PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER – The Electric Theatre, Guildford – 15 September 2011

Gigspanner are a band for whom improvisation is as important as composition. In theory, no two performances will be the same even with the same set list. I’d love to hear them on two successive nights in different venues but I’ve had to content myself with hearing them twice this year. It’s fascinating to hear how the music has evolved over a few months – or is it just that this is how it was on this night in this theatre with this audience? Continue reading PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER – The Electric Theatre, Guildford – 15 September 2011

PETE SCOTT – Why Sing Goodbye Songs

If considering the proposition that the world would be a very different place if Yuri Gagarin had been allowed to play his banjo in space appeals then this is your sort of album.

There is something of Jake Thackray in Pete’s absurdist take on the detritus of life, the idle thoughts that afflict us all. ‘Pity The Poor Baritone’ describes Pete dissatisfaction with his vocal range while ‘Fantastic Pastie’ tells how he missed a train, and presumably lost his woman, on account of the original packed lunch. He takes a swipe at the fashion for naming children after the place where they were conceived in ‘Kuala Lumpur Clegg’ and another at what we can assume is not his favourite television show in ‘Midsomer Murders’. Continue reading PETE SCOTT – Why Sing Goodbye Songs

JAYWALKERS – 16 Miles

The sawing phrase that opens ‘Lonesome Fiddle Blues’ grabs your attention from the moment the disc hits the player and you’re right to suspect that you’re in for a treat. Michael Giverin and Jay Bradberry were BBC Young Folk Award finalists in 2009 but probably too far from the mainstream to actually win.

They play a blend of folk and bluegrass with fiddle, mandolin and guitar as the lead instruments mixing original and traditional material with some judiciously chosen covers. The sound is full but open enough to hear every detail and is supported by Lucy Williams on bass. Jay has possibly the strongest young female voice I’ve heard in years – and I speak as one tired of breathy little-girl voices – and her attacks on ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and Gillian Welch’s ‘Caleb Meyer’ could blister paint. Superb. Michael’s songs provide a gentle contrast, in style at least, for ‘Delphi Lodge’ tells a harsh tale.

This is a really good debut album, hand-made on the Jaywalkers’ own label, which you can also hear free on Spotify. What are you waiting for? Dai Jeffries

Artist Web link: www.jaywalkers.co.uk

RETURN OF THE CROPREDY EXILE – By Dai Jeffries

Whisper this, but I hadn’t been to Fairport’s Cropredy Convention for twenty years. I had felt it was getting too big for my personal comfort – when I first went there was one campsite, now there are seven – but an insistent invitation drew me back this year. In fact what are bigger are the camper vans, the folding chairs and, dare I say, the waistlines. We older and …er…more substantial punters do like our comforts. Some aspects of the festival are more technological and sophisticated. The bar is a marvel of mobile opulence although initially no more efficient than in the days when there was oneWadsworth’s lorry, lots of barrels and one choice of beer. That’s no reflection on the brilliant bar-staff, by the way, but logistics do sometimes let the side down. Continue reading RETURN OF THE CROPREDY EXILE – By Dai Jeffries