Cramlington, Stepping Stones Festival, Camden, Grays, Stones Barn and all points in between …


So much to catch up on – there’s been a whirlwind of activity in the Hicks and Goulbourn camp – seems like we haven’t stopped since the end of January and we’ve been having such a good time!

Cramlington Folk Club – we LOVE to play there and it feels like returning home – check out the review from them on our ‘Reviews and Quotes’ page.  So many good friends and always lots of catching up to do.  We enjoyed the new venue at Concordia Leisure Centre and were very tempted to have a dip in the pool.  The knitters were there in full force as usual with Keith Taylor being his lovely cuddly self, great support acts and Dave did a brilliant job on sound.  Jelly Babies all round and next time, (I hope there will be a next time), I’ll endeavor to contribute some home made Welsh Cakes for the delight and delectation of the assembled masses.

Steve and I then had a few days up in Northumberland and dropped in to watch GU4 at South Shields Folk Club followed by singers nights at The Tanner’s Arms in Berwick and The Blenheim in Spittal near Berwick – all great nights and we met lots of new people.

Next stop a return to Stepping Stones, a great little festival at Brampton in Cumbria, the brainchild of Maddy Prior.  This was a very busy weekend for us with two concerts and Steve running a guitar playing workshop.  All were well received and we certainly enjoyed playing.  We particularly enjoyed our slot on main stage on Saturday afternoon and the quality of the sound engineering was to die for – I know I go rattling on about sound  but it is such a pleasure to perform when everything that’s beyond our control is so professionally catered for, as it were.  A couple of highlights for me were seeing Maddy singing again with her daughter Rose Kemp and the very lovely Abbie Lathe.  Such talent.  Another huge talent which emerged were my friends ‘Red Ruff‘, comprised of Sue Devine, Jen Aitken and Nansy Ferrett.  Great, distinctly unique, self-penned a capella songs, visually captivating and loads of fun.  Ones to watch methinks ..

After a couple of days back at base to regenerate we travelled down to Camden Lock, London to play at The Lockside Lounge.  Great place and mega thanks to James for setting this up.  Never been to Camden before but it’s certainly a ‘buzzy’, cosmopolitan place and I’d love to explore it more.  The Lockside Lounge is a huge supporter of live music and there was a great, young crowd there – we drew on our blues, jazz, ragtime and pop repertoire for this gig and the place was rocking with everybody singing and joining in.  Great vibe.

We took the opportunity of having a couple of ‘gigless’ days while staying in Chelmsford to visit some local sessions in Essex and enjoyed very entertaining evenings at Loughton Folk Club and The Green Man at Toot Hill.  It was an unexpected pleasure to meet up with some people from  the FaB Club, Grays and Romford Folk Club.

On Sunday afternoon the aforementioned Folk and Blues (FaB) Club at Grays beckoned and we played to a very full room with a great atmosphere – huge thanks to the organisers, Elizabeth, Joe and Sarah.  Huge thanks also to everybody that came, from far and wide to see us perform.  We’re very appreciative of your support.  Steve and I stayed and chatted for ages afterwards, lots of boys and guitars talk followed by a bit of a bluesy jam session with a very useful guitarist, James Cordon who we’d met at Camden.  In the evening we wandered over to Walthamstow Folk Club and spent a very pleasant evening being entertained by Bob Fox.  We did a couple of songs as a floor spot, which went down very well with the audience and Bob Fox was very complementary about my self-penned song about the demise of the fishing industry in Northumberland entitled ‘Gone are the Cobles‘.  I was dead chuffed!

Last weekend Steve teamed up with Rick Kemp and Maddy Prior at Stones Barn in Cumbria to teach a course about accompanying song and by all accounts it was a great success.  Well, what can you say, an opportunity for the lad to both work and play with these two icons of the Folk Music world ….  three great talents indeed!