GERRY COLVIN BAND – Back & Forth (own label GC003)

Back & ForthTrue to form, a new album from Gerry Colvin is always something to look forward to and to be enjoyed. Back and Forth is one of those very pleasant experiences. All eleven tracks and 45 minutes of listening are self-penned from the magical pen of Gerry Colvin.

Featuring Jerome Davies, and twins Trish Power with her brother Michael Keelan, this album doesn’t disappoint. Kicking off with the very lovely but sad ‘Watching Feathers Fall’, we are immediately under Gerry Colvin’s spell. One of my favourite Gerry songs.

‘Fate’s Fast Car’ raises the tempo rather, and we are now foot tapping. This is followed by the lovely lively singalong ‘One More Week’ which reminds me of being in fields at Festivals particularly Cropredy when Gerry rocked the 20k plus crowd. Apt for the time I’m writing this review on the last day of August, and it’s feeling autumnal today. Let’s have summer back ‘One More Week’!

‘The Man That She Left You For’ is a very deep melodic haunting song, the love triangle and the person singing in the first person is the lover and how he feels about it. Very cleverly written. Another favourite of mine – ‘The Bell’ is an extraordinary emotional story of the process of manufacturing a bell – with a difference. The sweat and toil of miners, of war, of peace, it’s all in that song. Very strong and passionate story telling. I get goose pimples when I hear this every time. ‘The Bell’ is singing the song.

‘Someone Else’s Shoes’ is about a partner who needs to be elsewhere all the time and not living in the moment. Patience is not prevalent in this song of the person who is the main act in the story! Her partner is frustrated that he can’t enjoy and take time out of where they are at that moment, even under a full moon! ‘The Tragical Conceit Of Captains Millbank And Kat’ reminds me with the music being so sort of nautical and jolly of the music to kick off Captain Pugwash!! Very humorous and fast moving. A great swashbuckling lyric. Love is involved of course! Lots of violin and accordion.

‘Light Of The World’ is about a flame that keeps us moving on in various situations, and distinguishing right from wrong. The flame banishes fears and sees beauty from within and with one voice to sing. Love this track. ‘The Ninth Song’ is singing that it isn’t a significant song, such as Fred Astaire or Paul Anka, it isn’t the 8th or 10, 11th song, but does mention Steve Knightley and Phil Beer of Show of Hands! Another humorous but clever lyric.

‘The Neverendum’ is a very fast paced track, plenty of foot stomping but about a serious matter. Voting. Is it worth it, or is it a lost cause to do so. Trust when voting? Do we? Have we voted for the right person?

The last track is a really sad and hard track to listen to for those of us who have lost loved ones to the dreadful disease of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Gerry wrote this in memory of his beloved Mum, and I find it hard to listen to and to watch him sing it live. Very brave of him. The words are just amazing. He has really thought about this. Life with loneliness, locked inside their heads, occasional lucidity bringing them back to the now. Living in their past. Nobody hears them crying or laugh, or about their future or past. At the mercy of their carers. A very poignant end to the album but fabulously done.

Back And Forth was recorded at Rhythm Studios and produced by Gerry Colvin and Paul Johnston.

Jean Camp

You can buy the album from www.gerrycolvin.com and also find out where he is playing live as he is a must see live kind of guy! Ably assisted by his band members, you are guaranteed a fun gig but lots of seriously good music.

‘One More Week’ – live:

FLEETWOOD CAVE – People Like Us (Rhythm Records FCPLU2016))

People Like UsMarion Fleetwood and Gregg Cave met with the formation of TRADarrr and things went from there. Unlike their parent band, Fleetwood Cave’s debut album, People Like Us, consists of original material plus one cover version. Supporting Marion and Gregg are Tali Trow and Paul Johnston on double bass and drums with guest appearances from Simon Nicol, Chris Leslie, Anna Ryder, Gerry Colvin, Edwina Hayes, Debs Earl and Chris Cleverley.

Like TRADarr Fleetwood Cave enjoy big arrangements with lots of fiddle but the opener, ‘18th Day Of May’ is a relatively simple and very catchy slice of folk-rock beginning with gorgeous acapella harmonies and a nod to ‘Bonny Black Hare’ in its refrain. ‘Dancing Girls’ follows: initially a gentle song with Marion’s voice and Gregg’s acoustic guitar and some delicate electrics (Gerry Colvin?). It ups the power after a couple of minutes but maintains the mood even through its big finish mainly because Marion avoids the histrionics that pop music would demand.

There are delightful twists all the way through the album so ‘Guinea Golden’ slips into a Morris tune in the middle; ‘Gypsy Queen’ sounds biographical but is probably a rural myth written sometime last year and ‘Passage Of Time’ turns into a growling, driving rock song. There is one instrumental, the wild flying ‘Lazarus’ which gives everybody chance to go to town and the cover is Fairport Convention’s ‘Wizard Of The Worldly Game’ taken rather more slowly than the original. It’s an overlooked part of the Fairport canon but this version will undoubtedly revive its popularity.

There is a huge amount of festival potential here with anthemic songs and great hooks. I can imagine sitting in the sun singing “The bigger the tree, the deeper the roots”. This is a really good debut.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.fleetwoodcave.com/

’18th Day Of May’ – live:

New duo Fleetwood Cave announce debut album and spring tour

Fleetwood Cave

Fleetwood Cave, the new folk duo featuring Marion Fleetwood and Gregg Cave, will be launching their new album, ‘People Like Us’ with a tour of England and Wales starting in late January 2017.

Marion and Gregg met through new folk supergroup TRADarrr, who will be visiting Canterbury later in the year. Both are familiar faces on the folk circuit, having played many folk clubs and festivals between them, including Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival.
 
Marion has a voice which has been described as ‘mesmerising’ and ‘siren-esque’, and plays all things bowed. Ashley Hutchings MBE has said she ‘deserves to be ranked amongst the finest singers in this country’. She has been a well known figure on the Stratford music scene for many years, and is multi-instrumentalist and singer with new folk supergroup TRADarrr. She was a member of Meet On The Ledge, The Jigantics and the award winning ColvinQuarmby – now known as The Gerry Colvin Band, which she still performs with.  

Since forming folk-rock band CAVE when he was 18 years old, Gregg Cave, has been performing in concerts and at festivals in the UK and mainland Europe. In recent years Gregg has collaborated with musicians and storytellers and has been commissioned by the Arts Council and National Trust to produce two separate pieces of performance. He sings lead vocals with TRADarrr.

Their debut album as a duo, People Like Us, was Crowdfunded in eight weeks and recorded over five days in a village hall in Northampton, with the added musical input of Tali Trow (double bass) and Stratford based musician and producer Paul Johnston (drums and percussion). It includes new material from both Marion and Gregg, along with one cover – Fairport Convention track ‘Wizard Of Fhe Worldly Game’ (with the definitive lyrics to the final verse sent to them by Simon Nicol himself after an exhaustive on-line search showed much confusion!). Friends of the pair joined them to complete the recording and include Simon Nicol and Chris Leslie of Fairport Convention, Anna Ryder, Gerry Colvin, Edwina Hayes, Debs Earl and Chris Cleverley.

Their 25 date tour includes gigs across England and Wales, from Hull to Redruth and Canterbury to Wigan. They are also taking their music to Holland later in the year.

The People Like Us tour starts in Kingston, Canterbury with a gig for Folk In The Barn on 22nd January and ends at Cecil Sharp House on April 30th.

More information about the duo and tour dates can be found on their website – www.fleetwoodcave.com

First acts announced for Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2017

Cropredy Convention

Fairport Convention has announced acts booked so far to appear at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention music festival in 2017. The line-up is not yet finalised and late additions will be announced in January. The three-day event takes place on Thursday 10, Friday 11 and Saturday 12 August 2017.

The festival will celebrate Fairport Convention’s Golden Anniversary with performances by many former members as well as the band’s current line-up.

Thursday’s headline act is The Divine Comedy. Fronted by Neil Hannon, the band’s repertoire is rich in Top 40 hits and their sumptuous orchestral sound is complemented by acerbic and sophisticated lyrics.

Former Fairport member Richard Thompson is a regular at Cropredy and this year will be playing on Friday evening.

Show of Hands features Steve Knightley and Phil Beer. The duo return to Cropredy after a ten-year absence.

Feast Of Fiddles presents six of Britain’s finest fiddlers backed by a five-piece band in a musical extravaganza of dazzling instrumental virtuosity.

Multi-instrumentalist duo The Pierce Brothers return by popular request. Jack and Pat Pierce stormed their Cropredy debut in 2016 earning themselves a repeat invitation.

A Cropredy first appearance for composer, songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist Dougie MacLean, one of Scotland’s best-loved solo performers.

Making a welcome return to Cropredy, Marillion pioneered the British ‘neo-prog’ genre and remains one of the most innovative bands on the UK prog scene.

Formed in 2016 Cats in Space is a power-pop seven-piece playing high quality 1970s ‘commercial rock’ with a contemporary twist.

Former Steeleye Span fiddler Peter Knight’s Gigspanner Big Band makes its first appearance at Cropredy.

Characterised by his energy and enthusiasm on stage, Gerry Colvin performs beautifully-crafted imaginative songs.

Cropredy will also present a set by the winner(s) of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.

Golden Anniversary performances at Cropredy

Saturday’s afternoon programme will start with a triple bill of performances from ‘early years’ former members of Fairport – Ashley Hutchings, Judy Dyble and Iain Matthews – as part of the anniversary celebration.

Ashley Hutchings founded Fairport Convention and at Cropredy 2017 he will present Morris On, a spectacular of traditional music and dance. Fairport’s original female vocalist Judy Dyble will be performing with Band of Perfect Strangers, her regular musical collaborators. Iain Matthews, Fairport’s first male lead singer will be joined by Andy Roberts and Mark Griffiths to present Plainsong, a harmonic blend of English folk-rock and American alt-country.

There will be two chances to see Fairport Convention co-founder Richard Thompson. He will play a full set in his own right on Friday then join Fairport on Saturday evening.

Fairport Convention will celebrate their fifty years with a marathon performance to close the festival on Saturday. Joined on stage by former members and guests, their set will feature the very best from half a century of musicmaking. Fairport will also play on Thursday when the festival will open with a short welcoming set by the band’s semi-acoustic line-up.

Cropredy tickets on sale for Christmas

Fairport Convention is putting three-day festival tickets on sale in time for Christmas. The online box office will open on Sunday 11 December 2016 and tickets will remain on sale for one week. UK orders will be mailed Special Delivery at no extra cost to ensure delivery in time for Christmas.

The box office will re-open on Wednesday 1 February 2017 when all concert tickets and camping tickets will be available.

Pre-Christmas three-day concert tickets cost £125 and are exclusively available from Fairport Convention’s website fairportconvention.com. Camping tickets cost £45 for three nights.

GERRY COLVIN – Six Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other (own label)

Gerry Colvin - Six Of OneSix Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other is perhaps an odd title for a CD of ten tracks but I’m sure that Gerry Colvin won’t let that bother him. The core band here is Jerome Davies on bass and banjo, Trish Power on accordion and Lyndon Webb on guitar and mandolin with guest strings and percussion producing a sound somewhere between Americana and British folk-rock.

There is a great mix of styles and subject matter in the set. The opener, ‘The Man With The Watch’, is a philosophical contemplation on the passage of time built on a throbbing bass and Michael Keelan’s fiddle – an instrument that appears a lot – with acoustic lead guitar but the mood immediately switches with a song about the Battle of Culloden, ‘The Thistle And The Rose’. At this point you know you can’t let your attention wander lest you miss something important. ‘The Waiting Room’ is a beautiful song about a hospital visit blending the reluctance and awkwardness with compassion. If it isn’t taken up by someone on the folk club circuit, there is no justice.

‘Johnny Cash Shirt’ is the story of a musical wannabe which probably uniquely mentions King’s Lynn and which starts out with a semi-reasonable premise but gets more extreme as the song proceeds as does ‘God In The Bar’ later on. ‘I’m Postponing My Rehab ‘Til Tomorrow’ is a feeling we’ve all experienced – let’s hear it for debauchery! We pass through the nicely pastoral ‘My Country’ and end with ‘The Last Two People Left On Earth Tonight’, a surprisingly tender love song.

Six Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other is an album packed full of delights and deserves a much higher profile than I fear it will receive.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: www.gerrycolvin.com

‘The Waiting Room’ – live:

ColvinQuarmby CQV is reviewed by the folkmaster…

The new ColvinQuarmby album has now descended from CQ towers, and is heralding in, by a fab twelve page booklet containing of all Gerry Colvin  lyrics which are wrapped, in bright shiny, cherub packaging (beam me up Scotty).

In our opinion, we believe that CQV can sit proudly alongside the body of work that ColvinQuarmby have produced to date. This recording is enhanced by Allen Maslen and Marion Fleetwood involvement, both of which have made a noticeable contribution to the new line-up, joining the Nick Quarmby, Gerry Colvin and Martin Fitzgibbon fold (baa…)

CQV is their first album in 8 years and although the word play is as razor-sharp as ever, they have still have a little way to go to recreate, the CQ live experience on record but in truth, perhaps they never will as, seeing CQ in the flesh, with all the banter, is seeing the true measure of the band.

As you would expect from CQ, the tracks on CQV are a right old of mix of material, focusing on the political, social and relationship story songs that are Colvin’s trade mark. My personal favourites were: Broken man, The Gods Don’t Work, Dirt, South London Gang and the live favourite, Dylan Thomas’ Pen.

So in short, Gerry Colvin  has, once again written some brilliant new songs, which the band recorded at Blue Moon Studios in Banbury Oxfordshire where just about anybody who used to be, and in some cases still is, somebody, in the world of folk music have recorded. These include Fairport Convention, Kieran Halpin, Maddy Prior, Ade Edmonson and The Bad Shepards, Julie Felix to name a few. We understand that, CQV has taken a total of 220 studio hours and over two years from the start of recording to complete. Darren Beech

Here’s what Blue Moons owner/engineer Mark Lee had to say about his involvement with CQV

“Cq are without doubt one of my favourite bands to record. With such great songs and arrangements, fantastic singing and great playing it was always a real pleasure for me to press the record “GO” button. I truly wish the band every deserved success with what I consider to be a great album. An absolutely brilliant band. A world-class act in my opinion”