Sherburn Bartley Sanders are, not as I explained to a number of people, either a firm of estate agents or solicitors but, three of the nicest, funniest and most talented people we have ever been fortunate enough to host at Music at Mottram.
Mixing material from their album be.guile with other covers and hoary old classics Chris Sherburn (concertina), Denny Bartley (vocals and guitar) Emily Sanders (vocals and violin) delivered a wonderful evening of music and no little humour to a hugely receptive and appreciative audience.
Opening with the Pogues classic A Rainy Night in Soho they followed it up with My Sorrow and the Sea, The Weaver (Nancy Whisky), Bright Blue Rose, Tipperary Boys, Adieu Lovely Nancy before bringing a rousing first half to a close with the Firemans Song.
After suitable refreshment the second half kicked off with William Taylor, a malevolent version of Dylan's Seven Curses, a wonderfully evocative Sammy's Bar, a rollicking Banks of Newfoundland/Rolling Waves and a stunning version of The Tinkerman's Daughter and finally Roseville Fair.
They returned to rousing and prolonged applause to play New Railroad and, sadly, that was it.
A truly fabulous evening made all the more special by being in the company of such warm, humerous, and , not least, talented individuals. Truly we were be.guiled for a magical few hours.
Gilmore and Roberts
When watching Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts it's easy to understand why they are three times nominees at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. Outstanding musicianship, humour, pathos and superbly crafted songs make for a wonderful evening of music by this tremendously talented duo.
Touring to promote 'the 10th anniversary of their third album The Innocent Left', they played the album in it's entirety
starting with a haunting Scarecrow and the unsettling Dr James. They moved on through Shuffle and Deal, the deeply moving Louis was a Boxer, Letters, the blistering instrumental 7 left for dead (renamed for the evening 'stand up bingo anticipation') before bringing the first half to an end with the classic False Night.
The second half began with Silver Screen, followed by another belting instrumental, Over Snake Pass, and then the last track on the album, the distinctly macabre, The Stealing Arm.
I Burnum Burnum, You're home and Change Your Tune brought the set to a close before they returned for a glorious acapella version of Dawes' A Little bit of Everything.
An outstanding evening of folk music, enhanced by their attention to detail, the explanation of the meaning of each song and the warmth and rapport between them.
Fabulous, a treat for all who were there.
When John Tams took to the stage at Mottram St Andrew he was playing only his third ever solo show! Quite something for someone who has been performing live for more than fifty years. He claimed to be nervous, though if he was you would never have guessed it from the wonderful, warm, passionate and deeply emotional performance he delivered.
Each and every song had a story, a history behind it, each and every one a highly personal marker in John's life and career. Opening with three of the first songs he ever learned, Freight Train, Go tell Aunt Rhody and Riding in my Car, playing them on a battered Epiphone guitar he had rescued from a skip in Hamburg in the early 1960s!
He moved on to the humour of Nowt to do with me, a beautiful rendition of Gerry Rafferty's The Coat She Wore, Who Will Blow the Candle out Tonight and Four Strong Winds, before moving to the ukulele for Health and Beauty.
The first half finished with a hugely emotional performance of Yonder Down the Winding Road, with John singing the chorus in English whilst wife Sally sang along in Ukrainian. It brought a lump to the throat and many in the audience were visibly moved.
The second half began with Amelia Where you Bound to, replete with excellent audience participation, followed by Whitby, Rosie Smiles at the Moon (dedicated to their grand daughter), The Rifles and then it was the familiar strains of Sharpe's theme before John left the stage to a standing ovation. He returned to sing a rousing and uplifting rendition of Rolling Home.
A fabulous night of music and song was capped by the fact that we raised the sum of £300 for the Red Cross and their Ukrainian appeal. Thanks to everyone who contributed via the raffle and bingo tickets. "Yonder we shall share the load, yonder down the winding road, we shall reap what we have sowed, yonder down the winding road"
Truer words never written!
Tom Kitching and Marit Fält February 2022
Tom Kitching's a man of many talents, composer, author, musician, train spotter, one of the finest folk fiddlers in the country and, occasionally, sound man at Music at Mottram. Fortunately he brought almost all of those talents to Mottram and delivered a wonderfully entertaining evening of music and readings from his two books.
Beautifully supported throughout by the stunning playing of Marit Fault on the Norwegian Mandola, he delivered a thought provoking and humorous selection of extracts from his books, interspersed with traditional and more modern fiddle tunes.
Highlights of the first half included Erpingham, from his book Busk England, and The Function Band, from his book B-Sides, Esp, and Rarities. Musically La Fantique/Infinite Expresso brought the half to a stomping close.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, a beautifully balanced mix of readings, The Quantocks, Sandaoling and Deal/Penzance, and music, The Gall Bladder Mazurka/The Lady Murray's Delight, Swedish Waltz/Spiral Naked and a rousing encore of the Cobblers Hornpipe.
Truly Tom is a man of many talents and he demonstrated them all in delivering a superbly entertaing evening that really will live long in the memory of those fortunate enough to be there.
Tom's readings were taken from his two excellent books: Seasons of Change. Tom Kitching Busks England
and B-sides EPs, and rarities. Tom Kitching, A Musician's Travels.