Charlie Dore tours Dark Matter in the new year

Charlie Dore

Charlie Dore will be doing some two-timing this spring when she alternates between two different musical partners, her long-time school friend and collaborator, the multi-instrumental Julian Littman, and the virtuoso double bass player Gareth Huw Davies.

They will be sharing legendary singer-songwriter Charlie’s double award-winning album Dark Matter with a series of a multi-instrumental evenings of ‘intriguingly other’ eclectic folk, bursting with earworms and crunchy lyrics.  They’ll dip into favourites from Charlie’s past albums as well as sharing stories and original acoustic versions of hits she has written for others, including George Harrison and Jimmy Nail. Charlie has written platinum selling hits for other artists but she still keeps the best songs for herself. And there’s always a possibility of a new angle on her own song, ‘Pilot Of The Airwaves’, still a national radio favourite.

Julian, who’s ‘other band’ is Steeleye Span, has worked with Charlie since they were 16 years old. They’ve written hundreds of songs together and co-produced eight of Charlie’s albums.  Charlie says “After all this time there’s definitely a shorthand between us and although both of us work with other people all the time, we enjoy being able to easily pick up where we left off. We like to mix things up a bit though, so often we’ll re-arrange songs to keep them fresh – and as I’ve been making a new album roughly every couple of years  for the past 12 years or so there are lots of songs that feel new – because actually they are new! We both swap instruments all the time during lives shows, so there’s never been a point where it has felt like we’re doing the same show – it changes every night.”

With Gareth Huw Davies it’ll be a very different show, but as Charlie explains, “he’s a multi-instrumentalist too, but with more emphasis on bowed instruments and piano, so working with him as a duo gives us both the chance to experiment with arrangements. I’m really looking forward to it enormously!”  Charlie has worked with Gareth since he guested with her band at the Wexford Festival in 2005. Since then, in between playing with everyone from Chrissie Hynde to Sir Willard White, Gareth has contributed his five string double-bass playing and singing to many of Charlie’s larger gigs, including Celtic Connections, Edinburgh and FolkEast festivals. Charlie’s latest album, the double award-winning Dark Matter features Gareth on most tracks and once she discovered his other considerable talents on  piano, cello and vocals she made a mental note to experiment with some new arrangements in a live context. Charlie says “It’s been very inspiring to take songs I’m used to playing one way, turn them upside down and start from the bass end, basically from the bottom up. And with a five-string bass, that’s one big bottom!”

Artist’s website: for ticket details

Live album taster:


January 18th St Edith Folk, Kent with Julian Littman

January 24th Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham with Gareth Huw-Davies

January 25th Otley Courthouse with Gareth Huw-Davies

January 26th Kardomah 94, Hull with Gareth Huw-Davies

January 30th Green Note, Camden with Gareth Huw-Davies

February 24th TwickFolk, Twickenham with Julian Littman

March 14th Olympic Sessions, London with Julian Littman

March 17th Old Cinema Launderette, Durham with Gareth Huw-Davies

March 18th Barnoldswick Music & Arts with Gareth Huw-Davies

March 23rd St Mary’s Bottesford, Leics with Gareth Huw-Davies

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention – tickets on sale now

Fairport's Cropredy Convention

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2019.

The organisers have announced many of the acts booked for next summer’s event which will take place on Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August. The remaining acts will be announced in January 2019.

Tickets went on sale from 3 December 2018.

Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival on Thursday 8 August with an acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour headline set. Thursday’s headline act will be The Waterboys whose potent performance makes them one of the UK’s most exciting live acts.

Former Fairport member Richard Thompson will appear with his erstwhile bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol. Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy. Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.

Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker and long-time bassist, Jonathan Noyce. Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ are a new high-octane prog-metal band.

Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While. BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot. Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players. Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies. Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals. Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.

Cropredy tickets on sale for Christmas

Cropredy tickets went on sale on 3 December 2018 in time for Christmas.

Three-day festival tickets cost £140. Camping tickets cost £45 for three nights.

The first 1,000 orders will receive a Christmas card signed by all five members of Fairport Convention.

For box office details visit Fairport Convention’s website:

Reno Nevada – Cropredy 2017:

Katie Doherty announces new album

Katie Doherty
Katie Doherty And The Navigators

It is said that a change is as good as a rest, and for Katie Doherty it is both a rest, and a change, that provide the backdrop to her latest album And Then. Back in 2007, Doherty became an award-winning songwriter, and released her debut solo album Bridges to much acclaim – including airplay from BBC Radio 2 – leading her to share stages with the likes of Karine Polwart, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and Ray Davies. Life however – as it has a habit of doing – got in the way, putting the brakes for the moment on a soaring trajectory. New roles as composer for many Northern Stage productions, as well as MD for a Royal Shakespeare Company production, may have slowed her output but they have also broadened her knowledge and love for music.

It perhaps should not be a huge surprise then that much of Doherty’s new album is rooted in her keen observation of the concept of change. Whether the focus be on the changing seasons, life circumstances, the passage of time, or the shifting of social attitudes and behaviour, on And Then we see Doherty shine a light on how it feels to be part of a world that can be hard to keep up with.

‘Yours’ immediately lands as a story of leaving a beloved city behind. ‘Rose In Winter’ conjures imagery of the creeping in of winter, and ‘Tiny Little Shoes’ explores the rollercoaster of first-time parenthood, and the accompanying feelings of overwhelming responsibility. Elsewhere on the record are songs that offer a deep examination of wider-world issues, notably the title track, which spotlights societal pressures in the age of social media, as Doherty explains:

“The pressure to live up to expectation and to portray ‘perfect’ is ridiculous and in the age of social media, it’s constant, relentless and damaging. I think so much time can get lost in this pursuit and it kills creativity and imagination. I suppose it’s the ultimate procrastination…you don’t get much done when you’re so busy trying to live up to the world’s expectations. I’m not sure at what point in childhood we lose our wild abandon in favour of fitting in but it’d be great if we all had the ability to revert back once in a while.”

In turn, ‘Angry Daughter’ is song about resilience in the face of inequality. Doherty continues:

“During many debates on gender inequality I have heard women sounding almost apologetic about what could be viewed as ‘feminine’ qualities – because we don’t shout the loudest, speak up soon enough…push forward their ideas etc. I wrote this song as an anti-apology, a celebration of the measured, considered and dignified approach to standing your ground, which often gets ignored.”

And Then marks the start of a sparkling new chapter for Katie Doherty.

Artist’s website:

‘Tiny Little Shoes’ – live:

Shrewsbury Folk Festival – tickets are now on sale

Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Kate Rusby

Tickets have gone on sale for the 2019 Shrewsbury Folk Festival as organisers have shared the first names to be added to the bill.

Weekend tickets to the four-day event, that will take place at the West Mid Showground from August 23 to 26, are expected to be in high demand. Last year the first tier of tickets were snapped up in less than 30 minutes and weekend tickets sold out a month before the August Bank Holiday event.

Two of the UK’s top solo stars Kate Rusby and Martyn Joseph will be topping the bill along with the legendary Oysterband and female supergroup Daphne’s Flight, who are returning after a triumphant performance in 2017. Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore have also been invited back after wowing crowds earlier this year.

Grace Petrie – photograph by David Wilson Clarke

Gary Stewart’s Graceland – a reworking of the Paul Simon classic – has also been signed up along with solo shows from Show of Hands frontman Steve Knightley, singer songwriter and activist Grace Petrie and appearances from The Phil Beer Band and Merry Hell.

Exclusive to the festival will be a special day of programming on its Pengwern stage by duo Chris While and Julie Matthews to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their musical partnership. The While and Matthews Takeover will see the pair curate performances on August 25th that will culminate in a big band show to close the night.

Granny’s Attic

Other acts will include Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones, Edgelarks, Geoff Lakeman, Granny’s Attic, Mankala, Paul Downes, Rapsquillion, Reg Meuross, Track Dogs, the Urban Folk Quartet, and Winter Wilson. Festivalgoers will also be able to watch folk opera Here At The Fair by Mick Ryan.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees said many more artists are yet to be revealed.

“As ever the Shrewsbury line-up will feature some of the biggest names in folk, some popular performers that have been requested by our audience and a number of world and Americana acts.

“But the festival is about so much more than just the music – there’s so much to do during the weekend for all ages. The festival has its own magical atmosphere and we have many visitors who wouldn’t class themselves as ‘folkies’ but they just come to enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere with friends and family and listen to great music.

“The festival continues to go from strength to strength with a devoted audience who return year after year, demonstrated by the fact that we regularly sell out in advance.”

The festival has four main music stages, a dance tent featuring ceilidhs, workshops and dance shows, children and youth festivals, workshops, crafts, food village, real ale, cocktail and gin bars and on-site camping and glamping.

There are also fringe events at local pubs with dance displays held in the town centre and a parade through the streets on the Saturday afternoon. Weekend and day tickets can be booked at

Jenny Sturgeon Trio to play King’s Cross

Jenny Sturgeon Tro

Join the acclaimed Scottish folk singer songwriter for an intimate concert at The Harrison, Kings Cross, London on Sunday 9th December

Nominated for the ‘Composer of the Year’ Award in the 2018 Scottish Trad Music Awards and hailing from the north-east of Scotland, Jenny Sturgeon is a singer-songwriter described as “a significant new talent” Bright Young Folk on the folk and acoustic scenes. Her passion for music lies in her interest in traditional folk song, combined with creating fresh, new compositions. Jenny’s inspiration comes from folklore, historical events and observations of society, and having trained as a biologist nature creeps in to all her work.

Jenny plays in a trio with multi-instrumentalist Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs) and world renowned fiddle player, Charlie McKerron (Capercaillie, Session A9). Her 2016 debut album From The Skein received excellent reviews and was described as “one of the best debut albums you’ll ever hear” by R2 Magazine.

“Jenny Sturgeon is a singer-songwriter who brings together the old and new with a rare skill” – RnR Magazine.

Tickets and details available via

‘Black Muddy River’ – live:

O’Hooley & Tidow bring WinterFolk to Bethnal Green

O'Hooley & Tiidow

O’Hooley & Tidow in concert at St John on Bethnal Green Church, East London – Saturday 15th December

Join ‘one of British Folk’s mightiest combinations’ (MOJO), O’Hooley & Tidow, for an evening of beautifully performed original, contemporary, and traditional winter songs from their latest album WinterFolk Vol 1, produced with BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Ben Walker.

Nominated this year for the fourth time in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and described by the Guardian as ‘exceptional songwriters’, Belinda and Heidi’s powerful, deeply moving, and soulful performances are infused with an honesty and empathy that will disarm the hardest of hearts.

‘They sing together in the way families do…like The Coppers or The Watersons’ Tom Robinson, 6 Music

Advance tickets and details available via

‘Beryl’ – live: