Peter Knight’s Gigspanner Big Band announce tour dates – John Spiers Joins the lineup

Gigspanner Big Band

Peter Knight’s Gigspanner are a unique force in British folk music. Their high-energy, virtuosic performances appeal equally to traditionalists and to those looking for something more experimental, and they have garnered praise from publications as varied as fRoots, The Telegraph and The Wire, where they were described as ‘melodically folk-rooted yet open and innovative beyond the constraints of genre.’

Beginning life as a trio – with former Steeleye Span fiddle player Knight being joined by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack – the live lineup was soon expanded to form the Gigspanner Big Band, with acclaimed multi-instrumental duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin joining the fray. Characterised by riotous inventiveness, technically gifted individual playing and subtle collaborative interaction, their first tour together was captured wonderfully on 2017 album Live, and saw them ‘taking folk music down new and enthralling paths.’ (FRUK)

Now, after a fortuitous meeting at the FolkEast Festival, Knight has enlisted the considerable talents of melodeon and concertina player John Spiers, something of a folk superstar in his own right. In Knight’s words, ‘John is an extraordinary musician… a great and sensitive player.’ Knight’s excitement at the new venture is evident, and it says much about the nature of his musical outlook that, after half a century of innovation, he is still as willing as ever to move in bold new directions.

As collaborations go, it does not get much more mouthwatering than this. While Knight, as part of Steeleye Span’s classic 1970s lineup, helped invent a brand of folk rock that is still influential today, Spiers, a founder-member of Bellowhead, has had an equally profound impact on the landscape of traditional music over the last two decades.

Spiers is set to join the rest of the Big Band for the entirety of their forthcoming November tour, and to make matters even more exciting every show will be recorded to provide material for a brand new live album.

The tour offers a chance to experience one of the most significant collaborations in folk music’s recent history and the opportunity to hear all-new material from some of the most talented and respected musicians in the country.

“Totally blown away by the spellbinding Gigspanner Big Band…Lost for words” Folking.com

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

‘The Boy That Wouldn’t Hoe Corn’ – live:

Tour Dates

November

20th Brixham Theatre, Devon
http://www.brixhamtheatre.uk/

21st Huntingdon Hall, Worcester
http://www.worcesterlive.co.uk/events_review.asp?offset=50&eid=453062430

22nd Stables Theatre, Wavendon, Milton Keynes
https://stables.org/event/gigspanner-big-band

23rd The Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury
https://thegulbenkian.co.uk

24th The Pavilion, Hailsham
https://hailshampavilion.co.uk/events/gigspanner-big-band/

25th Nettlebed Folk Club
https://www.nettlebedfolkclub.co.uk/whats_on.html?487

27th The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
https://www.theapex.co.uk/whats-on/details.cfm?id=450747&ins=595791

28th Helmsley Arts Centre, Helmsley, N Yorks
http://www.helmsleyarts.co.uk/

29th Victoria Hall, Settle
https://www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk/eventsandshows/gigspannerbigband291119

30th The Queen’s Hall, Hexham
https://www.queenshall.co.uk/events/gigspanner-big-band

December

1st  The Live Room, Saltaire
https://theliveroom.info/show/gigspanner-big-band/
https://www.seetickets.com/event/gigspanner-big-band/the-live-room-caroline-social-club/1328625

 

Peter Knight Interview + Gigspanner Big Band Tour Dates

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech caught up with Peter Knight after Gigspanner Big Band closed the Friday night of New Forest Folk Festival 2019.

We talk to Peter about the early days of Gigspanner, how the idea came about,  Peter’s ethos for music, what he looks for in his musical relationships and how he approaches his new projects since Steeleye Span.

There is a very funny interlude, when the one and only Hugh Crabtree makes an appearance with a bottle of wine. We also talk to Peter’s about John Spiers, how the partnership came together, Peter’s workshops and the Gigspanner Big Band.

The interview should start playing automatically, if not click on the play button below to listen.

Artist’s website: https://www.peterknight.net/

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Gigspanner Big Band Wells

Wednesday 20th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band Brixham Theatre, Devon http://www.brixhamtheatre.uk/

The Gigspanner Big Band Worcester

Thursday 21st November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band Worcester Huntingdon Hall, Worcester

The Gigspanner Big Band Wavendon

Friday 22nd November 2019

Stables Theatre, Wavendon, Milton Keynes

The Gigspanner Big Band Canterbury

Saturday 23rd November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band The Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury

The Gigspanner Big Band Hailsham

Sunday 24th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band The Pavilion, Hailsham

The Gigspanner Big Band Nettlebed

Monday 25th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band Nettlebed Folk Club

The Gigspanner Big Band Bury St. Edmunds

Wednesday 27th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

The Gigspanner Big Band N. Yorks

Thursday 28th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band Helmsley Arts Centre, Helmsley, N Yorks

The Gigspanner Big Band Settle

Friday 29th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band Victoria Hall, Settle

The Gigspanner Big Band Hexham

Saturday 30th November 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band The Queen’s Hall, Hexham

The Gigspanner Big Band Saltaire

Sunday 1st December 2019

The Gigspanner Big Band The Live Room, Saltaire

JACKIE OATES – The Joy Of Living (ECC Records ECC018)

The Joy Of LivingJackie Oates’ new album, her seventh, is an intensely personal one with songs spanning four generations of her family from her grandfather to her daughter Rosie. The latter can be heard on several tracks notably her “theme tune”, ‘Rosy Apple’. The Joy Of Living reflects on new life and death – Jackie’s father died unexpectedly five days after Rosie was born, and I really can’t imagine the tumult of emotions she must have felt.

So a makeshift studio was set up in her kitchen and producer Simon Richmond would travel to hers and they would get as much work done as possible in the time available – hence young Rosie’s contributions to some of the tracks. The album opens with Hamish Henderson’s ‘Freedom Come-All-Ye’. Jackie’s father fought in the 51st Highland Division, Henderson’s regiment, and she sings the beautiful tune sensitively but without excessive emotion. From there we turn to the new life with ‘Spring Is Coming Soon’, a song that Jackie made up when Rosie was very small and it paves the way for several other children’s songs scattered through the album.

John Lennon’s painful ‘Mother’ comes as something as a shock and I’m still not sure how to interpret it. Is Jackie lifting the lid on something better left concealed? If so she quickly slams it shut again with a reprise of ‘Spring Is Coming Soon’ with its repeated “we’ll be happy very soon”. It’s certainly a stunning performance and one that Jackie is not afraid to tackle on stage. The traditional ‘Virginny’ is a song that Jackie learned from her father and is faithful to his version and now we have encompassed all four generations.

‘The Joy Of Living’ had quite an impact on the young listeners at the launch event but, being an old codger, I can’t help but contrast it with ‘The Manchester Rambler’, written when MacColl was a young man. The love of the mountains is present in two songs written roughly fifty years apart in very different contexts. But I digress. ‘Unicorns’ is another song that Jackie grew up with and I suppose that ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘The Bird’ and ‘Sweet Farewell’ fall into that category. The last two songs return to Jackie’s father. ‘The Last Trip Home’ was one of his favourites and ‘Rolling Home’ is actually a fragment of a recording of him in a session – Jackie picks up the song as the clip fades out.

Musically, there is great variety but nothing is overbearing – how many musicians can you actually record in a kitchen at one time? The piano was already there but John Parker had to bring his double bass, Barney Morse Brown his cello and Matt Allwright his pedal steel. Jack Rutter is Jackie’s regular sidesman now, John Spiers dropped in and Megan Henwood was around a lot to provide the backing vocals. The Joy Of Living was recorded over a long period and not necessarily under ideal circumstances but it comes over as fresh and spontaneous and, indeed, a joy to listen to.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: www.jackieoates.co.uk

‘Nay Ivy Nay’ – live:

BELLOWHEAD – Pandemonium (Navigator NAVIGATOR093)

BELLOWHEAD – Pandemonium (Navigator NAVIGATOR093)Even before the final farewell tour begins Pandemonium – The Essential Bellowhead hits the streets just in time for Christmas lists everywhere. The tracks were reportedly selected by the band themselves and cover the band’s career from E.P.Onymous to Revival.

Bellowhead didn’t launch themselves in a big way back in 2008. There was one gig, then another and rumours of more. I heard them in the early days in a venue that just couldn’t cope with their power – the brass mics were off but, even so, if you were on their side of the auditorium that’s what you heard. Jon Boden was brilliant – a quivering tower of energy, spitting out his lyrics, but no-one could honestly have predicted how big they would become.

Pandemonium is a real party album. It kicks off, quite literally, with ‘New York Girls’ (scheduled to be the next single), ’10,000 Miles Away’ and ‘Roll Alabama’ before throttling back a little with ‘Fakenham Fair’. It’s still a big song but the arrangement allows space for fiddle, melodeon and Pete Flood’s unique percussion to stand out with Paul Sartin’s oboe leading the playout. ‘Gosport Nancy’ picks up the pace again. ‘Betsy Baker’ is nearest they come to a gentle love song and ‘Let Her Run’, ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’ and ‘Yarmouth Town’ return to the nautical themes they so enjoy.

‘Prickle-Eye Bush’ comes from their first EP and is, to be honest, a song that I think is much overdone but Bellowhead do it well, as you’d expect, with funky melodeon from John Spiers. ‘Whiskey Is The Life Of Man’ is another relatively minor song while ‘Cold Blows The Wind’ eschews the usual mournful tone for a more anarchic style before ‘London Town’ wraps up the proceedings. And that’s it – until the lost recordings and the box set appear!

Dai Jeffries

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‘New York Girls’:

Bellowhead reveal video for new single ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’

Bellowhead Broadside Fresh from their victory as winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album, 11-piece folk super-group Bellowhead reveal their new video for their already incredibly successful single, Roll The Woodpile Down. It’s no secret that Bellowhead are one of the best live bands around (as their 5 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Live Band will attest) and this brand new video showcases the band in their element – live at a sell-out show in Glasgow.

Roll The Woodpile Down is the second single to be taken from the band’s new, Top 20, album Broadside. Vocalist, and arranger, Jon Boden explains a little more about the track:

This is a song I’ve known for ages – I think I first heard it sung in the pub in Durham where I used to hang out. I came up with the basic idea backstage in Birkenhead on the tour before last – I was a bit bored so started doing a bit of fiddle singing in the dressing room. It’s often just a little thing that’s gives you a door into an arrangement – with Woodpile it was adding an extra beat to the ‘Georgia Line’ so that you can get more vocal impact out of it. From there it was just a case of finding a second melody line to set against the song tune (this ended up being a simple oboe riff) and then putting it all together with the band. It’s been working really well live, particular since all the airplay on Radio 2 – people really know the chorus now!


Paul Johnson interviewed Jon Boden at the Broadside Album Launch back in October. If you missed it, you can click on the player below and have a listen…

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Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
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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.

Paul Johnson interviews Jon Boden from Bellowhead at the Broadside Album Launch…

On the 17th of October, Paul Johnson caught up with Jon Boden (from Bellowhead) at the Broadside album launch party in the aptly named “Water Rats” hostelry in old London town. The interview took place just outside the toilet… We can a-shore you that its all “above board” if you get our drift.  Unfortunately however, like the transcript of the interview, our old sea-dog, Paul “Johno” Johnson appears to be sinking at the very end leaving poor old Jon Bowden desperate to bail and the folkmaster with a long weight for the interview hence the posting delay (due to a lame excuse on Johno’s part). Anyway, brace yourself ship-mates and be prepared to have your bumpkin and boomkin hosted by our very own folking frigate’s petard  One last point, Johno suggests purchasing the CD or downloading it from every vendor under the sun but fails to mention that you can simply get from the folking store via the amazon link below…

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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.