RICHARD DIGANCE – BBC Radio Devonfolk 14.02.10

Well, I must admit it’s taken me ages to get around to listening to the radio with any real conviction and to be honest the first time in probably 20 years since I heard any ‘folk’ music programme all the way through apart from the occasional Mike Harding Show. Imagine my surprise then when I found myself tuning into Richard Digance “Devonfolk” on the BBC’s iPlayer the other day. I know I don’t live in ..Devon.. but even with half the show dedicated to a live performance in the studio by a local singer-songwriter it was Digance’s approach to broadcasting with the emphasis on the word ‘broad’ that kept me listening to all two hours of the show. Instead of the tried and tested it was the sometimes-tenuous links that made it all fascinating listening. Anecdotes pepper Richard’s life and let’s face it he’s had a more eventful one than many of us ‘folk-o-philes’. Regaling us with stories of his first meeting in ..Glasgow.. with a certain Iain McGeachy and how they both wound up sharing digs together in ..Richmond.., ..Surrey.. before Iain found International fame as John Martyn (represented by playing “May You Never”). In fact Digance’s story reads like a who’s who of the ‘folk’ world like the time he performed at Paul Simon’s (yes, that Paul Simon!) folk club at the Red Lion in Barking before Simon returned to America to hit the big time. Rick Wakeman, Paul Brady, Eric Clapton and David Bowie who ran the Tree Tuns Folk Club in Beckenham, Kent all got a look in so I think you’ll agree that in the space of a couple of minutes Richard captures the listeners’ attention and he manages to hold it with ease…to me, the sign of a brilliant broadcaster. If you’ve got a computer do yourselves a favour and check out “Devonfolk” for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. PETE FYFE