Comprising Edwin Beasant, Jon Loomes, Tom Kitching and new recruit Jude Rees, Cheshire four piece Pilgrims’ Way delivered a high energy set that delivered traditional tunes, jigs and songs with a joy de vivre that was infectious and heart warming. Already veterans of seven years of gigging, no foot was left untapped and no hand unclapped as the four musicians provided a bewildering display of musical dexterity and ability which included, by my account, more than 20 different instruments as diverse as oboe, melodeon, accordion, fiddle, mandolin, a variety of guitars, bagpipes and, just for good measure (and surely a first on the Mottram St Andrew stage), the hurdy gurdy.
A terrific addition to the roster of bands that have now played Music at Mottram, Pilgrims’ Way left many in the audience with a realisation of just how fiendishly difficult folk music is to play – and how wonderful it can be when it’s played well!
"All that way for this?" You bet! Worth every mile that every member of the audience travelled, including Germany! This was memorable from first to last, with Oysters3 proving just how stunningly good the acoustic Oysterband are, by delivering a blistering set of more than 2 hours duration. Plundering their back catalogue for classics like Molly Bond, Hal an Tow, Bury me Standing, Native Son and When I'm up I can't Get Down and bringing things right up to date with A Clowns Heart and a Mandolin, Diamonds on the Water and I Built this House for You, they proved just how exciting and emotional live music can be, especially when played with such skill and gusto. Peppering the set with anecdotes and stories about each song (and oh how we hope the Shirley Bassey story is true), they finally left us with the chorus "I leave these songs with you" echoing around the hall. Well thank you John, Ian and Alan, we are truly grateful.
Tams & Coope
What a way to finish our first year. John Tams and Barry Coope gave a memorable performance which was part history lesson, part trawl through the life and times of John and his work with the National Theatre and part musings on a rich and varied life. It was a captivating evening. From Warhorse we had “Only Remembered” and “Snowfalls”, from Song of Steel we had “Vulcan and Lucifer” and “Steelos”, from 1990s The Ship performed as part of Glasgow’s being European City of Culture we had Laying the Keel and Hold Back the Tide. Throw in a large dollop of humour with “It’s now’t to do wi me” and “Mrs Merry’s Ball”, pathos and passion with “Sorrow”, “Cider with Rosie” and “Will I See thee More” and lastly Sharpe’s Theme and John, who claimed to be the only man in the hall to have died at Waterloo, and Barry provided a wonderful nights entertainment which ended, uniquely, with a version of “Rolling Home” that saw John accompanied by pet dog Alfie. As I said at the start, what a way to finish!
Touring to promote his latest, and much revered, album 'Upcetera,' Jim stopped at Mottram early into his solo acoustic tour and delivered a cracking set that mixed the new, the old and the, as yet, unreleased.
Starting with a new song 'It Couldn't Happen Here,' Jim blended traditional songs such as 'Lord Franklin' and 'Another Man's Wedding' with his own songs such as 'the Straight Line and the Curve' and the mesmerising 'Sounds of Earth.' Effortlessly shifting between harmonium and acoustic guitar we were treated to a malevolent version of 'Long Lankin,' a rousing version of 'Babylon has Fallen,' hoary old classic and staple of any good night 'the Leaving of Liverpool' and to round off the night, from the superb First Lights album 'Salvor,' a stunning and deeply moving rendition of 'Crossing the Bar.'
A great night to bring to an end our 2017 programme of gigs. Roll on 2018!