Winter Union Bring December Tour Tidings of Comfort & Joy

Winter Union

Well they say Christmas is a special time of year for a Winter Union, when magical things happen, and this year’s Great British Folk Festival is no exception.

There was Darren and I merrily covering this year’s Skegness outing and we happened across Winter Union, a wonderful, hugely talented ‘folk super group’ and all round lovely bunch of chums from the folk scene, who treated us to a fantastic opening afternoon festive set on ‘REDS stage’ yesterday.

Winter Union comprises of Ben Savage, Katriona Gilmore, Jade Rhiannon, Hannah Saunders and Jamie Roberts, who are now in their 4th year as a festive get together.

This was the first date of their 2018 December tour. They played a stunning festive set, mixing traditional Christmas songs with an added blue grass lilt. Darren and I could not let this amazing sleigh ride pass us by without hopping on for an after gig chat in the bar. We also explored Ben Savage’s (or babe as I called him in a text typo) tale of ‘Christmas Ball Balls’.

Paul Johnson

This is what they had to say…..

Tour Dates:

12/12 St Barnabus Church, Cambridge www.junction.co.uk

14/12 Holywell Music Rooms, Oxford www.Holywellmusicandfolk.co.uk

15/12 St Mary Magdalene Church, Dunton, Beds www.duntonfolk.co.uk

16/12 The Greystones, Sheffield www.mygreystones.co.uk

17/12 Barnoldswick Music & Art, Nr Clitheroe, Lancs www.barnoldswickmusicandartscentre.co.uk

18/12 All Saint Hall, Poppleton, York www.poppletonlive.co.uk

20/12 Finchingfield Church, Braintree, Essex www.wegottickets.com/event/449662

21/12 Otford Memorial Hall, Sevenoaks, Kent www.stedithfolk.co.uk

Artist Website: https://www.facebook.com/winterunion/

Folking.com Cropredy Interviews 2018

Paul Johnson introduces this years interviews…


Dave Pegg – Cropredy 2018

The Folking.com 2018 Dave Pegg Interview from Cropredy


Chris Leslie – Cropredy 2018

Chris Leslie with Martin Jenkins mandolin. Photo by Darren Beech

The Folking.com 2018 Chris Leslie Interview from Cropredy


Alan Prosser – Cropredy 2018

Derby Folk Festival

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech catch up with Alan at this years Cropredy Festival as the Oysters celebrate their 40th year.

Oysterband celebrate 40 years together


Sam Kelly – Cropredy 2018

Sam Kelly – Cropredy 2018. Photo by Darren Beech

SAM KELLY & THE LOST BOYS – Pretty Peggy (Navigator NAVIGATOR 102)


Merry Hell – Cropredy Fringe 2018

Merry Hell – Cropredy Fringe 2018. Photo by Darren Beech

The Folking.com 2018 Merry Hell Interview from Cropredy Fringe


Will Varley – Cropredy 2018

Will Varley

Will Varley talks to folking.com ahead of Autumn tour


Midnight Skyracer – Cropredy 2018

Midnight Skyracer at Cropredy 2018. Photo by Darren Beech

MIDNIGHT SKYRACER talk to Folking.com backstage at Cropredy 2018


MIDNIGHT SKYRACER talk to Folking.com backstage at Cropredy 2018

Midnight Skyracer at Cropredy 2018. Photo by Darren Beech

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech catch up with Midnight Skyracer backstage at this years Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. The interview took place on the Friday afternoon after their fantastic set earlier in the day.

The girls have been nominated for an IBMA award by the International Bluegrass Music Association which is not surprising, as they are all monster players. Congratulations from all of us at folking.com. We are all keeping everything crossed for you!

We would just like to point out (before you think we have gone completely folking mad in the interview) that potatoes and the bands love of them, did feature a fair bit during the bands banter between their songs in the set.

Click on the play button below to have a listen.

For those of you not in the know, Midnight Skyracer are a new, all-female Anglo-Irish bluegrass 5-piece band playing hard-driving traditional and original songs. Singer/mandolin player Leanne Thorose and virtuoso banjo player Tabitha Agnew are joined by sisters Charlotte (guitar) and Laura (fiddle/dobro) Carrivick (of The Carrivick Sisters fame) and bassist Eleanor Wilkie. Formed in early 2017, they were playing their first shows in May and June of that year, before landing a slot at the 2017 Cambridge Folk Festival and stealing the show with a storming, full-to-capacity set.  The Midnight Skyracer machine has led everyone a merry ‘Maris Pied Piper‘ dance since, right through ‘UK festival heartland‘. It gathers more and more followers with every new performance as it steamrollers over festivals, which so far have included; Priddy, Abbotsbury, Folk by the Oak, Underneath the Stars, Cropredy and Shrewsbury to name just a few.

Midnight Skyracer – BBC Radio Oxford Cropredy set. Photo by Darren Beech

Their latest album ‘Fire‘ contains 7 originals including songs by all 5 band members, plus some carefully chosen nods to some of their favourite influences. The album was mixed and mastered by Josh Clark of Kate Rusby’s ‘Life in a Paper Boat’ fame which gives it that ‘top draw’ production seal of approval.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

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

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Will Varley talks to folking.com ahead of Autumn tour

Will Varley

Will Varley is touring the UK again this autumn, with the majority of the shows taking place in seated theatres and venues.

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech caught up with Will backstage at this year’s Fairport Convention’s Cropredy festival. The interview took place early evening on the Saturday and half way through, collided with the mighty Afro Celt Sound System set. The sounds not perfect but we have done our best to make it as clear as possible.


Varley celebrated the release of his fifth studio album, Spirit Of Minnie, with a packed out show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in February. He then spent the first part of this year playing his new album live around the world, touring extensively in the US, appearing at SXSW festival in Texas and selling out venues across the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy.

Culminating at London’s stunning Round Chapel in Hackney, this brand new tour will come after a busy summer of shows including appearances at Bearded Theory, BoomTown Fair, Green Man and the wonderful Cropredy Festival (at the request of members of Fairport Convention themselves).

Described recently by Donovan as “The next generation” and counting the likes of Billy Bragg, Tim Minchin and Frank Turner amongst his fans, it seems the rambling songwriter who cut his teeth haunting the open mics of south London is finally getting the attention he deserves. Don’t miss him across the UK this autumn.

‘Seize The Night’ – live:

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: https://www.willvarley.com

Back to Cropredy 2018 Interview Menu

The Folking.com 2018 Merry Hell Interview from Cropredy Fringe

Merry Hell

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech create Merry Hell as they attempt to break the world record for ‘how many folk-rock musicians you can fit round a table in a pub in Cropredy. Yes you guessed it, the interview took place in the Brasenose, as part of the Cropredy fringe on the first day of the festival.

In the interview, Merry Hell talk about their delight in winning Best Live Act and Best Group in this year’s folking awards and discuss the process behind their song writing and how the material is selected for each album.

Other subjects covered include; the new acoustic album, Dai Jeffries trip to Wigan to review the acoustic band gig and being piled with ‘Uncle Joe’s’ mint balls (read it here if you missed it).

Upcoming tour and festival dates are also covered, from the excellent Southdowns Folk Festival in Bognor Regis on the south coast to Mike Harding’s fab festival in Settle ‘Up North’. Note the additional Kentish f  that was specially added for Virginia free of charge!

Click on the play button below to have a listen.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: www.merryhell.co.uk

Back to Cropredy 2018 Interview Menu

The Folking.com 2018 Dave Pegg Interview from Cropredy

The Folking.com 2018 Dave Pegg Interview from Cropredy

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech track down Dave Pegg at this year at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival. The interview gets off to a great start with Paul remembering to press the record button!

In the interview, we talk about Peggy and Nigel Schofield’s new book ‘Off the Pegg’. We discuss Brian Wilson’s ‘Pet Sounds’ set which headlined Cropredy’s Thursday night. The process that goes behind booking the bands and acts for the festival plus the challenges of announcing the line-up.

We also discuss; Smith and Brewer, Ralph McTell, Peggy’s birthday and Midnight Skyracer. Plus Maart’s new book, Metal Matty, the petition and Jethro Tull.

The video above is unseen footage from back in January 2003 when Darren Beech recorded it at the ‘Woodworm Hilton’ before the Fairport skittles evening (as mentioned in the interview). Its content, refers to that trouser incident interview that was used in the Cropredy Y2K programme. The clip was recorded with an old webcam and originally the sound was too faint to hear, so it was never used. New technology has fixed the sound issue, although the Rocking horse now sounds like it has been converted into a Harley Davidson hybrid! Anyway, we thought it would be fun to finally let it see the light of day.

Click on the play button below to listen to the 2018 Dave Pegg Interview.

If you missed the original Y2K interview (referenced in both the video and audio interview)  or would like to read it again, then you can read it here.

For more information about Peggy, the book and the chaps visit: http://www.fairportconvention.com/

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