Here are some backgrounds on the rest of this years guests:
BILL BATES returns to us again this year by popular request. He is not only a popular solo artist singing both contemporary folk songs and self penned songs, but is also a great MC, and a member of the Coventry Singer Songwriters Circle. His infamous ditty about a Mars bar Party is performed with great fun and sensitivity as is the more serious song ‘Nancy’. Always up for a laugh, Bill is one of the top artists on the programme this year and a top supporter of both the Folk Club and the Festival.
BRIAN PHILLIPS It’s great to see Brian here this year with what has to be a fantastic ‘Act’. From playing instrumentals such as ‘Angie’ or singing a ballad, Brian has a unique aptitude for knowing what the audience wants (even if the audience doesn’t realise what they want!!) He can have you in awe one minute and in tears of laughter the next with his quirky comments and introductions. Oh yes, he reads poetry too and has a great new ‘frying pan’ (go along and see him and all will be explained)!!!
CHRIS TOBIN has always said and maintains that ‘he doesn’t know any folk songs’. How true but he does have a wide repertoire of songs from the‘ Swing’ era together with some self penned ditties. Chris has been known as the local ‘Folk Hypochondriac’ and is a favourite at many local clubs playing either solo, in a duo or as part of a band. Starting off like so many other folk musicians did, in the pop groups of the 1960’s playing covers to gain experience in the art of performing. Chris has certainly learnt his ‘trade’ well and is now promoting himself as a Solo Artist who gives a very professional performance of great songs intermixed with a bit of humour too.
CLOSE QUARTERS Steve & Sandra Harrison, you may recognise as part of Quartz the 4 piece acapella group from Lancashire who have sung together for over 30 years. Since Steve and Sandra’s move north to live in the splendid surroundings of the Lake District they are now singing mostly as a duo. Their repertoire is very broad with traditional folk, gospel, music hall and more recent material included. Steve has added some self penned songs too which have been well received. What they enjoy most of all is to be in a room full of enthusiastic singers to help swell the choruses. Come and exercise your vocal chords – you know you want to!!
COVENTRY SINGER SONGWRITER’S are based in and around the Coventry area. The group began in February 2010 when some like-minded musicians got together to give each other the inspiration and motivation to write new songs.. The group meet one night a month, and perform their songs based upon a set theme each month. Not everyone in the group attends the meetings, some song writers email their songs through as an MP3 to the web site so you don’t even have to live locally – they do have the occasional members based throughout the world. For more info about the group please check out their Facebook page.
DAISYBELL consists of Katherine Fear, Ginny White and Sally-Ann Veasey. Three ladies all harmonising together to the songs of Katherine Fear as well as the intermittent traditional number. Accompanied by guitar, ukulele and mandolin played by Katherine and guitar and accordion played by Sally-Ann (not at the same time, may I add!) Ginny gives body to the trio with her lovely vocals. This is the end of the trio’s first year together, making their debut on the scene October time 2014.
DRAGONHEAD are a husband and wife duo, offering an eclectic mix of traditional & modern folk with a Cajun slant. Ann and John’s repertoire offers audiences the chance to join in and have fun. They will certainly have your feet tapping right from the start. Having supported the North Warwickshire Folk Clubs, Bedworth, Nuneaton and Atherstone, they have successfully organised ‘Folk Nights’ at various Church Halls and Community Centres to promote folk artists both ‘old and new’ alike. Well worth a listen to in my book.
GEOFF HIGGINBOTTOM is a familiar face all over the UK and needs no introduction to regular Festival goers. His formidable style of playing both six and twelve string guitars, bodhran and Appalachian dulcimer to accompany his well-chosen songs is second to none as well as singing unaccompanied. Geoff is confident playing to all types of audiences be they very young or the more mature of audiences and his repartee with hecklers is amazing. Geoff’s repertoire includes traditional and contemporary songs on a wide range of subjects and from a variety of sources all performed in a very professional manner. Geoff is also a powerful singer of shanties as well as being a versatile entertainer. In my opinion he is one of the Folk Scene’s must underrated good eggs so expect a good sprinkling of traditional songs and some cracking chorus opportunities.
GRAEME KNIGHTS Yes folks, he is back again but Bedworth Festival would not be Bedworth Festival without Graeme around. He’ll be doing his usual spot of singing in the Voices Concert as well as performing elsewhere over the weekend and generally causing mayhem. For those of you who haven’t come across Graeme before, he is mainly a shanty man who also finds pleasure in singing traditional and contemporary songs. He also loves fund raising, especially for the Lifeboats at Whitby which he does every year as well as doing the odd parachute jump too, also for charity. We’re really looking forward to singing along with you as well as listening to your not so widely known ‘gentle ballads’. His many CD’s may also be available over the weekend.
GREN MORRIS & SAM STEPHENS are folk musicians of good standing, being based in the East Midlands. One of the best reviews I’ve seen is from Keith Kendrick who says of the duo ‘Gren Morris’s stunning and sensitive vocals and Sam Stephens’ highly innovative harmonies and guitar arrangements make them an unbeatable duo. Their impeccable taste in material is inspired and authoritative, leaving the listener in no doubt of their individual and united stature. One listen to these two and they’ll be on your club wish list. The best thing to happen on the Midlands folk scene for years’. I couldn’t think of anything nicer or more complimentary to say than that except that there is always some glorious and eccentric surprise for audiences before these two leave the stage. Both Gren and Sam are also established recording artists having both worked within other line-ups over the years. A definite act to catch over this weekend. (Sadly both Sam and Gren have been quite poorly recently and are unable to attend this years festival – we wish them both speedy recoveries)
JOHN MORRIS really needs no introduction to the audiences at Bedworth festival or any of the other Festivals he has appeared at during the years and there are quite a few to list these days. John has been a great supporter and sponsor of the Festival for many years, being known not only for his powerful voice and good humour, but also his ‘Hugs’ of many a festival-goer too. John can be found hosting the ‘Voices’ concert as well as at various other venues over this weekend. His reputation for chorus songs along with the occasional ballad and contemporary number is second to none.
KEITH DONNELLY a superb entertainer of all age groups, Keith is back to bring fun, laughter and tears of joy to Venues all over Bedworth. He needs no other introduction just suffice it to say, Keith has supported the Bedworth Festival and Folk Club through both good and bad times and will continue to be a really valued close friend.
LYNNE HERAUD and PAT TURNER settled into their partnership in 2003 after making their first CD together, ‘Parallel’.Since then they have made more CD’s together whilst performing at Folk Clubs and Festivals all over the country. A very versatile duo, playing between them, Guitar. Recorder, English Concertina and a variety of whistles including the ‘Swanee’ and Policeman’s whistle too and they are not averse to dressing up if the song requires it either. Lynne and Pat maintain that their voices are the most important instrument they have and the resulting style is a unique blend of song and harmony and a humour which takes their audiences on a roller coaster ride ‘from high tragedy to hilarious and ingenious smut, performed in glorious vocal harmony’.Crown’ with Keith Kendrick. She was, for many years, the
MALC GURNHAM & GILL GILSENAN are the ‘Festival Organisers’. Malc and Gill are accomplished artists with over 100 years of experience between them. Having played together now for 13 years they have an extensive repertoire ranging from traditional to contemporary folksongs together with the odd Blues and bit of Jazz, covering songwriters such as Dylan, Kate Wolf, Irvin Berlin to name but a few, plus their own takes on a vast library of traditional songs.
MARIA BARHAM & CAROLE PALMER, two well established singer/songwriters who perform not only together as a duo but also in other forms of bands too. They met at a festival some time ago now and decided to work together. Their popularity and confidence has grown amazingly as they find their music ‘gelling’ so well, with their repertoire of self-penned, thoughtfully chosen covers and traditional folk songs, all performed with beautiful close harmonies as well as accomplished guitar work by both of them. Two very talented and vibrant young ladies who make it a joy to watch their performances.Hopefully they will have a CD out at some time.
MOSES and the REF Steve and Christine are making a welcomed return to the Festival this year. They are good friends and supporters of both the Folk Club Fund Raisers and the Festival. Coming from the North London area they are regulars at the Herga Folk Club as well as being very popular at Festivals up and down the country, with their close harmonies. A good selection of material including songs from Les Sullivan and AJ Clark, Steve and Chris are an act that is well worth catching this weekend.
NOTTS ALLIANCE are Chris Orme, Stephen Bailey and Phil Hardcastle. Notts Alliance are an a cappella harmony trio singing a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs. They have been guests at a variety of clubs and festivals including Sidmouth, Whitby, Beverley, Fylde and Holmfirth to name but a few. Stephen is the quiet member of the trio, songwriter extraordinaire and a lovely tenor voice that taking the high notes in the arrangements are no problem at all. Phil is easily recognised by being the shortest member of the group, which leaves Chris who is the ‘front man and key giver’. Notts Alliance can be seen as part of the Voices Concert as well as other concert spots over the weekend and are well worth catching up with.
PETE GRASSBY can be seen at many Folk Festivals up and down the country tending to his stall of musical instruments and books. Another side of Pete is that of a fine musician and singer of traditional music. He’s a guy that has run folk clubs and events for over 30 years and what Pete doesn’t know really isn’t worth knowing regarding melodeons. Pete has been a valued member of the Festival Admin Team for some years being Craft Fair Manager in the past. This year you can see him both on Saturday at his stall in the Lounge Bar at the Civic as well as playing music, singing the odd song or three. Pete will be joining the Voices concert as well as having his own concert spots over the weekend.
SCARECROW are David, Rey and Gordon who are a Banbury-based acoustic band that plays folk music, but offers something a little different. David is the natural leader of the band and has been noted as ‘one of the best whistle players in the Banbury/Brackley area’. Rey plays bass guitar. flute and whistle, and occasionally a recorder and brings a classical influence to the band. Gordon is the guitarist, and brings jazz/blues to Scarecrow and can claim that any mistake he makes is actually an obscure jazz chord. The repertoire includes some tunes, traditional songs and occasionally a twist of jazz or blues; all produced to a high level of tight and unusual arrangements and always well crafted in a distinctive and individual style that is the trademark of Scarecrow.
SCOLDS BRIDLE are Sue Bousfield and Liz Moore. Two friends who have been playing music together now for over 40 years! Their individual talents combine to create entertainment at its highest level with close harmonies, dynamic presentation and loads of fun. Sue and Liz are a popular act in both Folk Clubs and Festivals alike and one can be certain of a first class act.
SHADES OF GREY are Bill Wilkes with his huge vocals and Karen Harris with her clear and sensitive voice. Put them together and the harmonious blend of sound created is that of the unique Shades of Grey. Their eclectic repertoire is drawn largely from traditional songs and embraces the full range of human emotions from heart wrenching songs of love and loss, through tales of struggle, alcohol abuse and animal cruelty to waggish fables of lust and triumphal anthems that compel even the most reticent to sing. Based at the Grand Union Folk Club in Leicestershire, Bill and Karen have been part of the folk scene for more years than either cares to (or in fact can) remember!
SUE BROWN AND LORRAINE IRWING are an Oxford based duo who base their repertoire firmly in English traditional song, drawing from time to time on contemporary material and songs from other traditions. Their harmony singing has been described as ‘perfection in timing and expressive melody’ and ‘a blend of voices to melt the heart of an iceberg’. They are well a known and respected duo on not only their local folk scene but also nationally. CD’s of their songs will be available over the weekend no doubt.
THE OLD ‘UNS are a group of six friends who have been on the folk circuit in the West Midlands and various other places for more than a collective 200 years! Yes that is hard to believe but when you realise who they are it’s not so surprising. The group made their debut last year and consists of John and Elaine Meechan, Phil Benson (Atherstone Folk Club organiser), Dave Parr and Malc and Gill. Their repertoire covers a wide genre of music from traditional and contemporary folk songs through to pop performed in a folky way! Their name comes about as the exact opposite of the Young ‘Uns’ as the ‘Old ‘Uns’ are just that, old. Well let’s say they are all “comfortably” of retirement age. You can catch them on Friday Evening at the Rugby Club.
THRUP’NNY BITS are Des Patalong, Barbara and Gareth Wyatt who have been friends for a long time and have appeared at the Festival many times. Thrup’nny Bits are regular supporters of the ‘Fund Raiser’ events of Bedworth Folk Club as well as being guests at both the North Warwickshire Folk Clubs, Nuneaton and Atherstone. As well as supporting the local Folk Scene they have been performing at various Festivals too around the UK this year with a repertoire of chorus songs taken mostly from the traditional spectrum and have also included a couple of Music Hall songs have been included too along with a contemporary ditties or two. The emphasis for all their performances being on entertainment and fun. The trio have recently put together a collection of favourite songs which I’m sure you’ll hear over the weekend together with a new CD which I’m sure Des will be advertising.
THREE PEACE SWEET make a welcomed return to the festival in the form of Dave Webb, Gill Gilsenan and Malc Gurnham. The trio got together for the first time seven years ago to ‘sing songs to get the audience going’ so you can expect lots of chorus singing as well as lots of fun between three people who have no less than 180 years’ experience in the Folk World.
TOM PATTERSON & DAVE MORTON are a locally based duo, distinctive for their original award winning material, mainly accompanied by twin classical guitars.Tom’s traditionally based songs, many of which deal with subjects linked to his native north east, have secured numerous successes at festivals over the last 20 years. Some of these, such as “The Coaly Tyne” and “The Windrush”, are now being performed by other local singers. He is continuing to produce new work and, in the last eighteen months, has won the song writing competitions at Sedgefield and Darlington folk festivals and also finished runner up at the recent Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering. Multi-instrumentalist Dave, originally from near Stoke on Trent, is the lead musician in the duo, arranging the songs and playing lead guitar, concertina and banjo. He is a well-known figure on the Leicestershire folk scene, having for many years been a resident at the Pack Horse Folk Club in Loughborough. Tom and Dave’s first CD is now available.
TOM PERRY & CLIVE BROOKS first met when singing with a shanty group. Tom, a Lancastrian, is well known in the folk clubs across the North West for his lovely, relaxed singing style, and is a member of Titanic Brewery’s shanty crew Nine Tenths Below. Clive, who comes from Worcestershire, is a regular solo performer at West Midland venues and also sings with The Laners and the shanty group Sharp As Razors. Tom and Clive’s repertoire consists of traditional songs and contemporary pieces written in the traditional vein, most of which have choruses where audiences are encouraged to join in.
TONY PORTLOCK makes a return visit to the Festival this year as a Solo Performer. Mainly singing blues and playing ragtime guitar (not at the same time, although that could be interesting!). Tony has collected many many songs over the years of which his arrangements will enthral you and keep your feet tapping from the very first chord.