Chesterfield Folk Club (Steve Hicks and Lynn Goulbourn doing support for Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman). Review in Derbyshire Times.
Once in a while a night comes along that oozes so much quality that you wish all nights were like this. Fortunately, a large crowd chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a feast of acoustic music.
The support act was so good that Chesterfield Folk Club immediately began thinking when to bring them back as a headline act. Steve Hicks’ fabulous and varied guitar-playing and Lynn Goulbourn’s accompanying guitar and superb vocals got the evening off to a fine start.
We were treated to virtuoso instrumentals and driving traditional English and American tunes. A nod to the date saw My Funny Valentine and Dinner For Two on the list before Steve concluded the night with Stairway To Mozart where we had both modern and classical music injected with rag. Vastly proficient, unassuming and engaging, theirs was a performance to treasure.
Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman lived up to their billing as winners of the best duo in the national folk awards in 2012. They gave two varied sets with Kathryn’s remarkable voice backed by guitar, piano, clarinet and flute.
The song selection was at once traditional with those driving rhythms that fans of Sean’s brother Seth Lakeman will know and contemporary with Kathryn’s piano-based ballads.
It would be hard to choose a favourite from the evening depending on your preferences. The bluesy and rock-influenced approach to Childe Owlet or Whitby Maid contrasted well with the gentle Soft The Morning Sun and the charming 52hz about the lonely whale.
A Valentine’s night to remember and Pete Abbott and Gregor Borland to look forward to at Club Chesterfield on March 14.
The Rag Trade Steve Hicks
“This is a great CD. If you are at all interested in fingerstyle guitar (Bert Jansch, Davey Graham, Duck Baker) then this is right up there with the best. Flawlessly executed, beautifully played and with a real joie de vivre it really ranks with the best. Most pieces are adaptations of rag time pieces (The arrangements are excellent) with a couple of more modern pieces e.g. a Sonny Rollins tune. Standouts for me are the Temptation Rag, That’s a Plenty and the 40 ton parachute (better than Graham’s version). In any case Hicks plays assuredly at all tempos and the result it pure listening pleasure. If you don’t normally listen to solo guitar, try this anyway. It’s technically brilliant but you won’t notice as it’s also wonderfully musical and bounces along infectiously. Highly recommended.”
Review on Amazon by Lobster Pot (UK) Feb 2013 of
Steve Hicks CD ‘The Rag Trade’
Label: Acoustic Music
Release date: 4th Nov 2009
FATEA review of ‘Owl Cafe’ (Dec 2012)
I was favourably taken with this duo’s eponymous (well, nearly) CD which I initially came across around 18 months ago, and the chance to hear its followup was eagerly grasped. I’m not being in the least uncharitable in saying this, but it would seem that things haven’t changed much – musically at any rate – for Steve Hicks and Lynn Goulbourn since that debut disc, for, as I observed at that time, they exhibit a fantastic degree of expertise across a wide field.
One important difference between their first record and Owl Café is that for this new offering they are entirely alone in the studio, with only one track (a robustly imagined take on Wayfaring Stranger) employing any overdubbing at all (Steve’s mandolin); for the rest, it’s just one voice, almost always Lynn’s (with a vocal harmony part on two tracks) and one guitar (or two guitars on a couple of tracks) – honing in with complete accuracy and honesty on the pure acoustic sound that is the trademark of their always-impressive live performances. The spread of material on the new disc is also still pretty much representative of the duo’s live repertoire, which may at first glance seem mildly capricious but where an audience can reasonably expect the unexpected – and be highly satisfied with the result in virtually every case, or at very least not be disappointed. The principal difference between the couple’s debut disc and Owl Café in terms of repertoire is that the latter delivers no fewer than seven of Lynn’s self-penned songs, of which more detail below.
Refreshingly too, there’s never a feeling that Steve and Lynn are trying too hard to make an impression, for theirs is an easy rolling virtuosity, with individual strong points well catered for in their capable arrangements. Steve’s fingerstyle guitar work is brilliant, immensely assured and versatile yet driven by a sensitivity that’s matched by fun in execution rather than a desire to show off at all costs; and he made all his own guitars too! Lynn’s equally assured and ever-stylish vocal technique can handle almost any kind of song, from blues and spirituals to traditional numbers and her own compositions. The finest of the examples of the latter on this disc is undoubtedly Gone Are The Cobles, which deals poignantly with the demise of the fishing industry off the Northumberland coast; aside from Harry Ridley (paying homage to Lynn’s former art teacher) and Stranger On A Bus, the remainder of Lynn’s songs have an altogether lighter feel, upbeat or positive in tone with settings ranging from soft jazz to genial ragtime.
This time round, and perhaps surprisingly so in view of Steve’s accomplished playing, the menu only serves up two brief instrumental items. But the total effect of Owl Café is that of a warmly welcoming, pleasing disc of adept and truthful music-making.
Last Monday we were treated to the wonderful Hicks and Goulbourn! They delivered two wonderful sets of songs and the encore was sublime! Quite a few people said that the guitar work was they best of any they’d ever heard at the club. If you run a club and get the chance – book them!!
Skipton Folk Club
Had a great duo at the club on Tuesday 15th May – Steve Hicks & Lynn Goulbourn. Many said it was the best night ever at Cramlington (and there have been quite a number of good ones). Steve is probably the best guiatarist we have had and he’s no mean singer either. Lynn has a fantastic voice and some great songs. Their material is varied and they leave you with a great good feeling. Cramlington Folk Club
- hi lynn just to say thanks for the show at plug n play i just happend to go and was absolutley blown away by you and steve hicks performance i was in tears on the the eurythmics song you covered (in a good way i loved it!) it is quite refreshing to hear a virtuoso player put his ego on the back burner for the good of the song you have a beautiful voice that complements the guitars wonderfully ; please come back in the near future cheers bonny lass paul Plug and Play
Cool, Exciting and Fun!
Cambridge Folk Club
We look forward to you coming again, I did have to leave early, but just caught your performance, it was brilliant.
Cambridge Folk Club
Hicks & Goulbourn were brilliant at Cambridge Folk Club last Friday, and what a pleasure it was to meet them. Hope they come back soon!
Cambridge Folk Club
An incredibly versatile and talented duo!
Tump Folk Club
Fantastic finale to the end of the season. Excellent open mic with lots of new talent topped by the superb Lynn Goulbourn and Steve Hicks.
Plug and Play , Penrith
I’ve found a new vocal idol after last night! Thank you, you amazing woman!
Plug and Play , Penrith
Great evenings entertainment, listening to music I wouldn’t normally go and see. Steve ‘liquid fingers’ Hicks guitar playing was astounding!
Plug and Play , Penrith
Your performance was superb, you ‘smashed it’! Such fluidity of singing teamed with Steve’s awesome guitar… Excellent.
Maddy Prior, Stepping Stones Festival
I have to say Lynn, you and Steve blew me away with your performance, you sound amazing.
Sue Devine, Red Ruff
It was my great privilege to be at Belper to hear Steve and Lynn. I have been listening to Steve for nearly 30 years and never tire of his playing. If I was on a desert island I would have to take all my Steve Hicks and Steve/Lynn recordings. If you haven’t heard them together do listen to some of the You Tube recordings but more importantly do go and see them live and be blown away by the beauty of Lynn’s voice and Steve’s awesome talent on guitar. Review from Belper Folk Club
What a brilliant evening last night! We had an absolutely packed Pavilion room for the first Guest Night of 2011, with 60+ people keen to see Steve Hicks & Lynn Goulbourn. Steve is an amazing guitarist and Lynn is a very accomplished performer too, with a voice that compliments Steve’s brilliant playing. I cannot recall having members of the audience dancing in the isles at the club, but that certainly happened last night! It was as if everyone wanted the evening to never end . . . if you weren’t there, make the effort to see this duo if you get the chance in the future. You won’t regret it!
Dave Downs Bingham Folk Club
“Lynn’s range seems to go from down and bluesy to soaring like an angel, I’ve seen her sing on many occasions and every time there is something new to find in her voice. Steve is a guy that guitarists sit up, shut up and listen to, his finger style is nothing short of incredible.”
Bob Spencer Great Knights Acoustic
”It seems there is nothing Steve Hicks cannot do with a guitar. He can play everything from Medieval music or traditional Irish dance tunes to classic ragtime and blues tunes. He can arrange, accompany and make even the most challenging transcriptions sound like they were made to be played on the guitar. He can even build the dammed things! But what I like best is the personality that always comes through in his playing. It’s a pleasure to present the music of Steve Hicks, the best kept guitar secret in Britain”.
‘Steve Hicks is the secret jewel of British guitar playing’.
”Steve Hicks is a leading exponent of fingerstyle guitar. Drawing on an astonishing repertoire that encompasses Classical, Celtic, Ragtime, Blues and Folk styles. He delivers material with technical skill, astute artistic integrity and a natural sense of what it means to entertain”.
West Sussex County Times