Monthly Archives: April 2016

Moore, Moss, Rutter at Cecil Sharp House 13/4/16

BBC Young Folk Award winners each year are given a slot at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy festival, and I really enjoyed this trio at Cropredy back in 2011, the year they won their award. But I must confess they’d completely fallen off my radar and it was only seeing a magazine article about them recently that I was prompted to check out their forthcoming schedule and discovered they were due to play Camden’s Cecil Sharp House. So here we are!

Moore, Moss and Rutter are Tom Moore on violin, Archie Churchill Moss on melodeon and Jack Rutter on guitar and vocals. Although forming in 2009 it turns out the trio all continued to live in different parts of the country, and with university degrees to start and complete it as well as other musical collaborations it meant that gigging was sometimes sporadic rather than constant. But now they are on to their second album (the prog-ishly titled II) and we get to hear a number of songs and tunes from that tonight. In a varied set they deliver a few well-chosen traditional songs. But it’s perhaps the tunes where they really, really excel – with stunning interplay between violin, guitar and melodeon. Amazing sounds, of course, but seeing the interaction between the the three as they work a tune from one to the other really makes them worth seeing live.

They do a nice version of the traditional tune Portsmouth – the one given an added burst of fame by Mike Oldfield in the 70s when he had a hit with it. And of the self-penned material, Moss’s tune-set Six Weeks/Early Thursday is a definite highlight. Having spent the past 15 years living in Brockley south-east London, perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening for me is when they announce that one of the next tunes they are going to play is called Lewisham Way, the long main road at the end of our road in SE4. It’s an esteemed street, steeped in creativity, with Goldsmiths College at one end and the music hall singer, Marie Lloyd, being one notable former resident. So it only seems right that it should get its very own folk tune. Written by Moore and coupled with a hornpipe by Henry Purcell it can be found here.

The three go down really, really well tonight and their latest album is well worth a listen. I picked up a copy and Moore, Moss, Rutter are now firmly back on my radar.

http://www.mooremossrutter.co.uk/mmr/Home.html

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Mick Bolton and Simon Shaw at Gecko, St. Leonards 10/4/16

One of the absolute joys about life in Hastings and St Leonard’s, and a key motivation for relocating here in the first place, is the proliferation of live music venues. There’s an extremely satisfying number of good-sized venues, like The White Rock Theatre, St Mary In The Castle, The Stables Theatre, The Kino Teatre and the nearby Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion. But it’s not just the larger theatre-style venues, live music in pubs and bars throughout the town appears to be as much part of pub life as pints of lager and bags of crisps. So my first actual gig as a bona fide, council-tax paying Hastings resident, as opposed to visiting music tourist, is to see Mick Bolton and Simon Shaw play an early Sunday evening set in the Gecko cafe bar around the corner from me on St Leonard’s seafront.

I’d seen keyboard player, Mick Bolton, who toured as part of Mott The Hoople in the early 70s, at a handful of Mott The Hoople-related events over the years but until tonight I’d never actually seen him perform live. He’s joined by Simon Shaw and Bolton’s pounding honky tonk style-piano and Shaw’s acoustic blues/Americana guitar make for a really nice combination. They give their own treatment to a number of well-known covers, including songs by Georgie Fame, The Beatles, The Band, Thunderclap Newman, Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry. A good few of Bolton’s self-penned originals are thrown in, too, performed in a similar style (mainly) with a couple of slower numbers thrown in towards the end.

So for a couple of hours around thirty-odd of us are entertained for free in this pleasant little seafront cafe bar by two talented musicians who are clearly enjoying playing for us. My first gig as a Hastings local, but certainly not my last, and several more are lined up already.

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Luke Jackson and Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar at Cecil Sharp House 6/4/16

While I certainly know the output of Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar pretty well these days I was not familiar with Luke Jackson’s work at all. Jackson walks on to the stage and rich, bluesy, distinctive vocals immediately fill the room. With some dexterous guitar playing he gives a rootsy, acoustic blues feel to the contemporary singer-songwriter genre and is an immediate hit with the Cecil Sharp audience.

His often highly personal songs cover a range of topics on the trials and tribulations of modern life, from popping pills, drinking and fighting in Ain’t No Trouble, to the desperation of young suicide in the hauntingly beautiful That’s All Folks. Jackson is a prolific songwriter with three CDs of his material released already. A number of tonight’s songs are available on his excellent and highly listenable mini-album: This Family Tree. (Details here)

Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar then join Jackson on stage to provide lovely added harmonies on his final song. And after a short interval Russell and Algar return, sans Jackson, and we move from contemporary singer-songwriter to traditional folk duo. Winning the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2013 (the same year Luke Jackson was a runner-up, incidentally, and how they first met) the duo appeared to arrive fully formed with an incredible degree of musical maturity at an impossibly young age. But they’ve continued to go from strength to strength and are now on to their third album. Russell’s rich and expressive voice simply oozes with character and passion while Algar’s fiddle-playing, always delivered with exquisite perfection, veers from the wildly energetic to the beautifully sensitive.

They are touring in support of their new album The Silent Majority, released just last month, and we get to hear a number of songs from that tonight including the title track itself, a cover of the Lionel McClelland song which serves as a warning of the tragedies that unfold when “the silent majority stays silent”. Another highlight is George, a great Glasgow-based drinking song, as well as a beautiful version of Rolling Down The Ryburn. It’s not just about the new album though and we also get some well-chosen favourites from their first two albums including The Queen’s Lover, written when a 17 year-old Russell was studying for his history AS level, and Away From The Pits, written by Ciaran Algar’s father, Chris, a homage to his native Stoke On Trent.

Luke Jackson, who was joined by Russell and Algar for the final song of his set, returns the favour and comes back on to accompany the duo for their last song: three talented musicians, two very different acts but one highly entertaining evening. Another very successful night for Cecil Sharp House.

http://lukepauljackson.com/
http://www.russellalgar.co.uk/

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Related reviews:
Greg & Ciaran at Green Note
Greg Russell & Rex Preston