all players for rising to the occasion and giving us a great springboard for our Showcase and some great songs and performances too.

 

Finally, thanks to Rob for his great work on the Sound Desk

 

16th March

Elizabeth & Jameson

We were delighted to welcome an absolutely stellar evening completed by the incredible talents of Elizabeth & Jameson.

 

We can go through all the various different accomplishments about how they are an award-winning collaboration comprising two rising stars of the UK acoustic music scene. Hannah Elizabeth and Griff Jameson have combined to create an indie-folk sound which encompasses both their individual musical backgrounds. The absolute truth is that their performance is a joy. They have a delightful stage presence and the repertoire to match. Supported by the multi talented Gafyn Jameson on bass, keyboard and guitar, their sound filled the stage.

 

After a delay caused by Covid Interruptus they proved that they have not stood still. Their new material is a step much further whilst their influences are firmly planted in the traditional folk-roots and pop/rock genres. As a duo Elizabeth & Jameson arguably offer the meld of both backgrounds; this is simplistic, classic song writing at its best - a stripped back harmony-driven sound with acoustic guitar, violin and exquisite harmony vocals and blessed with one of the best bassists around.

 

Their debut studio album, Northern Shores & Stories was released in May 2020 and has been receiving deserved critical acclaim across the acoustic folk/roots community.

 

Support was provided by a very special group of players with Bill Tarran as Host and M/C. We were delighted to welcome several new players, some we see occasionally and some we have not seen for ages.

 

It was a pleasure to welcome Melanie Quinn, Matthew Haddon and Jim Watts to their first visit to the Acoustic Club, it was great to hear Richard Pink and Tom Ryder who we see more regularly but the silver lining in more ways than one was the opportunity to welcome back for the first time in many years The Sugarcoated Sisters - Tabby & Chloe Tingey - who delighted us with a snapshot preview in the form of a couple of songs from their forthcoming Edinburgh Festival set.

 

2nd March

6 Acts in 1 evening

 

Peter Crossley

Peter Crossley is just a natural performer; his songs reflect his life whilst still retaining his Yorkshire roots. Plain spoken, his songs are just a joy to listen. His album, Rags to Riches, encapsulates him so well and he treated us to songs from his past and also his present. He always brings something musically new to the stage as well. Just a fantastic set.

 

Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn

There are some musical people who need little introduction. Pat and Greg fall very firmly into that category. Pat is a meticulous performer, who not only plans his sets, but has a couple of spares ready to use depending on the audience. Greg can bring a fullness to any tune and instinctively knows what is required. It is so good to both see and hear him. He is without doubt getting back to his best after his health problems. Pats songs are the perfectly attuned to their combined talents! Long may they continue to support us so royally.

Laura Dannan

Laura Dannan is a drummer of no mean repute and who has expanded into singing and song writing accompanied by her guitar. During Lock down she has spent her time writing new material which was engaging in it heart-felt words. A tremendous personality that bubbles all over her performance

 

 

Rhys Wilson

Rhys Wilson opened for us and fairly rocked the stage with his relaxed style that made the packed audience not so much warm but boiled over almost immediately. Rhys makes friends with the audience, then engages immediately. His wry view of the world which is reflected in his unique song writing brought life to his performance.

Drew Jam

Drew Jam has been with us in the past and he was due to be with us on our first of the Covid cancelled evenings. We have waited long, but was well the wait. Drew is an accomplished songwriter and proved it in spades. A great set by any standard!

 

No photo description available.

Rafael Monteiro

Rafael Monteiro hales from Portugal via Baldock and brings a reputation of excellence with him. It was so good to welcome new players to the Long Room. Rafael gave us songs in his native Portuguese and really gave us a taste of the soul of the Southern Mediterranean.

 

 

16th February

Anna Wells

 

 

Anna Wells

It is always a matter of anticipation when we plan a Young Players Night, especially as we often fall foul of the conflict between Hertfordshire and Essex Half Terms. But no such problems this time, we just lost a few to skiing and half term holidays!!

 

Our Headline Showcase Anna Wells is a real inspiration to all the young players. She is in reality not that much older than most of them! However, since she moved from the designation of “Young Player” to “Damn fine solo artist” who can entertain, amuse, get people singing and clapping along to not only her own finely crafted songs all the way to her legendary musical miscellany medleys. She has continued along the path of becoming outstandingly successful.

 

Anna’s voice remains a real highlight – clear and, when she moves up in the higher registers without losing the tone, a real joy. Couple that with a terrific ability as a pianist, you have a star in waiting.

 

Many thanks Anna for such a fantastic Headline Showcase that served to prove what a Showcase should be!

 

We also had a plethora of young talent that graced the stage and proved three things.

 

First, we have some cracking young players in our contact book, secondly many of them are much more than fledgling songwriters and they are producing songs of real quality and finally what a cracking group of fans and music teachers we have to support them – Geoff Carpenter, Charlie Turner and Gary Spencer to name just three teachers – and of course their greatest and most loyal fans, their families.

 

Thanks to all who came along and supported an eclectic and varied night of live music, that for the first time our audience extended into the Snug Annex just outside the main door. A fantastic turnout from music fans who supported the players so admirably.

 

Finally, grateful thanks to Tony for his work on the mixing desk.

 

 

 

Young Players February 2022

Clockwise from top left

Hanako Ward with Geoff Carpenter, Danny McCarthy and his Dad, Archie Eastlake with Geoff Carpenter, Freya Sweeney, Sofia Gatland accompanied by Hanako Ward, Eleanor Hewins and David Kanabahita.

 

 

2nd February

MG Boulter

 

 

MG Boulter

It is always a delight to welcome MG Boulter to any stage, but especially so when he features his latest recording as the centre of his set.

 

Accompanied by Paul Ambrose on double bass, MG’s songs tend to fill the stage with his view of music and his perceptive writings. In this instance his talents are utilised in a reflection of an unnamed seaside town with more than a few links to his home town of Southend on Sea.

 

Over the years MG has produced some fantastic musical offerings and just great albums, but Clifftown is a real step forward. Great songs and perceptive writing that whisked you into the highways and byways of a seaside town and the people who live and work there.

 

The support acts were in the very top draw as well as we were delighted to offer stage space to Terry Hiscock who enchanted us with 4 songs from his tieless repertoire and Mike Happenin’ Boy and Grant Howard providing us with 20 minutes of foot stamping blues/rock/boogie.

 

We were delighted to welcome new player Stephen Aravena, the unique Xavier Leret and playing solo Richard Pink (rather than as part of the excellent Cider at Yours). With Bill Tarran as the Host and M/C a cracking line up setting the stage for MG Boulter.

 

Thanks to all who came along and supported an eclectic and varied night of live music

 

It was good to see Rob Daniels back on the desk.

19th January

6 Acts – 4 Songs

 

 

ANNA WELLS

It is always a delight to welcome Anna back to the Acoustic Club. She is developing into such a strong all-around performer, not only on her own, but in her terrific band. Treating us to a great set finishing with a medley of such great songs

 

VIC LENNARD

Vic is a player with vast experience and a repertoire to match. Who knew he could do such a great job on covers with a difference

 

TROI

A visitor from the far West (of Hertfordshire), Troi is going places. Her songs are original and she has such a compelling voice and vocal delivery

 

MARCUS LAMPRELL

As usual with Marcus we had a great set, original songs with a couple of interpretations of other writers music

 

BILL JOHNSON

Another exile for the West, Bill gave a us a set that reflects his roots and came in with an unusual choice of covers.

 

ANDY HUNT

Andy plays a mean guitar and sings great songs too. What more can anyone want? Andy delivered exactly what he promised, a great set.

 

Thanks to all who came along and supported an eclectic and varied night of live music

 

It was good to see Rob Daniels back on the desk.

 

5th January

Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn

 

 

Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn What can you say about them that has not been said before? No one can doubt just how talented as a duo they are with Pat being a prolific songwriter and singer and Gerg always having the perfect accompaniment means we are always assured a spectacular evening. Having an extensive repertoire that ranges across so many genres means they always give a performance that lives long in the memory. Last week was no difference with them leaving the surprising good audience helping out on the chorus when required.

 

Greg is still in recovery from his recent health problems, but it is so refreshing to see and hear him on the saxophone blasting out tunes again. Pat always finds the right tune that compliments his writing and with such a wealth of life experience to choose from his songs reflect his travels around the world as well as the solid base of his Irish/Scottish heritage.

 

With a great support line up of

Bill Tarran M/C and Host

Paul Booth

Xavier Leret

Jo Clack

Tom Rider

Sue Clarke (who gave us two unaccompanied songs with no amplification to boot)

 

Thanks to all who came along and supported an eclectic and varied night of live music

 

It was good to see Rob Daniels back on the desk after being unwell in the last couple of weeks in December