The Bishops Stortford Acoustic Club

at South Mill Arts Centre

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

 

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LAST TIME AT THE ACOUSTIC CLUB

21st December 2023

Christmas Concert

RETUNE FUNDRAISER

 

Last time at the Acoustic Club we were delighted to host our Annual Retune Fund Raiser with a double Headline Showcase from Jono and The Kazans featuring Greg Camburn.

The plan was slightly different but due to Tom Ryder’s recent health issues we were delighted that his friends joined us to give weight to our Retune Fundraiser and to show a great deal of support and love to Tom and his brilliant Retune Charity.

 

Our Christmas Concerts are always a fitting end to the year and this year was no different. We had three support players Bill Tarran Host and M/C, dedicated West Ham fan and the man with one of the most authenticate voices Chris Rivett and songwriting phenomenon that is Trina Reade.

 

JONO

It was a delight to welcome Jono back to the Long Room. Over the years Mike and the Band have been loyal supporters as well as the masters of acoustic rock and they always deliver a set of absolute class. A small change to the line up due to Cormac being away on family business, they seamlessly integrated Graeme Smith on the bass, but Ed Johnson on cajon and the incredible Kris Ambrose on lead guitar and backing vocals offering brilliant support to Mike Johnson on vocals and rhythm guitar.

Jono are just about as good as any band around at delivering acoustic rock and as ever, they delivered. Delightfully they were joined by Greg Camburn on saxophone to close the set.

 

The Kazans featuring Greg Camburn

The Kazans are a band who have consistently played in one form or another since the Club was founded 21 years ago. They still look youthful mainly because they started so young – at about 13 or 14 years old!- but their enthusiasm and talent is as long lasting as it is profound. Tom Ryder is much missed as the principle vocalist and it is a measure of the men, as well as their lifelong friendship that The Kazans remain a treat for the ears. Accompanying them was Greg Camburn, who is the master of the saxophone, but also the CEO of Retune. Greg gave us a heartfelt update on what Retune has done recently but more importantly what they plan to do and the donations made would really help.

 

Once the money was added up and incredible £250 was presented to Greg with love from the Acoustic Club and Greg stated he was sure that this would cheer Tom Ryder up immensely.

 

Many thanks to everyone who attended and donated so generously. We cannot help Retune without your help and we know it is appreciated.

 

Many thanks are due to Tony for his great work on the mixing desk ensuring all players had the very best of sound as well as the staff of the Half Moon who have striven so well against the odds at times. We wish them well for the future.

 

7th December 2023

Last time at the Acoustic Club we had an evening that musically was just a brilliant evening, with the Exile Club performing two sets of not only brilliant interpreted covers but some incredible original songs. The evening started with a disappointment in that Roxy Searle, due to make her debut at the Club, was unable to be able to join as having been struck down with bronchitis and unable to speak let alone sing. What a real shame and we all send Roxy best wishes and get well soon.

 

Over the years we have had the pleasure of seeing Joe Hazel in many guises – as a solo performer, as a member of The Kazans, duetting with Tom Ryder and jamming along with Drew Bonnington to name but a few – but this latest musical project is quite frankly his best to date. The history and evolution of The Exile Club is remarkable! Their foundation was in 2021 when Joe joined with Abby Middleton to form a duo with a unique new sound. The natural expansion to a full scale 5 Piece band was almost inevitable. The addition of Daisy Pepper on bass, Callum Drinkwater on keys and the incredible Neil Findlay on drums completed the Band and the sound scape they were collectively seeking.

 

Last time at the Acoustic Club we saw and heard what we all expected. A fully formed, yet rapidly developing new sound and presence. They gave us two full sets of brilliantly interpreted covers that had “The Exile Club” stamped the whole way through along with some fantastic originals that showcases the full range of the individually musicality of all five members to their fullest extent.

 

Such a brilliant evening of such great music, this Band is GOING PLACES. They have a joy of playing that is infectious, their originals are compelling and their covers are highly individual. The real recipe of success is the enthusiasm the audience generates, at this rate they will be headlining Stadium Tours in the foreseeable future. At the Acoustic Club and our audience, we are delighted that they have been a significant part of our history.

 

For our support, regular host and M/C Bill Tarran stepped in at very short notice to warm the audience up with an eclectic mixture of songs old and more recent.

 

Many thanks to Tony for his diligence on the mixing desk and our grateful thanks to the Pub Staff who set up the room so well

 

30th November 2023

Double Showcase

At the Half Moon

Blues Inc &

Grant Howard & Danny ‘Boy’ Piper

 

Last time at the Acoustic Club we had a very much Blues based evening with a Double Headline Showcase with Grant Howard and Danny ‘Boy’ Piper and the evergreen Blues Inc

Over the years we have tried to bring themed evenings and the one that is reoccurring theme is the Blues Evening. If we are going to have a blues evening, we could not run it without Blues Inc and, for a bonus, we got blues legend Danny ‘Boy’ Piper and blues harp maestro Grant Howard.

 

Grant Howard and Danny ‘Boy’ Piper

Danny is a local legendary player of Delta Blues and when you couple him with mouth harp maestro Grant you are sure you will get a full set of fantastic delta blues. A set that demonstrated how a National Steel Guitar as well as a very 1950’s Gibson Arch Top should be played in a style that took us back to the sheebahns and juke joints of Mississippi inn the 19390’s at the height of the blues revolution.

 

Blues Inc

Blues Inc are great friends of the Club and have been playing in one form or another since the club was founded. A little while ago they added the talents of Martyn Hewitt on lead guitar to the established threesome Drew, Graham and Andy and his addition brings a whole new breadth to their playing. With Louis Dolby moving on to pastures new they have also added Alan as drummer.

 

For sure, they still play the blues, but they add contemporary songs as well. Sometimes the song they choose are almost modern!! So in the twinkling of an eye the evening was over and another fantastic night of live music was over.

 

For our support, we were delighted to welcome Colin Frid and Mike Johnson to perform 3 songs each and with Bill Tarran as Host and M/C we completed a very strong line up.

 

Many thanks to Tony for his diligence on the mixing desk and our grateful thanks to the Pub Staff who set up the room so well

 

16th November 2023

7 Acts – 4 Songs

At the Belgian Brewer

 

Due to a slight booking malfunction last time, we welcomed 7 acts to perform at the Club rather than the usual 6. However even with the slightly earlier start we were treated to one of the best evenings of music we could have ever hoped for. It has been said in the past but it really was an epic night of originality and drama of the highest order.

 

Due to ongoing problems at the Half Moon, we were delighted of for the opportunity of running the evening from the excellent Belian Brewer premises. Having the performers doing their stuff from the very large and comfortable Function Room which was swathed in top quality music from an extensive roster of fabulous musicians

We opened the evening with the incredible Shorelines. Making their second appearance at the club they have added yet another member to their line up and quite frankly we could not have found a better band to set things on the right direction. They are rapidly improving and their 3-part harmonies really hit a high mark for every one who followed them. Just brilliantly interpreted songs.

 

 

Jeremy Harmer is recoginised as a highly influential songwriter and performer. He has that little bit of counter revolutioniary that is essential in any writer and performer who seeks to reflect the current world in song. His songs hit home, they are a bulls eye every time. Written in the classic contemporary folk style, you will always sit up and take notice. Many thanks for an inspirational set.

Colin Frid and Simon Dennis reflect a generation that produced some of the timeless songs that make up the 1960’s expreience. Together they work very hard at reviving that wonderful sound of the 60’s and especially The Beatles. Over the years their friendship and their music has grown into a shsow stopping experience taking thos songs back to the instruments that the songs were written on – 6 String and/or 12 String Guitar. A masterful set from two guys who love the music and play it so well.

Rhys Wilson is a man who moves in so many musical circles it is difficult to nail him down into a single genre. So for the sake of simplicity I will define it as “Rhys”. He is a fine and thoughtful songwriter and this is evident from his latest CD Howling at the Moon. He played us a couple of songs from the CD but treated us to a couple of covers and paid a heartflet tribute to one of the truly great singersongwriters of all time Gordon Lightfoot. Not only is Rhys a great player but he is the undisputed master of the truly terrible pun. That makes him exactly right for the Royal Variety Show or some such wider audience for his talent!!

The first of our debut players was Runaway Jukebox. They are 3 guys who live up to their name with some brilliant tunes that are produced by an unusual combination of cajon, electric guitar and acoustic guitar topped with some incredible vocals and harmonies. They belted out a set that had the audience wanting more and more

Francesca Aimee Hutchinson is a wonderful singer and writer. A product of the Northern Music Scene and a graduate of the highly regarded Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts she has moved in many diverse musical circles spreading her songs and performance in equal measure. She manages to combine all sorts of influences into an enthralling style that is only possible from those who have trained really hard to achieve a high level of performance. Francesca Amiee gave us a set that showcased her talent brilliantly and lets hope we can see her again before she becomes so outrageously popular we can all say “I remember her when we saw her at the Acoustic Club.”

Storm Deva have created a place in music scene that is theirs. They fuse many styles into what can only be described as an encompassing performance. With electric piano that borders on the Gothic and a guitar accompaniment that is both sympathetic and essential. However it is Carollyn’s classically trained vocals that link the performace together. Their music is immersive and requires listening to and is truly compelling. Many thanks Carollyn and Stuart for a superb end to the evening

 

Many thanks to the Belgian Brewer for their help in keeping us up and running in these most testing of times and of course to the patrons of the Belgian Brewer and our regulars who made it an all-around Acoustic Club night to remember.

 

 

2nd November 2023

ELLIOT PORTER

At the Belgian Brewer

Last time we were delighted to welcome back Elliot Porter to a new venue and a different evening altogether.

 

Due to ongoing problems at the Half Moon we were unable to run the club at the Half Moon due to problems in the licensee changeover. So, as ever, Geoff sprang into action and secured ourself the opportunity of running the evening from the excellent Belian Brewer premises. Having the performers doing their stuff from the Balcony Lounge meant that the whole of the bar was swathed in top quality music from not only Elliot but an extensive roster of fabulous musicians

Our headline showcase is a genuine all-around star performer. He writes some of the most thoughtful songs you will hear and compliments them with tunes and melodies that are both pleasing on the ear and compliment the words in a way that is unique. Elliot was accompanied by his normal partner in crime on bass Dave and together they delivered a set full of truly great songs, showcasing Elli’s latest single, from his forthcoming album. If the new album is anything like Elliots last album Lanes, we are in for treat.

 

An evening that started with host and MC Bill Tarran and was followed by sets from Richard Holder, Chris Rivet, Mike Johnson and an extended set from Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn. Many thanks to all our support players some at short notice who support the Club so brilliantly. Coupled with our headline showcase, just a perfect ending to a brilliant night of music.

 

Many thanks to the Belgian Brewer for their help in keeping us up and running in these most testing of times and of course to the patrons of the Belgian Brewer and our regulars who made it despite the disgusting weather that resulted in road closures all around Stortford due to flooding

 

26th October 2023

Lily Martin and the

Young Players

 

Last time we were delighted to welcome the return of the Bishops Stortford Young Players as well as a tremendous headline Showcase from Lily Martin accompanied by Fynn Clements

Our Young Players nights are always a highlight that is not to be missed and the Half Term Evening last time was no exception.

We were missing a couple of our regular players but the ones we had were brilliant. We also had the pleasure of a headline showcase from a graduate of our young players Lily Martin giving a wonderful set of original songs topped with one of the best Amy Winehouse covers you will ever hear as her encore.

 

Accompanied by Fynn Clement on guitar, the duo gave us a wonderful set. Lily’s songs are mature, well written and with a variation of tempo that give the opportunity for her to give full range to her vocal talent, which can only be described as prodigious. Fynn is a fine young guitarist and matched Lily note for note and phrase for phrase. Together they showed exactly how talented they are and what a great combination they are.

 

The Young players gave us full range of their individual talents as well. Anna Hughes has a wonderful voice and is a fine songwriter. She delivered a set of maturity and poise and is developing into a real talent.

 

Alessandra Freeston is fast becoming a virtuoso on the Tsugaru Shamisen which is a traditional Japanese 3 stringed instrument popular in the production of Edo Plays and performance. Alessandra not only performs at an exceptional level but performs her own compositions. This time she delighted the audience with two original compositions and her individual interpretation of a standard tune.

 

           ANNA                  ALESSANDRA     ARCHIE & RONNIE

Archie Eastlake and Ronnie Scott are two young players who belie their tender years. Ronnie sings with confidence and is gaining experience as well as the ability to interpret songs brilliantly. Archie is a guitarist, which does not say exactly just how good a guitarist he is!!. He is a phenominal guuitarist who has withou doubt a long and fruitful carear waiting for him. He has the ability to take some of the most complex and techniqally testing solos and, whilst staying true to the orginal, gives range to his superb ability. What a  truly oustanding demonstration of what can be achieved with hard work between the two of our most popular players.

 

Due to holidays and issues we were delighted to welcome Trina Reed and Dan Titus to comple the line up of support players. Both delivered terrific sets peppered with original songs. With Bill Tarran as host and MC, we had a terrific evening of new and emerging talent, some more experienced players and all topped out with a brilliant set from Lily and Fynn.

 

Many thanks to all the staff and management of the South Mill Arts Centre for making us so welcome and to Jay Williams for his great work on the sound desk.

 

 

19th October 2023

6 Acts, 4 songs

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

This week we return with 6 acts who promise to be a cracking variation of genres and styles with new combos and players for us to meet and enjoy.

Brian Harvey & Ali Cossor

Ali and Brian are two players from the well-known band Sky West. Both are accomplished song writers - Ali tends to write from life experience and from her imagination whilst Brian writes from a more concerned and serious standpoint. Both are equally valid and they produce some fine original music. This time they gave us 3 originals and a wonderful Amy Winehouse cover. 

Mike Excel

Mike made a welcome return to the Acoustic Club. mixture of light hearted songs that have a stiletto point to them as well as one of the best Pulp cover of "Common People". Absolute cracking set.

James Farrington

James’s is a man on a mission. Hailing from the "Mersey Delta" he is currently residing in "The South". He gave full range with his strong voice and excellent blues guitar. His set included some memorable Delta Blues and is an absolute shoe in for our next blues night planned for the New Year.

Stuart Nicholson

Stuart is a fairly local player and has performed over the years at many gigs and venues. His set was as varied as one could ask for with his strong voice and excellent guitar work.

Andy Smythe

Based in Greenwich, Andy has for the past 20 years quietly stolen the hearts and minds of all that hear his evocative, finely crafted songs. He gave us 4 very original and highly listenable songs that were terrific.

 

Colin Frid

Colin performs from a lifetime of experience standing on a stage and has what can only be described as an eclectic choice of songwriters including his original songs. As ever we got a full-blown Colin Frid set of originals as well as some brilliant covers.

Many thanks to the maestro on the deck Tony and the new members of staff at the Horn at the Half Moon for being there for us making the Horn the No 1 music venue and not forgetting the music loving audience they make every player so welcome every time.

 

5th October 2023

Peter Crossley & Jim Watts

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we had a Double Showcase with two solo players at the opposite end of the repertoire landscape with singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Peter Crossley and blues, C&W and any great song guitarist Jim Watts.

 

Peter Crossley

Peter is a unique and highly individual musician. His brilliance at a songwriter with guitar accompaniment that is truly cultured.

Peter released a wonderful album and such is its overall quality, songs from that album are fixtures within his sets. He gave us the full range of his talent with a couple of covers thrown in for good measure.

Peter is involved in so many musical adventures with Pat Crilly and the legendary Junkyard Dawg Jug Band but as a solo performer that we find the real Peter.

Jim Watts

Jim Watts is one of those players who inhabits the place he enjoys. He is an outstanding blues guitarist but adds so many other genres that delight him into his sets that it is wrong just to think of him as “Just a blues player”. Jim gave us a set that was mixed with so many genres it was a challenge to spot what he was going to play next. As ever, his strong vocals and cracking guitar work shone throughout.

Our support players gave us a fine start to the evening with spots from Bill Tarran (Host and M/C), Richard Holder, Vince Taylor and Daniel Titus.

 

Many thanks to the maestro on the deck Tony and the new members of staff at the Horn at the Half Moon for being there for us making the Horn the No 1 music venue and not forgetting the music loving audience they make every player so welcome every time.

 

 

21st September

6 x 4

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we were delighted to be back at the Horns at the Half Moon and back to the Long Room Stage.

It was great to welcome a new player, a combo we haven’t seen for a while, and players who have graced the stage in recent past

 

Sky West

The stripped-down Sky West are a group who produce a prodigious quantity of original material and have a delightfully unique style of delivering. They truly fit into the category “More than the sum of their parts”. Their set was peppered with originality and were a fitting close to the evening’s music.

Many thanks Dave, Brian and Mark. See you soon!

 

Clark & Johnson

Tony and Karen have a most wonderful talent of re-interpreting classic acoustic songs that lift the heart and just cheer you up. Karen has what can only be described as a “pure” voice that is complimented by Tony’s intricate as well as forceful accompaniment. They seem to hit the nail squarely on the head with every performance and are widely respected amongst audiences and their peers alike.

Colin Frid

Colin has an astounding knowledge and repertoire of acoustic music. Sometimes he drifts into rock, sometimes forgotten songs from the past both near and far. This time he presented a great set with a stunning highlight of Pat Crilly’s Leather Jacket pouring his heart and soul into his performance – as ever.

Andy Knox

Andy made his debut at the Acoustic Club last time and to be fair, as a self-confessed Friday Night Pub Player he was worried he would not find favour with the AC audience. He could not have been further from the reality as the AC is renowned for accepting eclectic repertoires. His choice of songs was inspired. He played a fine selection of songs that had everyone foot tapping along.

 

Andy is one of the busiest local musicians and runs a string of Open Mics as well as formal evenings and it was great he was able to join us.

Hopefully he can find time to come back again!

 

Ellie Walker

Ellie is a busy person. Not only does she have a young family, she finds time to write incredible songs and is able to fit in sharing her musical brilliance with audiences. At this point I must mention her guitar player (who just happens to be husband Mike) provides what can only be described as a fitting and highly complementary accompaniment to her piano and songs. Just a lovely original set – Thanks Ellie (and Incognito Mike!)

Vic Lennard

Vic is a self-confessed finger picking acoustic guitarist who has a history of situations and scrapes that illuminate is life and form the basis of his songs.

He writes and sings about matters that are important to him and encourages the audience to join him in “His world”. It’s such a pleasure to be invited and enjoy the view of his world with his words and music.

 

 

Many thanks to the maestro on the deck Tony and the new members of staff at the Horns at the Half Moon for being there for us and the music loving audience they welcome every time.

 

7th September

DAVE SUTHERLAND

 

What an evening!

It is always a pleasure to welcome Dave Sutherland back to the Acoustic Club, and last time he treated us to two 40 minute sets. These were both full of his incredible songs as well as some very well selected covers which benefitted from “The Sutherland Treatment”.

 

Dave is fast becoming a fixture at the highest level of British Americana where he is an award winning performer, writer and recording star. What always astounds first time listeners is the relevance he brings to his songs. He sings about London, the bits we see and the slices of life that often slip below the radar as they are largely local matters.

 

We were delighted to hear his new single “Dear John!” a classic reworking of the Status Quo hit in its stripped down version with a fantastic accompaniment by the incredible performer Rumer. Having joined in at several Quo Concerts in the past, the meaning of the song passed me by! Dave’s version - along with the masterful video masterminded by his media producer wife Emma – brings a new consciousness to what is a fantastic song and hard hitting subject it is.

 

Both sets were a masterclass of the consummate performer at the very top of his craft. The list of songs he performed blend a retrospective of his songs from the last 20 years and four albums and selected covers. Highlights were often and almost taxi rank like in their regularity.

 

One part of Daves performance is his guitar work. Having two 6 string acoustic guitars that he uses with equal aplomb, but they are two entirely different guitars, one is tuned conventionally (ish) and the other has an individual tuning that he has made his own. The absolute quality and versatility of his playing is the foundation upon which the whole performance is based.

 

Opening the evening, support was given by Bill Tarran.

 

The audience loved it!! It is legendary how late Dave can run in his performances (many have witnessed 45 minute over runs regularly at gigs) and despite this, he left the audience wanting still more.

 

Many thanks Dave for starting our Autumn Season and our last at the South Mill Arts Centre in such style. Looking forward to the next time

 

 

DEAR JOHN

DAVE SUTHERLAND

 

Dave’s latest single is a reworking of a classic that brings a new understanding of this landmark recording

 

To watch the video, please click the link

Dear John-Dave Sutherland

 

 

31st August

Double Headline Showcase

Lizzy Hardingham

&

The Tom Braggins Trio

 

Last time we were delighted to welcome a block busting Double Showcase with Lizzy Hardingham and The Tom Braggins Trio, two performers who are regarded as brilliant in their own but diametrically opposite genres. 

LIZZY HARDINGHAM

Folk infused singer songwriter Lizzy Hardingham sings songs that drive straight to the heart, giving audiences a chance for genuine connection and empathy. In her performances, she is well known for getting involved in her songs. They are personal to her and her performance involves the audience in such a way as the audience is immersed in the songs.

 

All song writers want people to listen to what they produce and there are several ways to do this. The best, and the way Lizzy inspires attention, is by sheer force of personality and ability. Her guitar accompaniment is so fitting and apposite. Her voice clear and precise and soars above the audience to inspire attention.

 

Her set was delightful, selecting not only songs from her new album "How did we get here?" but included a cover of an inspirational song about the seemingly eternal struggle of the Suffragettes.

 

In all, the set was a total delight and her success at inspiring the audience to sing only serves to emphasise the love for her music demands.

 

Thanks Lizzy for a smashing set and good luck with the album!!

THE TOM BRAGGINS TRIO

The Tom Braggins Trio is a long-standing collaboration with an enthusiastic and dedicated following. Tom has been playing music since childhood and as a one man band he includes bass and vocal percussion as well as guitar and vocals.

The Trio, Tom (guitar and vocals), Chris Eldred (keys) and Phil Haines (drums), went to school together and have been playing music together for well over 10 years. They are a high energy unit specialising in soul-funk-jazz. The trio’s album 'Simple Things' (under Tom Braggins Band) can be found on iTunes and Spotify!

From the very first chord to the very last note, the packed audience were totally immersed in the musical experience. They trio are loud, soft, up-beat, down beat, contemporary and have a back catalogue that most bands would die for, as well as producing new music at a prodigious rate!

 

Tom is the writer, singer and guitarist but the truth is that the Trio are integral in the composition of their material. Chris, who miraculously manages the bass line with his left hand and the melody and keyboard solos with his right, creates a the sound that whilst filling the soundscape entirely, simultaneously produces a counterpoint to Toms soaring and intricate guitar work. Phil provides such a solid back beat that is metronomic it is delivery and the building block of the overall sound.

 

They are, quite frankly, at the top of their game. They are not the usual fare at the Acoustic Club but Tom has been a friend of the club so long and performed so many times that we are delighted to welcome the Trio back to help us explore and enjoy their music.

 

A new album will be released in the near future and we were delighted that the guys chose to share new material with us. We will, naturally, share the date and location of the album launch.

 

All in all, NOT acoustic (well drums are!) but a perfect close to a wonderful evening of music.

 

Many thanks to Hanako Ward for sharing her developing talent. She has gone from a quiet young ukulele player who performed firstly with her teacher Jeff Carpenter and has methodically progressed to play guitar solo and with other members of "the Carpenter Clan" to where she is today delivering Ells Fitzgerald classics with a real panache.

 

Thanks to Bill for opening and acting as Host and MC and many thanks to Jay Warner for his talent mixing the sound and the Staff and Management of the SMAC for providing such a welcoming music space.

 

17th August

6 Acts 4 Songs

Hello Acoustic Clubbers.

What a wonderful evening we had with 6 Acts performing a 4 song set that allows them to explore their repertoire. We were delighted to welcome 6 highly diverse acts who delighted and entertained the packed audience.

 

We opened with Bill Tarran who did a memory spot for the late and truly great Colin Scot by playing 4 songs that Scotty made so famous in the 1970’s and 80’s. Scotty played Bishops Stortford many times between 1972 and 1988 and was a Star Attraction at the Rovers Folk Club and his memory lives on wherever the heyday of the acoustic singer songwriter is still remembered.

 

Trina Read is prolific songwriter and treated us to four originals of which a couple were getting their first outing. Trina has played at the club several time previously and every time she performs she brings her talent and always a new song or two. Her vocals are the foundation of her performance and her musical accompaniment is the perfect counterpoint.

 

Martin Day has a unique style and brandishing a new guitar that, as all Hummingbird models do so effectively, literally booms his thumping beat and fills his songs so well. Martin has played many times in the past and his rousing vocals with his back beat makes him a crowd favourite, where and whenever he performs.

 

Wild Roses (Will and Annatt) were not only making their debut at the Acoustic Club but their debut as a duo. Will has a great playing style that is as individual as it is effective.  Annatt has one of the most thrilling voices. Some beautiful songs well performed  but we had a first! If you imagine “Its now or never” made popular by the King of Rock and Roll and then add the original aria “O sole mio” and is sung as a counter point with the most impressive of soprano voices, you understand why the audience were unanimous in their loud, prolonged applause. Delighted to report that they will return in the Autumn.

 

When players get together sometimes, they are the sum of all parts. However, when Paul, Si and Verna got together there was an immediate and obvious musical chemistry in their music that is honestly much greater than the sum of all parts. The benefit of three great players making great original songs sound fresh, this trio is real delight.

 

 

 

Tranquillity Beach are forging a reputation for highly original and enthralling music. They have an uncanny knack of producing music that they work so hard to deliver in just incredible. They gave us a great set and ,as ever, left us wanting more.

 

Many thanks to all our players for their wonderful music and for the appreciative and enthusiastic audience.

 

Thanks to Jay for his work as Sound Engineer and the staff of the South Mill Arts Centre for making our stay at the SMAC so positive.

 

3rd August

Jo Ash with Mike Wheatley

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers.

What a wonderful evening we had with our Showcase act JO ASH and her accompanying guitarist Mike Wheatley.

 

Jo is an all-around performer, writer and artist. SHe brings her own stamp on every performance, and last time was no different. SHe gave us a preview of her latest Album as well as a couple of older songs from her expensive back catalogue.

 

A fantastic set all around and many, many thanks

 

Jo was preceeded by a fine selection of talent with Chris Rivett acting as Host and M/C whilst I was away in sunny Scotland ably supported Hanako Ward (who stepped in to perform two lovely songs), Emilia Payne Smith, Stuart Nicholson, Richard Stubbs, James Farrington and Elinor Jackson & Tom.

 

Many thanks to all our performers who entertain us so royally.

 

Also many thanks to all of our huge audience that enjoyed the music of all our players and performers. It only goes to prove if you put on the music and keep it live, then people will come to enjoy it.

 

Many thanks to the staff at South Mill Arts Centre for making us so welcome.

 

20th July 2023

6 Acts – 4 Songs

Hello Acoustic Clubbers.

We are delighted to welcome back to the Acoustic Club players who have royally entertained us and return for a discrete repeat. We also welcomed two new groups, one who has played before in a different guise and a totally new to us group.

 

A FIN

Our opening act was a new act to us at the Acoustic Club. New to us but they have history. A couple of years ago, at the Royston Arts Festival, this new group appeared. They blasted their way around the various venues and were an outrageous success. Making their debut performance at the Club and by anyone’s standard this one was special. They performed 4 original songs with real aplomb and talent. They are original throughout and produce a delightful sound. Many thanks and look forward to seeing you in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

DAVE OXLEY and ALI COSSOR

David and Ali individually are well known and respected performers. Both have a wealth of musical history and talent. They inhabit a number of musical enterprises Sky West being one of the most notable, but they do performer with other bands. Together they produce a new sound that is a departure from their usual offerings, which is not surprising and not unexpected. What was also a mark of their new direction was the songs they played. Dave and Ali sing with a direction that is remarkable. |Their close harmonies accompanied by Ali’s keyboard skills mean that they produce an intelligent and delightful sound. Lets hope that we see them soon.

 

COLIN FRID and SIMON DENNIS

Colin and Simon have a friendship that is bonded by their love of classic 1960’s pop songs. They have played a set full of 1960’s classics with Colin on his trade mark 12 string and Colin on his wonderful Martin D35 as well as his Shaking Eggs. They sing songs with an authenticity that only comes from actually being there at the time.

 

 

 

JAY WILLIAMS

Over the years Jay has progressed from slightly nervous young player to a confident singer and songwriter. But my goodness, hasn’t he moved on from that version of himself. Jay has a terrific voice that fits so well with his guitar and piano accompaniment. He produced as fantastic set of originals that the whole audience really enjoyed. Jay is building his reputation step by step and his performance is always a treat for any and every audience.

 

RHYS WILSON

Rhys is one of the most accomplished singer songwriters on the circuit at the moment. His songs are individual and the full range of his talent is demonstrated by the quality of his latest album Howling at the Moon. He showcased 3 songs from the album and a rather intoxicating cover but it was his original songs from the reaction of the audience and the accompanying sales proves that he deserves a wider audience. The Album is reviewed in our Music section.

 

 

 

 

 

PAT CRILLY & GREG CAMBURN.

It would be fair to say that Pat Crilly and Greg Camburn are local superstars. Its not just their music that sets them apart from other players, it has to be combined with the amount of sheer hard work they spend in promoting and performing music in the wider community and Greg’s role within Retune. However last time they gave us classic Crilly and Camburn music. Pat’s songs are based upon his life and work which has taken him around the world mainly working in Heavy Oil Engineering but exposing himself to so many people and cultures. Greg does not just play the saxophone; he pours his heart and soul into the music. Together the produced a set of classic songs delivered with the usual heat and soul. Just a fantastic way of closing the evening

 

Many thanks to all of our huge audience that enjoyed the music of all our players and performers. It only goes to prove if you put on the music and keep it live, then people will come to enjoy it.

 

Many thanks to the staff at South Mill Arts for making us so welcome.

 

6th July 2023

ELIZABETH and JAMESON

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers.

We had our first Headline Showcase at the South Mill Arts Centre last time and what a rip-roaring success it was! A packed audience were treated to some fantastic support performances and topped off with a superb headline showcase with Hannah and Gryff the phenomenon that is ELIZABETH AND JAMESON.

 

Elizabeth and Jameson are a Hertfordshire based duo who specialise in upbeat and basically “Happy” songs. Their track record is one of singing and writing about their lives and experience. They often reflect those memories and happenings that are up lifting and, with unerring accuracy, hit the audience’s bullseye.

 

They have been performing in various guises and groups over the years but the combination of Hannah’s violin and Gryff’s guitar are a real counterpoint to their vocal performance.

 

Their set was, as we would expect, topped full with their latest album’s songs. They perform with a confidence that only comes from many years of hard work. Their latest album, “Dead Ends and Hand Me Downs”, along with their back catalogue, is available from the usual places and is well worth a couple of listens to get into their unique perspective. Full details are available at their website Elizabeth & Jameson

 

Elizabeth and Jameson were ably supported by a full list of support acts including Bill Tarran Host and M/C Trina Read, Richard Holder, Stuart Nicholson, Molly Francesca, The Maystones and JONO.

 

Many thanks to all who came along to support and listen to a terrific night of live music.

 

Of course, it would not have sounded half as good without Jay Williams on the Desk. It is fair to say that all our performers think our sound is the very best. Thanks Jay – another string to your bow!

 

 

 

27th June 2023

7 ACTS 4 SONGS

 

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers.

Last time were delighted to be back after the utter disappointment of the cancelled SuRie Summer Concert.

 

Following on, we moved to our temporary home at the South Mill Arts Centre, who have made us so welcome and the initial feedback of the venue is so positive.

 

To open we had 7 great acts who performed manfully and with a huge amount of talent.

 

Vince Taylor opened the evening with four self penned songs which were both very witty and well delivered.

 

Sandy Mclelland and Dee followed with four diverse originals. Sandy's voice is strong and distinctive. Some excellent guitar work. Dee has a fine voice delivering some solo work and lovely harmonies with Sandy.

 

One After Nine O Nine -   Colin and James delivered as expected. Three covers, one original delivered with the Frid Family panache.

 

Richard Townend came up with four self penned, thought provoking originals. Decent vocal delivery + some fine guitar work.

 

Dan Titus confidently belted out a mix of covers and originals.

 

Mike Johnson together with Ed on cajon, ( so 50% of JONO then!!), were a bit poppier than usual. They performed four covers that went down very well.

 

Stephen Aravena and Richard Johnson closed the night with a lovely set. Stephen's songs are very strong. His vocals came over extremely well. Both he and Richard are accomplished musicians.

 

 

Many thanks to all who came along to support and listen to a terrific night of live music.

 

Of course, it would not have sounded half as good without Jay Williams on the Desk. It is fair to say that all our performers think our sound is the very best. Thanks Jay – another string to your bow!

 

 

1st June 2023

LUKE JAMES WILLIAMS

And the Stortford Young Players

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers.

Last time were delighted to welcome the incredible LUKE JAMES WILLIAMS as well as a fine selection of the young performers who are so keen to play at the Acoustic Club.

 

 

 

Luke has marked his remarkable progress over the past few years by constantly developing his performance in every aspect. His guitar work has stepped up quite a few notches by the addition of looper and other effects whilst his vocals remain clear and unambiguous. However, it is the quality of his songwriting that has progressed leaps and bounds. His whole performance was a complete joy and passed so quickly. On the basis of this performance his next album is most eagerly awaited.

Great support from our young players including

 

Danny McCarthy, Anna Hughes, Archie Eastlake, Eleanor Hewins and Elinor Jackson & Tom.

 

Many thanks to all who came along to support and listen to a terrific night of live music.

 

Of course, it would not have sounded half as good without Tony on the Desk. It is fair to say that all our performers think our sound is the very best and this is because Tony does such a cracking job. Thanks

 

 

18th MAY 2023

6 Acts – 4 Songs

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we were blessed with 6 varied and absolutely fantastic acts who came together to produce a fully superb evening of live music.

 

 

Shorelines

One of the most difficult feats to achieve is to keep a 5-piece band on the road as well as up to date while maintaining a very high level of performance. Since their last visit they have added maestro of the fiddle and mandolin Matt Kelly but maintain their core of two voices and guitar backing. A really great way to open the evening with 4 great songs so beautifully performed.

Jim Watt

Jim Watt was a late replacement for our friend Colin Frid who was indisposed in hospital. Jim brought his parlour guitar and his vast knowledge of the blues as well as his respected talent for playing them! His Robert Johnson song was about as good as anyone could hope for. A great set from a master of the blues!

Martin Day

Martin is always welcome at the Long Room. He is an original songwriter and has a repertoire to match his growing reputation.

As ever, Martin gave us the full range of his writing talent by performing 4 songs with meaning and always a thumping beat – even the slower ones!!

Just a great all-around set from one of the busiest players around.

Paul Booth, Si Lee and Verna Akers

Paul has often appeared in various guises and has this uncanny ability of bringing people together to make a brilliant sound. He has come up trumps with the addition of Verna to add a completeness to the vocals. Si remains Si, a bass player who fully understand Pauls original songs and adds fills and runs that completes the songs.

All around the new trio works brilliantly and we all look forward to seeing the next chapter!

 

Peter Crossley

Peter demonstrated why he is such a sought after performer. He was on an emotional high (probably illegal in his native Yorkshire!) because his beloved Halifax Town were soon to be at Wembley. Peter celebrated with three original songs and a personalised cover which gave as good a showing as to why he is so respected. There were a couple from his last album which only poses the question, when will the next album arrive??

Peter, we are waiting!!

JONO

Jono are just unbeatable as a band. Mike Johnson is the type of band leader everyone desires – professional, prepared and a great presence. Ed Johnson is a solid a cajon player as there is (Congrats on the Nuptials Ed), Cormac O’Prey is the kind of bass player who moves from one riff to the next with such ease and Kris Ambrose, a solo player of great repute, completes the band with his relaxed but stunning lead guitar. Jono did exactly what they promise – a brilliant and fitting end to the evening.

4th MAY 2023

ALICE WALKER

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we welcomed back Alice Walker to the Long Room. However it is said or written, that relatively short sentence that says far more than anyone could imagine.

 

 

 

Alice was one of the last pre Covid gigs that we had to cancel and after waiting over 2 years it was such a shame to miss out on her set. She has returned earlier in the year to give us a 4 song set but there is always something magical about Alice, her piano and her book of songs in a full set. Her songs reflect her admirably – her views on life, her views on the world in general and a myriad of many other things in-between.

Last time we felt the full force of her writing and performing. She is a phenomenal writer. She manages to get her thoughts directly into song with such apparent ease; whether she is recalling an incident of life or of her thoughts about a situation or person/people.

 

She managed to keep the audience spell-bound for nearly 45 minutes without pausing to give the audience space to really consider what they have witnessed. There is a phrase, often used but is applicable here, that describes her set and that is Tour de Force.

 

Many thanks to Alice for that which could be considered a memorable gig, we all loved it.

 

We had a fine list of support players who set the scene so well for Alice including Host and M/C Bill Tarran, Pete Croft, Eleanor Hewins, Alessandra Freeston, Tom Ryder and Clark and Johnson

 

As ever many thanks to all the supporters who made the evening so memorable and, of course, Tony for such great sound

 

 

20th April 2023

PAT CRILLY and GREG CAMBURN

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

We were delighted to welcome back to the Acoustic Club one of our most popular duo’s PAT CRILLY and GREG CAMBURN. Since the Club was founded, it would be fair to say that Pat and Greg have performed more than any other performer or group. That reflects on their ability to continually increase the range and depth of their repertoire. Their musical relevance, that remains undiminished with the passing of the years, is always the impressive testament to them. They are masters of their book of songs, with both vintage Crilly originals as well as some remarkable covers, which they indelibly stamp their mark upon.

 

The set they delighted the audience with a masterclass for aspiring performers and seasoned players alike. They just deliver better and better performances year upon year. Greg has now fully recovered from his recent ill health that caused him not to play for quite a few months, but recovering his health, his lung capacity is back to its magnificent best and combine that with his zest for life he now plays with a freedom that is equally matched by Pat’s enthusiasm and songs. Pat is the master of DADGAD tuning and his control of the guitar is phenomenal.

The set they delivered was, as ever, full of musical brilliance and played well over the allocated time. The packed audience did not want the evening to end and, being the pros that they are, Pat and Greg obliged!

Many thanks to Greg and Pat for what can only be described as a master class.

 

Host and M/C was the legendary Chris Rivet, who stands in so well as Bill was off in Italy on a cycling race! We had a full support list of:-

Barry Hill from San Diego, Richard Holder, Harmonica Mike, Paul Bamlett,  Elinor Jackson who performed 3 songs solo and Daniel Titus who also performed 3 songs.

 

 

Many thanks to all our players and of course to Tony for making the sound so seamless.

 

 

6th April 2023

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

Last time we welcomed 6 fantastic and varied acts to the Long Room, three of who are past favourites and 3 making their first visit

 

 

Rhys Wilson is one of the most accomplished singer songwriters on the circuit at the moment. His songs are a joy and his musical accompaniment is an extension to complete the package. He always deliver a set that will include a laugh or two as well as having an encyclopaedic knowledge of the folk songs of Pinner.

His set was a full trip around his musical world and was, as ever, a totally enjoyable experience. It is fair to say everyone was looking forward to the next visit by Rhys.

 

Mike Johnson is one of the most experienced and highly recognised local players. He is constantly adding to the vast repertoire of soft rock and even heavy rock his band JONO so professionally deliver. He uses every single technique to ensure he produces that full and rounded sound he loves to share as a solo artist. Mike gave us exactly what he plans; four songs of heartfelt passion and soul. He has a real feel for the genre and can swap between soft rock of Pink Floyd to heavy metal in the blink of an eye; delivering all with feeling and the assured confidence that comes from years of playing and performing.

 

First time performer Adrian Hall is well known in the local open mic scene as well as throughout the area. His songs are exceptional in that his guitarwork is so appealing. Utilising to its utmost, Adrian has a mastery of the fanfold fretted guitar which brings a tremendously filling sound. We haven’t had a Bruce Springsteen song for a while, but Adrian solved that lack for us with a truly individual cover. His melodic tunes are such a brilliant part of his performance that is was great to hear him for the first time.

 

Melanie Quinn was another new to us player but her reputation as an excellent performer in and around the east of Hertfordshire and Bedford area as well as a thought-provoking songwriter preceded her. Mel’s songs are just that! Her view on a subject, problem or just men and relationships in general. She gave us a set of both wit and charm, every song crafted with thought and a real desire to tell a story and we hope she makes the journey over again - real soon.

 

Jeremy Harmer is a multi-instrumentalist, a singer and songwriter. He has earned his status because of the quality of his songs, which are relevant, timely and hit the mark exactly. Performing in the folk tradition with Josh Lynch on cello, together they performed Jeremy’s songs with skill. Jeremy’s talents are well known but Josh as an accomplished cellist was a delightful addition to the evening

 

Stephen Aravena was one of the star turns at last year’s Bish Bash and returning to the Long Room was a delight for us all, including his extensive fan club! Stephen has a penchant for a melodic tune as well as a real talent that borders on poetic with his lyrics. Many thanks Stephen for a terrific set as well as one song in Spanish, which despite the lack of complete understanding of the Spanish language proved again the combination of words and music matter more that the minutiae of complete comprehension.

Fortunately, Stephen was able to give a brief synopsis of the song, but in truth that did not matter! It was a great song.

 

30th March 2023

Terry Hiscock and Roger Trevitt

 

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

We were told that due to the proposed rail strike that Terry Hiscock was to perform as a solo act. As it happens, the rail strike was cancelled and Roger Trevitt was able to appear as part of a fantastic Headline Showcase.

 

Roger and Terry are one half of the legendary Hunter Muskett and as Terry so aptly states, Roger is the bassist and tends to drift into the background. As part of a duo his is brought to front and centre of the stage and demonstrate his talent. Which is actually prodigious. He is a great blues guitarist and has a great vocal counterpoint to Terrys vocals and distinctive guitar style.

 

A tremendous set was provided by this celebrated duo which included so many of the songs we do not often hear. Some nearly new ones and some slightly older ones, Terry has a complete songbook with songs that range across the wealth of his experience.

 

The truth is, they royally closed a tremendous evening of authentic live music complimented by 8 support players who sprinkled classics with new and original songs that enthralled the packed audience for a fulfilling evening.

Many thanks to Roger and Terry for completing the evening and to our supporting players Bill Tarran Host and M/C, Colin Frid, Dan Starr, Emilia Payne Smith, The Maystones, Trina Read, Jay Williams and Freya Sweeney + Hattie Crawford + David Badcock.

 

Many thanks to all our players and of course to Tony for making the sound so seamless.

 

 

16th March 2023

TENNESSEE TWIN

 

 

Last time it was an absolute delight to welcome back Tennessee Twin.

Geoff and Victoria are a gifted duo who write the most authentic American/Country and Western style music. They are steadily building an enviable reputation for delivering great, self-penned songs that have meaning as well as beautiful harmonies and great guitar work. They full entertained the packed house and within the traditional blink of an eye, it was over and leaving us with that familar feeling of looking forward to the next time.

Thanks Victoria and Geoff we all look forward to the next time

 

Tennessee Twin were supported by

Chris Rivett (Host and M/C standing in for Bill whilst he was away on bike racing duties), Harmonica Mike made a most welcome return to the stage after a bit of a break, Dan Titus who is a confident and entertaining player, Xavier Larett with two original songs. Both Richard Pink and Paul Booth are accomplished song writers and treated us to fine original sets. Elinor Jackson is a fine young player and singer and entertained us with a great set accompanied by her own piano playing.

 

2nd March 2023

6 ACTS 4 SONGS

 

 

Mike Excell is a One Man Revolution in the making. His songs, if they were more widely played on the mass media, would incite a riot or two. Well not a riot necessarily but indignation and an awakening of consciousness. He writes as he sees and reflects his experiences of life and last time he made everyone sit up and take notice. His passionate love of cricket shines through as he always plays a straight bat, returns the fast ball straight over long on for a SIX but always gives his best. Great set Mike!

 

 

The Sheri Kershaw Trio are a regular fixture in the local music scene and always have a spot on our calendar. The have earned their right to be there because they just deliver every time they play. Martin (guitar) and David (bass) provide a counter point to Sheri's songs or the occasional cover. They are a tight group with almost an instinctive playing style that makes every performance worth spending the time listening to. As usual they deliver a fantastic set.

 

 

Andy Hunt returned to the Long Room with a much anticipated and well worth the wait slide blues set. Andy has been a blues aficionado for ages and he gave us 4 blues classics played in his style. Andy has a great voice and an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of early 20th Century Blues classics and proved that the Blues Ain’t Dead. Thanks Andy.

 

 

The String Section proved that you can play a fiddle, a mandolin, a guitar and occasional vocals yet still thoroughly entertain with a rare combination of musicianship, talent and a repertoire not often heard. It would be hard to define their style; is it bluegrass, is it country, is it Kentucky Mountain music? It is so hard to define but whatever it is classified as, it was well defined, perfectly executed and a fitting end to the evening

 

 

Laura Dannan is a singer and a  songwriter who sees the world from her unique viewpoint. A well-travelled and long standing musician who has in very short order found a place for her songs. Accompanied by her good friend on guitar, her songs made the audience sit up and listen. A very well crafted set which get better on every hearing.

 

Elliot Porter is a hardworking professional in every sense of the word. He is a writer, pianist, guitarist, singer and music teacher. He manages to combine all these skills into a performance that always leaves you wanting more. He has a lot of friends on the circuit and was joined on cajon by which helped fill out the set. His past recordings have all been exceptionally well received and there are new singles, an album and a charity gig in the future but as ever he filled the stage with his music. Eli looks so comfortable these days on stage and plays with a freedom that he has gained since lockdown.

 

Big plans for later in the year. A single, perhaps an album but he will be working on an ensemble charity project in the near future – which we are looking forward to.

 

16th February 2023

The Exile Club

+ Young Performers

 

 

 

 

Hello Acoustic Clubbers

It cannot be denied, last time the Long Room was full. It was full for a reason or two and when you put together a line up that is full of young talent and the debut of a new Band you have several reasons why the house was jumping.

 

Being half term, it was a real pleasure to welcome six young acts with some terrific ability on show with Archie Eastlake as ever astounding us with his virtuoso guitar playing and his good friend Ronnie Scott on vocals. Alessandra Freeston giving a wonderful performance on her Tsugaru Shamisen. Hanako Ward reverting to her ukulele for the first time in a while not just playing but with her rapidly developing vocal talent. Danny McCarthy is developing his talent for playing guitar, bass and delivering songs that is progressing so well. Eleanor Hewins sings beautifully. Her songs are delivered in a unique style that is her own but always have a meaning. Freya Sweeney, Hattie Careford and David Badcock produced probably the most unexpected of sets. These three players, who managed to bring a silence around the Long Room, engineered a very modern look and sound to an almost classical string trio with Freya on keys and guitar, Hattie on violin and David on double bass. Their technique was faultless and would have been at home in a more formal concert setting, their mastery brought well deserved and very enthusiastic applause. A brilliant sound and performance to close the Young Players.

 

 

To close the exceptional evening of live music was the long-awaited debut of The Exile Club. Performing to a packed audience with so many people who have been around the music scene for ages, it is fair to say it was a rattling good set. No cut that it was much better than just a rattling good set, it was up there with the best we have seen in many, many years.

 

We have known Joe’s ability and musical drive from his performances in the Long Room and of course at Bish Bash as part of many bands. We were introduced to the brilliance of Abbie over the past few months with some fantastic sets and a tremendous headline showcase recently. Given their pedigree it is no wonder that when it comes to forming a band they are going to include people they are comfortable with. That comfort zone is a terrific place to be. Daisy on bass, Neil on drums and Callum on keyboards complete the line up almost perfectly. They are crisp and clean with their sound, their ability compliments each other and produce are real “Wall of Sound” that is normally only found after a couple of years of intense rehearsal and gigging.

 

The Exile Club have perfected their signature sound with apparent ease and when they play, they are in their comfort zone. Their repertoire alternates between originals and some fantastic covers. Highlights are obviously “Some of that Sweet Tea” which shows the full range of everyone in the band but “Angel From Montgomery” is a showstopper. Abbie sings with such feeling and soul it is astounding.

 

We were collectively very lucky as we got very nearly a full hour from The Exile Club and It was a delight for every one

 

Hopefully we will be able to have The Exile Club back later in the year but from the talent on show on their debut, they are going to be very, very busy!!

 

 

2nd February 2023

DAN LUMLEY

 

 

 

Last time we were delighted to welcome back to the Long Room Dan Lumley.

 

Last time we had a very nearly full Long Room who were eager to hear what Dan had to offer after an extended period.

 

Dan is one of the most popular performers on the music scene. He is a superb songwriter, a master guitarist and one of the most compelling performers.

 

The truth is that Dan has lost none of that enthusiasm for performing and entertaining and his set was a triumph in every sense of the word. He engaged with the audience such that it felt like he was singing and playing for each member of the audience individually.

 

His songs are observations of both his life and his imagination. He writes songs that have a meaning, with a supporting melody to match. He also has a great line in his version of other songs. His interpretation of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” will live long in the memory.

 

For 45 minutes the whole audience was held in the palm of his hand, total enjoyment for all.

 

Many thanks to Dan for a memorable set.

 

Dan was ably supported by some very strong support acts

Bill Tarran our Host and M/C opened. Making her Acoustic Club debut was Emilia Payne Smith who played 2 original songs. Nigel Yates was his usual self, giving us two very strong covers. It was great to see Becki and Richard back playing as Cider at Yours. This duo are part of the Stortford fabric and we just love their songs. Jo Clack is a truly remarkable player who combines wit with pathos. The evergreen Mike Johnson is always a positive addition to any list of players and has made acoustic rock his real homeland. To close the support session we were delighted to welcome Lily Martin and Tom

 

A couple of honourable mentions. Well done to Emilia making her debut to such great effect and Lily Martin and Tom. When Lily appeared recently, she was looking for an accompanist to bring her performance to life. A couple of conversations later Lily and Tom are connected, talking and making plans. Two moments later Lily’s mum says “Is that Tom who used to live next door?” and it was! Life and this world are a small place. We look forward to their progress as with a voice as strong as Lily’s and Tom brilliance on the keys, these two are going far.

 

 

Many thanks to all our players for making evening so entertaining but completed the evening so well.

 

Thanks of course to our Soundman Tony for his hard work in keeping the sound authentic.

 

 

5th January 2023

6 Acts – 4 Songs

 

 

Peter Crossley

Peter gave us a set of some of his songs. That sounds usual for performers, but you have to consider the quality of the songs, the intricate accompanying tune and the overall fantastic delivery of each and every song remains long after the music has stopped. Peter will always be welcome at the club, long may he continue writing and singing his heartfelt songs.

 

Ellie Walker

Ellie is a enthusiastic songwriter who is making a return to playing in a big way. She has taken family time away from the music scene but she has returned with new songs, some of them quite happy in places, but all worth the time spent listening. But with husband accompanying her consummate piano playing with his complimentary guitar work, we were treated to a fantastic set of originals. Welcome back Ellie and come again soon please!

 

 

Dan Starr

Dan is an old time blues man who transports you back to the hey day of resonator guitars and Robert Johnson. He gave us a set of panache, style and substance which is rounded off by his authentic vocals. Dan can always be relied upon to take you back to the hotspot of delta blues and does so with an ease that is his trade mark.

 

One after Nine 0 Nine

Better known as Colin and James Frid One after 909 are a remarkable father and son duo. Colin has a penchant for 60’s music which he has infused into James. James has taken his fathers love and developed it to a wonderful level. Together they share music with such enthusiasm and abandon it is hard not to get emotionally involved. A great set but for me the highlight was the Richard Thompson song James fronted. Brilliant.

 

Ryan Thwait with John Eyon and Tim Webster.

Ryan Thwait is an old time singer songwriter but he brought with him John on bass and Tim on djembe. The resulting performance was top full of pathos, feeling and his personal stamp. Irrespective of his towering reputation, nothing is ever complete until the audience has stopped applauding. After the set, it took a long, long time for the applause to stop. It has been a long time since we have seen Ryan and we hope it will not be so long until the next time!

 

Clark and Johnson

Tony and Karen a real coupe. Not quite your Morris Marina (as Tony mentioned) more a smooth, well oiled Bentley Convertible. For them to be performing is always a treat. They vary their repertoire according to how the audience is feeling and deliver some of the most polished performances you could wish for. Its fair to say they are just superb playing Eagles, their own songs or for that matter anyone’s. It struck me half way through their Christine MacVie tribute, just how similar Karen’s voice is to Christine Perfect’s. (Yes, I know that was her name before she got wed) but that depth Karen has is remarkable.

 

5th January 2023

ANNA WELLS

 

 

 

What a way to start the New Year and the New Season. A full list of terrific support players and a brilliant Headline Showcase ANNA WELLS.

 

We kicked off the evening with some brilliant support sets and, as a bonus, some brand-new players and it is so nice to welcome all players to the Long Room but the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly our headline act.

 

Anna needs little introduction to anyone who has been to the Acoustic Club before. She has been playing for quite a few years and her talents have developed and grown over the years. From the quiet young girl playing rock and roll classics to the accomplished professional musician we see today it has been a steady and certain rise to the top. She has so many strings to her bow; as a song writer, guitarist and keyboard player extraordinary all executed in the environment of bands or as a solo artist she just gets better and better.

 

Last time she treated us to her own songs as well as the odd couple of well selected covers, her spot literally flew past and almost as soon as she had started we were onto the encore! A pleasing and entertaining set that cements her position as just a fine musician entertaining and delighting in equal measure

 

Our full list of support players was

Bill Tarran Host and M/C, new players Lily Martin and Elinor Jackson – both gave us lovely sets with terrific vocal performances, please come back soon - father and son duo Danny & John McCarthy with Danny moving from bass to acoustic guitar and vocals with so much ease and the talented Trina Read. We were then treated to the return of master guitarist and sound man Love Hobbs who is now able to join us as he works on a Wednesday and to finish the support players section Lauren Parker who was back from University for Christmas and was able to slot in a really smashing set.

 

Many thanks to all our players for making evening so entertaining but completed the evening so well.

 

Thanks of course to our Soundman Tony for his hard work in keeping the sound authentic.