Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 30th December

The final show of the year will be going out on Acoustic Spectrum radio on Monday the 30th December at 9pm. If the player on the AS web site still isn't working then go to as their homepage is linked to Acoustic Spectrum and it should start playing as soon as you load the page.

No new stuff on this show with at least a few tracks which you should recognise...

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine
The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Show of Hands - Stop Copying Me
Natalie Merchant - Space Oddity
Hot Club of Cowtown - Stay A Little Longer
Cadbury Sisters - Barefoot
Al Bowlly - Over The Rainbow
Richard Thompson & Danny Thompson - Al Bowlly's In Heaven
Ruth Moody - Dancing In The Dark
Billy Bragg - Waiting For The Great Leap Forward
The Be Good Tanyas - House of the Rising Sun
Runrig - Dance Called America
Fairport Convention - Meet On The Ledge

Wishing you all a Happy Hogmanay and all the best for 2014.

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Friday, 20 December 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Xmas Special

Apologies if you were unable to hear this Monday's show on Acoustic Spectrum. They were one of a number of internet radio stations that were affected by a Denial-of-service attack. While they thought things were back to normal by Monday evening I, and presumably others, was unable to hear the show using the default media player on the AS web site. Seemingly other media players were unaffected. So if you were unable to listen to that show it is available on Mixcloud as is this coming Monday's Xmas Special.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
The Carrivick Sisters - Santa Claus is Coming To Town
The High Bar Gang - Angel Band
Simon & Garfunkel - Seven O'Clock News \ Silent Night
Tom Mitchell - Fairytale of New York
Jack Johnson - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
John Otway - Middle of Winter
John Shuttleworth - The Christmas Orphan
The Low Countries - Carry On Christmas
Heather Bristow - Passport of Heaven
Hank Snow - The Reindeer Boogie
James J Turner - Come With Me
Long Lost Band - Twelfth Knight (King Of December)
Heidi Talbot - When They Ring The Golden Bells
Oysterband - Shouting About Jerusalem
Mud - Lonely This Christmas

Wishing you all a very Happy Winter Solstice, a Merry Christmas, a Jolly Hogmanay and a Music-filled New Year!

Colin Bertram

Monday, 16 December 2013

Recommended Albums of 2013

It's that time of the year again when I look back through all the new releases I've been sent and I can honestly say that 2013 has been a good year with some excellent releases from both sides of the Atlantic. I could rename my show to the Scottish Folk and Americana Music Show as that more accurately reflects the balance of music I've been playing over the last 12 months and special thanks go to promoters Bob Buchan, Martin Hadden and Geraint Jones who have sent me the bulk of what I have featured on the show this year. Thanks also to all the other promoters and artists who have also posted albums to me or emailed me mp3s and to Neil King and everyone at Acoustic Spectrum.

These two lists are in purely alphabetical order but if you were to push me I'd probably say 'Lay Your Dark Low' by Salt House and 'Little Boat' by Rita Hosking are my two favourite albums of the year. Or possibly The Chair and Birds of Chicago!

UK\Europe Top 15

Paul Anderson - Land of the Standing Stones
Barrule - Music from the Isle of Man
Battlefield Band - Room Enough For All
The Chair - The Road to Hammer Junkie
Djonne & Borsheim - Toras Dans
Judy Dyble - Flow and Change
Tom Houston - Open The Skylights
The Low Countries - The Invisible Ray
Salt House - Lay Your Dark Low
Phil McLellan Smillie - Sound of Taransay
Calum Stewart & Heikki Bourgault - Hunter's Moon
Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - Sing A Full Song
Richard Thompson - Electric
Matt Woosey Band - On The Waggon

USA\Canadian Top 15

The Abramson Singers - Late Riser
Sam Baker - Say Grace
Birds of Chicago - Birds of Chicago
Slaid Cleaves - Still Fighting the War
Stephen Fearing - Between Hurricanes
Ashleigh Flynn - A Million Stars
Melissa Greener - Transistor Corazon
The High Bar Gang - Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion
Rita Hosking - Little Boat
Phil Lee - The Mighty King of Love
Rebecca Pronsky - Only Daughter
Rose's Pawn Shop - Dancing on the Gallows
J Shogren + Shanghai'd - God Bless These Crooked Little Songs
The Tillers - Hand on the Plow
Woody Pines - Rabbit's Motel

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Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 16th December

Tune in tonight at 9pm to hear the following. This week's featured album is Hunter's Moon by Calum Stewart & Heikke Bourgault.

Barrule - Europop Vona
Calum Stewart & Heikke Bourgault - L'Heure Avant L'Aube
Bella Hardy - The Derbyshire Miller
Birds of Chicago - Trampoline
Coreen Scott - Songbird
Seth Lakeman - The Bold Knight
Kim Lowings & the Greenwood - Annie Laurie
Rose's Pawn Shop - Dancing on the Gallows
Melisser Greener - If I Fell
The Low Countries - The Invisible Ray
Judy Dyble - Head Full of Stars
Michael Chapman - Which Will
Calum Stewart & Heikke Bourgault - Another Winter
Kathryn Tickell - The Lads

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Monday, 9 December 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 9th December

There isn't a featured album on the show tonight but as it's my wife Sam's birthday today I've included some of her favourite singers. Tune in at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio to hear the following...

Steve Knightley - Raining Again
Roger Wilson - Sick of the Working Life
Joni Mitchell - I Don't Know Where I Stand
June Tabor - The Oggie Man
Iain MacDonald - John O'Groats
Kelly Oliver - Far From Home
Kris Drever - Steel and Stone (Black Water)
Natalie Merchant - After The Gold Rush
Neil Young - Through My Sails
Pauline Alexander - Fields of Gold
Phil Lee - I Like Everything
Martin Stephenson - You Really Had A Heart
Kate Bush - Hello Earth
The Existence of Harvey Lord - C U at 7

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Monday, 2 December 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show 2nd Dec \ Mikie Jacobs

On Thursday morning I sat looking at a folder named '2 December' and it had just one song in it - Rita Hosking's "Nothing Left Of Me". Normally I have my playlist just about finalised by that time but not last week. I had been otherwise occupied, filling in a job application form among other things, so I sat and wondered what I was going to include in this Monday's show.

Then I remembered some news I'd seen on Facebook - the singer of Edinburgh punk band Gin Goblins, Mikie Jacobs, had been found dead in the city's Holyrood Park. He had taken his own life and was the same age as me, 49. I never knew the guy, never saw the Goblins play live but I have been in occasional contact with the band's guitarist, Dave, for a number of years. So I started looking for songs that reflected how I felt about Mikie's death.

Song titles seemed to jump out at me as I moved from folder to folder on my PC and soon I had about a dozen tracks. I don't suppose Mikie listened to much folk music* but maybe he would have liked the Bad Shepherd's cover of The Clash's "London Calling" and the Dick Gaughan cover of Brian McNeill's "No Gods" might have brought a smile to his face. I recorded the show on Thursday, checked it over on Friday and uploaded it to Acoustic Spectrum that same day.

Then on Saturday morning I awoke to the terrible news from Glasgow that a police helicopter had crashed in to a busy pub the night before. Eight people died and many were injured. So this show goes out to all of them and to Mikie.


* In a message from Dave he tells me that Mikie did like folk music and suggested I check out his other band, The Pink Dogs...

Tonight's playlist...

Drever McCusker Woomble - Into The Blue
The High Bar Gang - All My Tears
Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - Do Not Surrender
Daimh - Stormy Hill
Rita Hosking - Nothing Left Of Me
Karan Casey - Black Is The Colour
Dick Gaughan - No Gods and Precious Few Heroes
Lisa Richards - Painful Game
Paul Anderson - Farewell to St Kilda
Hayseed Dixie - Back in Black
The Bad Shepherds - London Calling
The High Bar Gang - Mother's Only Sleeping
Nancy Kerr & James Fagin - Sweet Peace
Duncan Wood - Close of the Day \ Nancy Gwendoline

The featured album is 'Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion' by The High Bar Gang released 2nd December.

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Monday, 25 November 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 25th November

Some harp music on the show tonight with the featured album being Hook by Macmaster Hay. Tune in at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum Radio

Corrina Hewat - Berserk Nana
Tim O'Brien - Father of Light
Macmaster Hay - Shipbuilding
Chumbawumba - Dance Idiot Dance
Sam Baker - The Tattooed Woman
Rowan Ross - Eleanor Ross
J Shogren & Shanghai'd - Rolls Her Own
Heather Bristow - Raggedy Man
Rachel Hair - Marie's Tune
Raphael Rudd - Kitty's Theme
Bob Dylan - Maggie's Farm
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - This Eye
Macmaster Hay - Breton

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Monday, 18 November 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 18th November

Coming up on the show tonight at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio...

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
Rowan Ross - Nursing Home
Cara Dillon - She's Like The Swallow
Cat Stevens - Moonshadow
Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola - Loch Leven Castle
The Abramson Singers - Drowning Man
Woody Pines - Who Told Ya
Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson - Hawk
First Aid Kit - I Found A Way
David Crosby - Traction in the Rain
Fairport Convention - She Moved Through The Fair
Timm Grimm - Blame It On The Dog
Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag - Liz Carroll's

You can follow some of them on Twitter...

@FirstAidKitBand @CaraDillonSings @abramsonsingers @woodypines
@RossandJarlath @thedavidcrosby

The featured album is 'The Lion's Roar' by First Aid Kit and Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola's self-titled album is released on the 22nd November.

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Monday, 11 November 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 11th November

A mixture of music from both sides of the pond coming your way at 9pm this evening on Acoustic Spectrum radio. There's a Sandy Denny cover by Bryony Holden, a Velvet Underground cover by Annabelle Chvostek Ensemble and a song about going on a drinking spree in Glasgow by Daimh.

Richard Thompson & Danny Thompson - I Feel So Good
Ashleigh Flynn - Dirty Hands and Dirty Feet
Daimh - Hiu Ra Bho Nuair A Chaidh Mi A Ghlaschu
Bryony Holden - Banks of the Nile
Annabelle Chvostek Ensemble - Some Kinda Love
John Martyn - Sandy Grey
Rebecca Pronsky - Please Forget Me
Scott Cook - Pass It Along
Salt House - She Walks in Beauty
Ashleigh Flynn - See That Light
Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Solvola - Outlaws Don't Dance Waltzes
Simon & Garfunkle - Rose of Aberdeen
Paul Anderson - Sunset Song

This week's featured album is 'A Million Stars' by Ashleigh Flynn. It is released today as is 'Lay Your Dark Low' by Salt House.

Sarah-Jane Summers and Juhani Silvola are playing some dates to promote their new self-titled album including Friday 29th November at the Gregson Olive Bar in Lancaster. Sarah-Jane is hosting a workshop there in the afternoon. For full tour dates see

You can following some of the above on Twitter on these usernames:

@AnnabelleMusic @rebeccapronsky @SaltHouseMusic @DaimhMusic @Summersfiddle

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Monday, 4 November 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 4th November

Coming up on tonight's show at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio...

The Tillers - The Road Neverending
Gilmore & Roberts - Doctor James
The Carrivick Sisters - Song of the Night
Kim Guy - Perfect Day
Session A9 - Dig A Little Well For Zoe
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - Once I Had A Sweetheart
Bella Hardy - The Drunken Butcher of Tideswell
Roddy Frame - Big Ben
Mary Dillon - Army Dreamers
Tom Mitchell - Michael's Garden
The Tillers - I Gotta Move
Martha Wainwright - These Flowers
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Wooden Ships

This week's featured album is 'Hand on the Plough' by The Tillers which has been released today, the 4th of November.

Gilmore & Roberts have just released 'Doctor James' as a download single on iTunes. They play the Borderline in London on 21 November on a triple bill with Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin and The Carrivick Sisters.

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Monday, 28 October 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Hallowe'en Show 28th October

Coming up on the show tonight...

Show of Hands - Haunt You
Cam Penner - Ghost Car
Cara Dillon - October Winds
James J Turner - Spirit and Soul and a Handful of Mud
Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson - Anyone
Fairport Convention - The Lady Vanishes
Waterson Carthy - The Devil and The Farmer
Melissa Greener - Ghost in the Van
Up in the Air - The Witch of Findrack
June Tabor - Lay This Body Down
Kathryn Tickell - Yeavering
Parliament - The Silent Boatman
Kate Bush - Hammer Horror

Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson's new album Air-Fix is released on 28th October.

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Monday, 21 October 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 21st October

Tonight's playlist. Next week's show will be a Halloween special with songs about ghosts, witches and the devil. 

Stephen Fearing - As The Crow Flies
Breabach - Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Duilich
Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies - The Ex-Pitman's Pot-Holing Pub Quiz Team
Sarah McQuaid - So Much Rain
Shessham & Lotus & Son - Sister Maud Mule
Slaid Cleaves - God's Own Yodeler
First Aid Kit - Blue
Stephen Hudson - Cathy's Kid is the Newsreader
Linda Thompson - Never The Bride
The Tillers - Shanty Boat
John Rigby - Mirror Man
Breabach - Monday Night at Riccardo's
Rose's Pawn Shop - One Last Glass of Whiskey

The featured album is Urlar by Breabach which is released today, the 21st October.

Listen to the show at

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Monday, 14 October 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 14th October

Tonight's playlist...

Kris Drever, Eamonn Coyne and Megan Henderson - Shady Grove
Salt House - Open Water
The Deadly Winters - Lady Fayre
Christa Couture - Pirate Jenny and The Storm
Richard & Linda Thompson - The Little Beggar Girl
Chris & Kellie While - Persuasion
Heidi Talbot - Will I Ever Get To Sleep
Steeleye Span - Two Constant Lovers
Ian McNabb - Smirtin'
Patti Smith - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Salt House - She's Like The Swallow
Barrule - Langness

Featured album is 'Lay Your Dark Low' by Salt House to be released on Nov 11.

Gigs n' tours...

Christa Couture announces UK dates in support of her latest album The Living Record. The tour starts on Wednesday 30th October at The Bedford, Balham, London and continues in November with dates at Bristol, Beverley & Leeds. 

Ian McNabb Live & Solo at The Yorkshire House, Lancaster
Saturday 19th October
support from The Long Lost Band

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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pale Fragments book review

My friend Paul Walmsley has published an eBook which goes by the title of Pale Fragments. As my own writing has ground to a halt I thought I'd have a go at writing a review of his book. It is available to buy on Amazon with the paperback edition coming out next year. 

A gripping and at times disturbing story

There are times in Pale Fragments when it is difficult to tell whether the main character, Mike Bracken, is in the present, whether he is dreaming or having a near death experience. This is why I found it to be such a page turner - you never know what lurks around the next corner with seemingly minor characters suddenly becoming vital to Mike's very survival. The story itself revolves around demands for a sum of money which arrive without actually telling Mike why he owes the money or to whom.

After an introductory section giving us some background we find Mike recuperating at home, following an assault by a patient at the hospital he works at. Just at the point where he is starting to get back to some sort of normality he is harassed by an officious postman, who seems to be able to deliver mail and then disappear into thin air. The postie is followed by three debt collectors who could have stepped out of a Coen Brothers film and who take far too much enjoyment out of battering the hapless medic. You really do feel both his physical pain and mental anguish as he tries to figure out what on earth is going on.

Taking a job at a filling station to try and raise the cash, he meets further seedy and seductive characters but events take an alarming turn when he finds himself hospitalised after an accident. The final part of the story moves at a rip roaring pace and you are left almost as out of breath as our hero is after a ride in a taxi which appears to be able to move at the speed of a racing car.

The one disadvantage of reading this book on a e-reader is that I found I occasionally wanted to skip back and remind myself what had happened earlier in the story. This is where the humble paperback wins hands down. Fortunately Pale Fragments is coming out in hard copy next year.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 7th October

I'm back doing my show again after having been away from Lancaster for most of August and September. I've received a few albums over the last few weeks, mainly by American and Canadian artists including Stephen Fearing's latest release 'Between Hurricanes' which is my featured album.

The Chair - The Road To Hammer Junkie
Stephen Fearing - These Golden Days
The Low Countries - Low Country
April Verch - No Other Would Do
Hugh Cornwell - Golden Brown
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant - Please Read The Letter
Peter Nardini - Bum
VAMM - The Ostrich
Kenny Young & The Eggplants - Alien Love Song
Stephen Fearing - Don't You Wish Your Bread Was Dough
Emily Smith - Somewhere Along The Road
Elephant Revival - Ancient Sea
Phil MacLennan Smillie - Reel for Ruairidh

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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Return of the radio show and a new writing project

It's been a while since I posted anything on here and so not surprisingly my my viewing figures have been flatlining in recently weeks. The reason for my absence, in case you haven't seen my postings elsewhere, is that I have been in Edinburgh helping my aging parents one of whom has spent most of the year in hospital. After going in for a fairly routine back operation he picked up all sorts of horrific infections and his immune system even turned in on itself. The sort of sequence of events you wouldn't wish on your enemies but my dad is a stubborn old chap and he sent the Grim Reaper packing on a couple of occasions.

So he's now home and recovering remarkably well. My mental health took a fair beating over that period and culminated in something of a breakdown a week past Friday. But with the help of my loving wife (and a very good therapist) I am now returned to Lancaster and trying to get back to some sort of normality.

A few days ago I got an idea for a short story. Perhaps not even that, just a piece of writing of 1500 words or so and so I sat and started typing. Since then I have been sitting down at my trusty, if at times rather slow, Black Box PC pretty much every morning and the words have been flowing. But this is not a follow-up to my concert memories book. Far from it. This is fiction though it is based in and around Lancaster. 

The hero of the story (or perhaps victim would be more appropriate) finds himself being drawn towards a pretty young student and a charming young man but on each occasion things so badly wrong. He has hallucinations, finds himself facing up to feelings not explored since adolescence and at one point fears he has been kidnapped. Who are these mysterious people? He feels his world is slowly falling apart and some sort of mental breakdown is just around the corner. <cue dramatic music>

So that's the story so far. This is my first attempt at writing fiction and it's an interesting experience. I'm sure every author has their own way of writing. Some will doubtless spend long periods planning, researching and developing their characters before they even think about putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as is more likely these days. But I'm just writing as the ideas pop into my head. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

Now then, what about the Folk and Acoustic Music Show I hear you ask? Well I intend to start recording my shows again this week with my return to Acoustic Spectrum having been penciled in for the first Monday in October. While away I was still listening to some acoustic music, mainly as my Americana man, Mr Jones, continued to Dropbox me albums and I was able to download them onto my dad's laptop. At one point I was thinking, do I really want to carry on doing this? Maybe I should make some changes, include some older stuff, more acoustic rock, etc etc. Well, we'll see how it goes. It is very rare to get feedback from the punters who tune in to music shows on the radio, even in this day and age of tweeting, Facebooking and so on. So all I can do is assume that my listeners are happy with the mix of mainly North American and British artists I feature and carry on regardless.

So here's to more writing and more music.



Monday, 26 August 2013

Kenny Young and the Eggplants gig review

Acoustic Music Centre @ St Brides, Edinburgh
25 August 2013

It is almost 15 years to the day since I last saw Kenny Young and the Eggplants play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. On that occasion they were appearing at The Famous Spiegeltent which was situated on top of the Waverley shopping centre at the east end of Princes Street. I had seen them once before at a venue near the university which I seem to remember was a late night affair with a fairly small number of people in the audience. The Spiegeltent gig, however, was earlier in the day and they attracted a good crowd. At the end of that show Kenny stood by the exit to thank us all individually for coming and we were each offered a free Eggplants badge. But that’s the kind of band they are – they care about their fans.

Fast forward to August 2013 and the guys are booked to play four nights at the Acoustic Music Centre at St Brides. I get a ticket for the final night. The band are introduced by a St Brides’
staff member and they appear from behind a curtain at the rear of the Back Room, it being the smaller of the two rooms at the venue. The first thing I notice, not surprisingly, is that they’re looking older. Sadly not even living in the Eggplants’ alternative universe can save them from the passing of time. Kenny also looks different – is it his hair? Looks a bit darker than I remember but then I realise it’s probably because he’s wearing glasses. He and drummer Eddie Logue are pretty much instantly recognisable but it takes me a while to recall Gil Shuster’s face though this is perhaps because you’re more likely to remember him for his on and off-stage antics and his, ahem, vocal contributions.

As I only have a copy of their Toxic Swamp & Other Love Songs album, most of the set is new to me though I do vaguely recognise their song about a mutant cheese monster living in some guy’s flat which meets a sticky end courtesy of a giant mouse. Gil provides suitably alarming vocal effects as the creature meets its demise at the end of the song. So the highlights for me are the songs I already know including their stadium rock number ‘Earl the Squirrel’ and their paean to fast food, ‘The Kebab Shop’. “We’ll rest in the shade of the kebab tree.” That lyric says a lot about the band. It may be plain weird but, hec, it appeals to this reviewer’s sense of humour.

Other lyrics that stick in my head include suitably zany Eggplants fare such as a scientist working on a gnome genome project, an alcoholic grouse (Kenny mentions the grouse on a large poster at Edinburgh airport which they saw on arrival) and ghosts and werewolves being scared away by a morose singer songwriter who moves in next door.

Throughout the hour-long set Kenny is a calm friendly presence front of stage (reminding me of Emo Phillips when he pushes his hand through his hair between songs), Eddie moves between his electronic drum kit and a seat at the front to play various percussion instruments and Gil lurks around the stage playing some neat bass lines and singing, shouting and interjecting the occasional primal scream which is what we have come to expect from this slightly deranged looking individual. But I mean that in a nice way. He is the band’s loose cannon but an essential part of their stage show. Members of the audience are in howls of laughter at some of his shenanigans and as I leave at the end of the night I wonder if he was related to Spike Milligan.

Gil’s piece de resistance, however, is when the band play their theme tune and Gil is asked by Kenny what ‘instruments’ he will be playing tonight. On the Sunday night he chooses a small butterfly net and a tool used for picking up litter and such like. During the song he proceeds to bang these together and hit the stage with them and, inevitably, by the end of the song they are in pieces. These are then distributed among members of the audience.

As the gig reaches the 60 minute mark, we are asked if there is anything we want to hear and someone on the front row shouts out ‘Uncontrollable Urge’, a Devo cover which they recorded on their Even One Is Quite a Few album. I suspect this was one which they were half expecting so we get a spirited version with Gil and Eddie shouting, “He’s got an uncontrollable urge” with Gil pointing his thumb over his shoulder at Kenny, the sweat dripping off his face onto the floor. This brings proceedings to a close with Kenny encouraging people to sign up to their mailing list, buy the inevitable cds and t-shirts and come up and say hello as, he said, they get lonely up on stage.

So thank you Kenny, Eddie and Gil for transporting us to your world for an all-too-short but wonderfully entertaining hour. Hopefully I won’t have to wait another 15 years before I see you guys again.

Safe homeward trip to New York City.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 12th August

Here's the playlist from the last show. I'm taking a break for the next few weeks as both my parents are unwell so I'll be in Edinburgh helping mum and visiting dad in hospital.

You can always catch up with old show on

12 August playlist

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan - I Am The Fox
Madison Violet - Never Saw The Ending
Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts - Fleetwood Fair
Oh My Darling - Roustabout
Annlaug - Ord Som Fell
Show of Hands - Cousin Jack
Sheesham & Lotus & Son - Lazy Lazy River
Ben Glover - Whatever Will Happen
James Duncan MacKenzie - Anna MacKenzie's
KT Tunstall - White Bird
Madison Violet - Haight Ashbury
Annie Keating - Cowgirl in the Sand
Chris Bradley - To Your Darkness
Red Hot Chilli Pipers - Cars
Kate Rusby - Elfin Knight

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 5th August

Tonight's show is dedicated to a very good friend of mine, George Drever, who lost his battle with cancer last month. He loved his music and I can thank him for introducing me to the music of Fairport Convention and many other bands. So George, this one's for you...

Runrig - Protect and Survive
Michelle Shocked - Come A Long Way
Proclaimers - Shout Shout
Dick Gaughan - Erin Go Bragh
Bert Jansch - I Cannot Keep From Crying
Rosanne Cash - September When It Comes
Ted Hawkins - Watch Your Step
Fairport Convention - Sir Patrick Spens
Oysterband - After Rain
The Levellers - Fifteen Years
Richard Thompson - Happy Days And Auld Lang Syne
Ian McNabb - When It All Comes Down
Tomorrow - My White Bicycle
Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs' Tears

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Friday, 2 August 2013

Show for George Drever

I've been away on holiday so was unable to post the playlist for the 22nd July but it's up on Mixcloud. I've recorded a show for this coming Monday which is dedicated to a friend of mine who died last month.

His name was George Drever and I first met him in 1982 when we both worked in a Civil Service office in Edinburgh. Although he was just over 10 years older than me we struck up a friendship as we found we shared a love of music. We went to quite a few gigs together over the years ranging from Runrig and Oysterband to James, Asian Dub Foundation, Smashing Pumpkins, Ian McNabb and a memorable gig at the Assembly Rooms seeing reggae band Misty in Roots. The only time we really disagreed over music was one occasion when I mentioned Crosby, Stills & Nash. George had been into the psychedelic rock bands of the late 60s and early 70s like Pink Fairies, Hawkwind and The Pretty Things. CSN summed up everything he disliked about the hippie dippy scene of the time. But that was the only time I saw him getting worked up about music. Mostly we shared whatever music we were listening to and I have a number of mixtapes which are a tangible reminder of our friendship.

So this Monday's show will feature some folk and acoustic artists who we were both fans of. There will be tracks by Edinburgh singers Dick Gaughan and Bert Jansch though neither, like George, were born in Scotland's capital city but they spent most of their lives there. From America I have selected tracks by Rosanne Cash, Michelle Shocked and Ted Hawkins and from England, The Levellers, Fairport Convention and Richard Thompson.

You can listen to the show here -

Here's a track by Ed Sanders of The Fugs who was one of the many less well known artists whose music George introduced me to...

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 15 July

Tonight's show at 9pm on Acoustic Spectrum radio features some of those appearing at the Folk By The Oak festival this coming Sunday at Hatfield House...

Gilmore & Roberts - Off To California
Matt Woosey Band - Cruel Disposition
Martin Simpson - Lakes of Ponchartrain
Kate Reid - Telecaster Song
Eliza Carthy Band - Adieu Adieu
Lau - Throwing Pennies
Jim Moray - Jenny of the Moor
Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag - Spreefix
Oysterband - Blood-Red Roses
Kate Rusby - Who Know Where The Time Goes
Matt Woosey Band - Elsie May
Slaid Cleaves - Gone

The featured album is "On The Waggon" by Matt Woosey Band.

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
Mondays at 9pm / Tuesdays at 2am
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Here's Matt Woosey with
Cruel Disposition...

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 8 July

Coming up at 9pm tonight on Acoustic Spectrum internet radio

The Levellers - Far From Home
Kristina Stykos & Steve Mayone - Rescue Me
Chris Leslie - Paddy Ryan's Dream, The Inimitable Reel, The Macroom Lassies
Duncan McCrone - I Ain't Marchin' Anymore
Elbow Jane - Ode To Icarus (Falling from the Skies)
Cam Penner - Memphis
The Abramson Singers - Deja Vu
Tom Waits - In Between Love
Barrule - Engage!
June Tabor - Shipbuilding
Kristina Stykos & Steve Mayone - Safe Passage
Seasick Steve - Underneath a Blue and Cloudless Sky
The Chair - The Big Set
Jim Nield - I Only Want

The featured album is "Beautiful Blood: The Cousins Project" by Kristina Stykos & Steve Mayone.

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Friday, 5 July 2013

Beyond Diversity Radio

Here's a piece I wrote recently looking back on my days on Diversity Radio and looking forward to the new community radio project for the Lancaster and Morecambe area. There's an open mic fundraiser event tonight (Friday the 5th) at the Gregson Centre in Lancaster. Starts 8pm, £3.50 on the door. I'm planning on reading from my "Drum Solos, Bottles & Bands" book and will be selling copies at the special price of £5 with any profits going to Beyond Radio.

When Diversity FM was closed down by the YMCA last year it meant the end of a community project which had been running in the Lancaster and Morecambe area for several years. My involvement started in April 2008 when I applied to become a volunteer, initally to help with the IT side of things. Part of the induction involved sitting in with one of the existing presenters and seeing how the studios worked. I sat in with “Boogie” Bill Roberts on his weekly show and he encouraged me to start chatting with him about the music he was playing as a way of getting used to speaking into a microphone. This wasn't too difficult as he and I shared similar tastes in music and one fateful week when he couldn't make it in, I was asked if I would record a show to cover for his absence.

I can remember sitting in the downstairs studio with my CDs at the ready and somehow managed to get through recording an hour of blues and folk music. I then would have had to edit the show to correct any mistakes, of which I'm sure there must have been a few, but it went okay and my first show was broadcast on the 18th of June, 2008. I still have the playlist and see that along with well known names like Richard Thompson and KT Tunstall I played tracks by local bands The Low Countries and Turnstone.

Duncan Moore, who was the Volunteer Co-ordinator, must have thought I did a good enough job as he asked me if I would be interested in doing my own show with an emphasis on folk music. I thought this would be much more fun than working on their web site so a couple of weeks later my first show, which would be called Off The Beaten Tracks, was broadcast and that was the start of my four years on Diversity radio. Not having a huge selection of folk albums in my collection I thought I would email some bands and ask for CDs. One person I contacted was Simon Nicol of Fairport Convention and to my delight not only did he send me a copy of their latest album but also four other discs including one by The Dylan Project. At that time this Bob Dylan tribute band featured Simon along with the Fairport rhythm section of Dave Pegg and Gerry Conway plus PJ Wright and Steve Gibbons.

In August 2010 I asked a friend of mine, Wes Martin, if he would be interested in co-hosting the show with me. I was finding that I wasn't enjoying presenting the show as much as I had been and getting Wes involved was a good move. I never knew what he was going to say next and as we were doing live shows, there was the odd occasion when I struggled to keep a straight face and not burst out laughing into the mic. But we had some great times in the studio and it was a sad day when we presented our final edition of the show at the end of March last year.

For most of the volunteers that was the end of their radio experience but a few of us have kept going. Gordon Smith and Philip Cowles have been involved with Red Rose Recovery Radio in Morecambe, Jomar De Vrind presented a classical music show on Bailrigg FM at Lancaster University and in September last year I started doing a weekly folk music show on the internet radio station Acoustic Spectrum. Others, including Reza Mills and Murray Hamilton, have been doing occasional shows on Mixcloud.

But hopefully community radio will be returning to the Lancaster and Morecambe area with the station Beyond Radio. Duncan Moore is involved with this new venture along with ex-Diversity DJ and sound engineer Chris Brookbanks and they are currently broadcasting over the internet. The next step is to get a community licence and they are looking for somewhere to base the station and find sponsors to cover the running costs.

While I enjoy recording my shows at home for Acoustic Spectrum, and I'm still being sent plenty of CDs, it's not the same as going in to a studio and doing live shows. It would be great if myself and others from Diversity are able to bring our shows back to the local area on FM radio with Beyond Radio. Here's hoping!

For more information see My Folk and Acoustic Music Show goes out on Mondays at 9pm on

Monday, 1 July 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 1 July

Tonight at 9pm on

Heidi Talbot - Music Tree
Coreen Scott - La Mer
Dan Melrose - Mary
Crowjane - Lovin' That I Crave
Duotone - Turning Pages Over
Roger Wilson - Where my Feet are Going I Don't Know
Rock Salt & Nails - I'm Looking Through You
The Low Countries - Long Story Short
Fairport Convention - The Ballad of Easy Rider
Coreen Scott - Black is the Colour
Julie Matthews - I Am The One
John Rigby - If I Had A Boat
Cosmic Rough Riders - Glastonbury Revisited
Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday

Featured album is 'Beyond The Sea' by Coreen Scott available from and iTunes

Video of the new song 'Long Story Short' by The Low Countries from 'The Invisible Ray' released October 2013. Filmed by Jonas aged 11

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Guitars, mobile phones and ZZ Top

There was a time when, as an amateur musician, you would sit and play your guitar or whatever and occasionally come up with some shit hot riff but unless you had a tape recorder to hand it would probably be lost forever as the next time you sat down to play, you'd completely forgotten what it was you played last time.

But now with computers and the internet you can capture everything and share it with the world. Whether this is a good thing or not, I don't know. There is so much to listen to and watch out there that we are spoiled for choice or, the other way of looking at it is, there just aren't enough hours in the day to listen to and watch everything we want to. Try as we might we cannot keep up with all the tweets and Facebook postings telling us to watch this music video, this comedy clip, read this blog, check out this news story, download this podcast, read this ebook, use this app on our smartphone, look at photos posted on Tumblr, Flickr or wherever.

You just want to scream, enough! I can't keep up!

I don't own a smartphone. I did have one last year but the screen kept getting stuck and after downloading the latest version of the operating system, which was supposed to fix the problem, I found that it had deleted all the contacts in my address book. It had taken ages to download the upgrade and I was now at breaking point. "Stupid bloody (insert your brand name here) phone!" I raged at no-one in particular. "What a piece of junk!" and with that I threw the phone to the floor. Or thwew it, if you're a Monty Python fan.

The screen broke and the phone had gone to meet its maker. It was an ex-smart phone, it was pushing up the daisies etc etc. So I went back to using my old phone. I use it to sent text messages and occasionally phone people. I use my PC for everything else. That's so last decade, I hear you say but quite frankly my dear, I don't give a shit.

So back to the music. On Tuesday my friend Bryan drove us down to Manchester to see ZZ Top in concert. It was the first time I'd seen them since 1985 and while they certainly didn't break any records for the longest set ever played, it was just brilliant to see them again on stage. Billy Gibbons is one of my favourite guitar players and to my delight he played a Fender Telecaster for most of the main set. This is my favourite guitar and one that I own and love dearly. If I had to choose between my guitar and my PC I'd say, stuff Facebook, I'd rather play my Telecaster. Which is what I've been doing today, partly due to seeing Billy and partly after watching Seasick Steve on TV last night playing at Glastonbury with John Paul Jones on bass.

So here is some guitar playing. It could be described at a work in progress or a first take or whatever. It was me sitting down with my Telecaster, turning my Fender amp up and just playing... and recording into Audacity. Computers have their uses.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

ZZ Top, Castle Donington, 1985

Having just seen ZZ Top this week at the Manchester Apollo on their La Futura tour, I thought I would revisit the only other time I've seen them in concert. 28 years is a long time to wait to see one of your favourite bands again but the concert passed without anything dramatic happening unlike that day at the Monster of Rock festival.

This is an excerpt from my book "Drum Solos, Bottles and Bands - Memories of a Concert-goer 1981-1999". If you'd like to read another bit from it, listen to the introduction or buy a copy please see -


1985 was the year I celebrated my 21st birthday. I threw a party in the Nite Club function room of the Edinburgh Playhouse which also doubled up as a venue for smaller bands - I had seen the boogie band Spider play there the previous year. Some friends at work had clubbed together and bought me a ticket for ZZ Top's Rocking The Castle date at Donington as a birthday present. I booked a seat on a coach and departed from Edinburgh, after a few hours in the pub, late on the Friday night arriving at Donington sometime after 7am. We were then told to get off the coach by the driver as he wanted to get some kip which meant we had a few hours to kill before the gates opened.

These days the Download Festival at Donington has five different stages but back in the 80s there was only the one stage. I wandered round and found the Motor Museum but sadly it was shut. Of the six bands that played that day, I'd have to say that Metallica certainly impressed me though this was the only time I've seen them in concert. I was a bit disappointed by Bon Jovi compared to when I saw them headlining at the Playhouse and I don't remember much about Ratt and Magnum. Marillion, however, played a good set which included material from their latest album, Misplaced Childhood.

After Marillion had left the stage certain members of the crowd took it upon themselves to hurl plastic bottles up into the air. Some of these were empty, which was fine if one hit you as it just bounced off. But other bottles had been filled by those who couldn't be bothered to traipse up the field to the toilets. If you were hit by one of those, you knew all about it as I was about to find out. I noticed two bikers in front of me putting their helmets on and sitting down on the ground, which was a good move. I decided to follow their example and just watched the bottles flying about until I saw someone not far from me lob a bottle in my direction. As this was an empty one I couldn't resist picking it up and chucking it back at the lad who'd thrown it at me. Just a bit of harmless fun. Well, it was until the inevitable happened and I was struck on the head with a bottle which was far from being empty. My hand instinctively went to my head and I was alarmed to see blood on my fingers.

I made my way to the First Aid centre where I got stitched up and I returned to the arena shortly before ZZ Top came on stage. I was one of the more fortunate ones. There were one or two lads who were lying unconscious, though whether this was from having been hit by a bottle or the result of drinking all day, I couldn't say. I stayed away from the stage as there were still some bottles being lobbed into the air. Looking round I saw a very drunk individual wearing nothing but a loose-fitting sheepskin jacket running around between the fires people had lit at the top of the field. He would fall over, get up, stagger on a bit further and then fall over again. At least that brought a smile to my face.

ZZ Top were still riding high on the success of Eliminator and their set included the singles from that album 'Legs' and 'Gimme All Your Lovin' along with old favourites like 'Jesus Just Left Chicago', 'Cheap Sunglasses' and 'La Grange'. After the firework display at the end of the night I headed back to the coach and the return journey to Edinburgh. Perhaps not surprisingly, the injury I sustained put me off such events and I didn't attended another festival until 1996 when I went to T in the Park at Strathclyde Country Park.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 24 June

Coming up at 9pm tonight on Acoustic Spectrum radio...

Slaid Cleaves - Still Fighting The war
Battlefield Band - Bagpipe Music
James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
Ralph McTell - Chattanooga Choo Choo
Steve Mayone and Kristina Stykos - Stealing Away
Pentangle - Light Flight
Tracy Moore - Bob Takes His Truck to the Dump
Kami Thompson - Little Boy Blue
Rose's Pawn Shop - The Garden
Equation - He Loves Me
Sarah MacDougall - It's A Storm (What's Going On)
Battlefield Band - Tynes in Overtime
Eric Bibb - Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes
Michael Chapman - Caddo Lake

The featured album is "Room Enough For All" by Battlefield Band.

The Equation track is from the Cara Dillon\Kathryn Roberts line-up but here is Kathryn with Kate Rusby from 1995...

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 17 June

Coming up at 9pm tonight on Acoustic Spectrum radio...

Neil Young - Comes A Time
Darwin Song Project - Heavy In My Hand
Elephant Revival - What is Time
Patsy Matheson - Shining Silver
Richard & Linda Thompson - A Heart Needs A Home
Nils Lofgren - Birds
Jess Thomas - Northern Rain
Idiot Johnson - The Great Love Scenes
Gigspanner - The Water is Wide
Elephant Revival - Barefoot Friend
Rich Tea - The Rich Tea Bouree & The Blue Ribbon
Neil Young - Old Man
Gavin Sutherland - Choir of Angels
Duncan Wood - The Clearances / The New World March / The New World Jig

The featured album is "Break in the Clouds" by Elephant Revival.

I'm currently reading Tony Iommi's autobiography 'Iron Man'. Any fans of Black Sabbath will know that they often recorded acoustic numbers on their albums to break up all the heavier stuff.

Here's an acoustic number from the "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" album named after a certain BBC radio DJ...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 10 June

Here's last night's playlist and the show is now on Mixcloud for you to listen to at your leisure -

The Pogues - Dirty Old Town
The Abramson Singers - Lose-Lose
Woody Pines - Hobo and His Bride
Bryony Holden - Black Waterside
Cara Dillon - Green Grows The Laurel
Kris Drever - Harvest Gypsies
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - Raven Girl
Ruth Moody - Pockets
Locust Honey String Band - Jealous Hearted Me
Steve Knightley - The Girl From The North Country
The Abramson Singers - Red River Valley
Kate Rusby - Blooming Heather
Phil McLennan Smillie - Captain Kim Frizzell

I'm planning on playing some Neil Young on next week's show seeing as how he's currently touring the UK with Crazy Horse on what is rumoured to be their last ever tour this side of the pond. Gives me an excuse to play another track from Nils Lofgren's Neil Young tribute album and something from Harvest and Comes A Time.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The last show and the next show

Here's the playlist from the May the 27th show. Next Monday's featured album is 'Late Riser' by The Abramson Singers and also on the playlist will be The Pogues, Woody Pines, Cara Dillon, Locust Honey String Band, Bryony Holden and Ruth Moody.

Richard Thompson - A Solitary Life
Sarah McQuaid - The Sun Goes on Rising
The Deadly Winters - The Mines of Spennymoor
Cam Penner - Rivers Forgotten
The Stray Birds - Dream In Blue
Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston - Me and My Sister The Moon
Phil MacLennan Smillie - Old Pier Road
Didi Bergman - About The Outskirts
Bob Dylan - Simple Twist of Fate
Sarah McQuaid - Solid Air
Flook - Waltzes
Cam Penner - House of Liars

Listen again at

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Next Monday's show

Just editing Monday's show. I had an attack of the "ums and ers" while recording it yesterday. Probably just as well I'm having a break next week. So there won't be a show on Monday the 3rd. But this Monday, along with some Cam Penner, there will be two tracks from Sarah McQuaid new album 'The Plum Tree and the Rose'. Plus a number from Bob Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks'. The full line-up is...

Richard Thompson, Sarah McQuaid, The Deadly Winters, Cam Penner, The Stray Birds, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston, Phil MacLennan Smillie, Didi Bergman, Bob Dylan and Flook.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New music poll

I did a poll on the Talkawhile message board recently about how people discover new music. Gone are the days of being dependent on radio and TV or hearing new sounds at a friend's house or a music festival. There is now a huge amount of music, both old and new, to be listened to on the internet which you can access on your computer, iPad, smartphone or whatever. This list isn't meant to be complete but I think it gave enough options to make the survey worth doing. It is worth pointing out that as Talkawhile is centred around Fairport Convention, the average age of people responding is probably around 50. If you did the same poll among fans of Mumford and Sons I'm sure the results would be quite different.

Question: How do you discover new music?

Word of Mouth                 - 19.3%
Gigs\Festivals                - 18.6%
BBC National\Regional Radio   -  9.9%
Social Networks (FB, Twitter) -  9.3%
Music magazines\papers        -  6.2%
YouTube                       -  5.6%
Internet Radio\Mixcloud       -  5%
Spotify\Deezer\Rhapsody       -  5%
TV (Later w/ Jools etc)       -  3.7%
Buy cds                       -  3.7%
Artists' web sites            -  3.1%
Promo cds                     -  2.5%
Podcasts                      -  2.5%
Other (please specify)        -  1.9%
Record\Music Shops            -  1.9%
Local\Community FM Radio      -  1.2%
Bandcamp\Reverbnation         -  0.6%
iTunes                        -  0%

Approx 150 people took part with each person having 3 votes.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 20 May

Tonight's playlist. If you've missed any recent shows check out my cloudcasts on

Barrule - In Search of Manannan
Melissa Greener - Why
Battlefield Band - The Hairy Angler Fish
Mike Cavanaugh - Pearls
Pauline Alexander - Brothers in Arms
Nick Drake - Cello Song
Locust Honey String Band - He Ain't No Good
David Ferrard - Wildflowers
Kevin Pearce - Don't Fall Down
Melissa Greener - With The Weather
Barney Bentall - Four Went To War
The Imagined Village - Scarborough Fair
The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - Un-named Shetland Reel

Featured Album: Melissa Greener - Transistor Corazon

Tonight's show and last week's playlist

This week's show opens with Jamie Smith's new band Barrule and a track from their album "Music from the Isle of Man". There's also a cover of a Dire Straits song by Pauline Alexander and The Imagined Village's take on Scarborough Fair. The featured album is "Transistor Corazon" by Melissa Greener which is released today.

If you missed last week's show you can listen to in at

13 May playlist

Billy Bragg & Wilco - Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key
Lisa Richards - Every Star
The Revelers - Asteur Je Peux Voir (Now I Can See)
Woody Pines - Train That Carried My Gal From Town
Eddi Reader - Patience of Angels
Jo Philby - The Maid On The Shore
Robert Lambie - Already Know
Ruth Moody - One Light Shining
Apples & Eve - Dionysus
The Deadly Winters - The Troubadors
Lisa Richards - Beating of the Sun
Nils Lofgren - Like A Hurricane
Sophie Hosken-Taylor - Breathe
VAMM - Castle Grant

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Monday, 6 May 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 6 May

Tonight's playlist...

Fairport Convention - Matty Groves
Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - Lady Isobel and the Elf Knight
Moulettes - Cannibal Song
Rita Hosking - Five Star Location
Johnny Corrigan - The Way Life Is
Kirsty & Ewan MacColl - The Manchester Rambler
Mary Dillon - The Boatman
Douglas Hinton - Down The Road
Barney Bentall - Say Goodbye To Albert Comfort
Annabelle Chvostek Ensemble - Ona (In Toronto I Get More Hugs, In Montréal I Get More Kisses)
Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - Mysterious Day
Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts - Middle of May

Featured Album: Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - Sing a Full Song

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Monday, 29 April 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 29 April

Tonight's playlist...

VAMM - The Burnt Leg
Chris Bradley - Cambridge County
The Martin Green Machine - Quayle Paint
Heidi Talbot & John McCusker - Love's Sweet Old Song
Cookie - Cockle Pickers
Richie Havens - Freedom
Iain MacDonald - Hope That He Sees Me
Show of Hands - Reunion Hill
The Bailey Sisters - Stretford & Northern May Song
VAMM - Prospect Road
Bryony Holden - Gypsy Davey
Apples & Eve - L'Homme
Christa Couture - You  Were Here in Michigan

Featured album: VAMM by VAMM

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 22 April

This week's playlist - 

Linda Thompson - Katy Cruel
Jarrod Dickenson - Back To Eden
Djonne & Borsheim - Besse Vikingson
Ottersgear - Where Ottersgear Lies
Plainview - Patient
Jez Lowe - The Simian Son
David Crosby - Music Is Love
The Stray Birds - My Brother's Hill
The Stray Birds - Give That Wildman a Knife, Bellows Falls, Waitin' on a Hannah
Melissa Greene - Always
Jarrod Dickenson - Come What May
Philip Henry & Hannah Martin - The Boy That Wouldn't Hoe Corn
Crosby Stills & Nash - Just a Song Before I Go

Featured albums :
'The Stray Birds' by The Stray Birds and
'The Lonesome Traveler' by Jarrod Dickenson

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Monday, 15 April 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 15 April

On the playlist tonight...

The Chair - The Hamars O' Syradale
The Revelers - Des Fois (Sometimes)
Ralph McTell - Still in Dreams
Chas Ambler - Bees (Honey Will Be The Death of Us)
Battlefield Band - The Garron Trotting, Glengarry, Cawdor Fair, The Merry Lads of Air, The Cuckoo
Locust Honey String Band - Banjo Pickin' Girl
Jess Thomas - Protest Song
Pete Townshend & Raphael Rudd - A Little is Enough
Lau - Banks of Marble
Seth Lakeman - Kitty Jay
Ewan & friends - The Leaving
Simon Jaymes - She's A Lady
Ralph McTell - Anji & Lullaby of Birdland

Featured album: Ralph McTell - Sofa Noodling

See the Friends of the Earth web site for more info on saving the Bees -

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 8 April

Cara Dillon - Bold Jamie
Matt Woosey Band - Find A Way
Pauline ALexander and Paul Baird - Seven Notes
Lazibyrd - Run to the Dawn
Bert Jansch - Kingfisher
Maeve MacKinnon - Sugar Town
Cam Penner - My Lover and I
Cookie - The New Sheriff of Nottingham
In Tandem - Shin to the Button
Birds of Chicago - The Wide Sea
Cara Dillon - I Am A Youth That's Inclined To Ramble
Billy Connolly - Silk Pyjamas

Featured album : Cara Dillon - The Redcastle Sessions (dvd)

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Easter Monday / April Fools Day show

Now available for you to listen to on Mixcloud


Richard Thompson - Salford Sunday
Emily Smith - Waltzing's For Dreamers
Oyster Band - The Soul's Electric
Peter Knight's Gigspanner - Sitting On Top Of The World
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Hooray (This Woman is Killing Me)
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Reynardine
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine
Darwin Song Project - Jemmy Button
Megson - The Handloom Weaver & The Factory Maid
Djonne & Borsheim - Da Lounge Bar
Davy Graham - Sally Free and Easy
The Unthanks - The Testimony of Patience Kershaw
The Handsome Family - Eleanor Rigby
Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - 4AM

Featured Album : Carolina Chocolate Drops - Genuine Negro Jig

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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Sunday, 24 March 2013

This Monday's show - 25 March

On this Monday's edition of the Folk and Acoustic Music show on Acoustic Spectrum you will hear tracks by Fellerband, Jo Philby, Tom Houston, Rita Hosking, The Carrivick Sisters, Jaywalkers, Johnny Corrigan, Kevin Pearce, Jez Lowe, Jamie Smith's Mabon and Nancy Kerr & James Fagin

The featured Album is "Open The Skylights" by Tom Houston

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
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The blogger video link feature isn't working so here is the link to 'Today is a Good Day' by The Carrivick Sisters -

Monday, 18 March 2013

Tonight's show

I was away last week so was unable to post last Monday's playlist though you can always find it on once I've uploaded the show.

Sadly it seems that due to technical issues at Acoustic Spectrum tonight's show will not be going out at 9pm so I shall upload it to Mixcloud earlier than normal.

On the show this week you can hear R.E.M., Dick Gaughan, Franka De Mille, Show of Hands, Cam Penner, Fairport Convention, The Bean Pickers Union, Robyn Hitchcock, The Low Countries, Syd Straw & Evan Dando, Flossie Malavialle & Kate Bush

And the featured album is Beat The Retreat (Songs by Richard Thompson).
For last week's show and playlist see

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 4 March

Tonight's playlist -

Martin Stephenson - Look Down Look Down
Djonne & Borsheim - Toras Dans
Peter Nardini - I Wish I Wis A Pgeon
Michael Chapman - The Mallard
Angie Palmer - Time of Thunder
Cara Dillon - She Moved Through The Fair
Jarrod Dickenson - The Northern Sea
Birds of Chicago - Come Morning
Al Scorch & the Country Soul Ensemble - Working Dream
Jez Lowe & the Bad Pennies - The Judas Bus
Fairport Convention - Walk Awhile
Djonne & Borsheim - Djonne

Jarrod Dickenson UK & Ireland Tour
All March-April dates are with David Ford

Wednesday 20, Southampton The Cellar
Thursday 21, Bristol The Tunnels
Friday 22, Oxford O2 Academy
Saturday 23, Holmfirth, W. Yorks. Picturedrome
Sunday 24, Manchester The Deaf Institute
Wednesday 27, Edinburgh Electric Circus

More tour info at

Birds of Chicago featuring JT Nero & Allison Russell
UK & Ireland Tour April-May 2013

Wednesday 3 Formby, Merseyside Grateful Fred’s, Formby British Legion
Thursday 4 Newcastle upon Tyne The Cluny 2
Friday 5 Saltaire, Shipley, West Yorks. The Live Room @ Caroline Social Club
Saturday 6 Ireby, Cumbria The Globe Hall
Sunday 7 Kirton in Lindsey, Lincs. Diamond Jubilee Town Hall
Monday 8 Cropredy, Oxfordshire The Brasenose Arms
Wednesday 10 London, The Slaughtered Lamb

More tour info at

Al Scorch & The Country Soul Ensemble
UK & Ireland Tour Spring 2013

Thursday, March 28, The Canteen, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol
Friday, March 29, Gwdihw Cafe Bar, 6 Guildford Crescent, Cardiff
Saturday, March 30, Square and Compass Pub, Worth Matravers, Swanage
Monday, April 1, The Cock Inn, Church End, Church Lane, Sarratt
Tuesday, April 2, The Tanners Arms, Horsham
Wednesday, April 3, Lymington Folk Club, Stanford Rd , Lymington,

More tour info at

Friday, 1 March 2013

Next week's show

I'm just playing back my latest show which will be broadcast on Acoustic Spectrum on Monday the 4th of March. It includes two tracks from the new album 'Toras Dans' by Norwegian musicians Djonne & Borsheim, the latter of whom released an album under the name Annlaug in 2010. There's also a track by Michael Chapman who recently toured the UK with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and some Americana and bluegrass from Jarrod Dickenson, Birds of Chicago and Al Scorch & the Country Soul Ensemble.

Along with the Djonne & Borsheim cd, I've also received new releases by Duncan Wood, Tom Houston, The Chair and The Joe Corrie Project and from across the other side of the pond albums by Matt Woosey Band, Christa Couture and Annie Keating. That'll keep me busy listening to all of those so expect to hear tracks from some or all of those on the next few shows.

I'm off down to Liverpool this evening to see Richard Thompson. Here he is playing a track from his new 'Electric' album. 

Catch up with old editions of the show at

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 18 Feb

I'm going to be away for most of this week so won't be recording a show for next Monday. So this evening's show will go out at 9pm tonight and will then be repeated next Monday, the 25th.

Here's the line-up for tonight's show...

Richard Thompson - Good Things Happen To Bad People
Pauline Alexander - Where Lucifer Lingers
Jo Philby - The Sleepless Sailor
Show of Hands - Cruel River
Phil Lee - Every Time
Lisa Richards - Save Me
Larkin Poe and Thom Hell - PS I Love You
Arthur Wilson - Always Here For You
Pauline Vallance - Ally Bally
Chris Bradley - Wishing Well
Richard Thompson - Saving The Good Stuff For You
Judy Dyble - C'est Le Vie
Up In The Air - The Diamond Reel / Fair Fa' the Minstrel

Richard Thompson's "ELECTRIC" Trio UK tour starts on Wed, 20 Feb at St David's Hall in Cardiff. Full tour details -

Steve Knightley's tour continues on Friday 22nd Feb at the Hungry Horse Folk Club, Wirral. Tour info at

Larkin Poe April 2013 UK Tour with special guest Blair Dunlop
Tuesday 2 - Lewes, All Saints Arts Centre
Wednesday 3 - Tonbridge, MAC Theatre, K College
Thursday 4 - South Petherton, Somerset The David Hall
Friday 5 - London, Kings Place Music Foundation, Kings Cross

Saturday 6 - Didcot, Cornerstone Arts Centre
Sunday 7 - Barnsley, Horizon Theatre

Here's Steve Knightley of Show of Hands with a solo rendition of Cruel River -

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 11 Feb

Tonight's playlist...

The Bean Pickers Union - Tranquility
Tom Mitchell - From Experience
Steeleye Span - The Unquiet Grave
Charlotte - Salt & Pepper
Johny Corrigan - Billy
Calum Stewart & Lauren MacColl - Crow Road Croft
Juey - Catch a Falling Knife
Robyn Hitchcock - Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus
Annabelle Chvostek Ensemble - Fox Tail
Rebecca Pronsky - Better That Way
King Creosote - Jump At The Cats
Spiers & Boden - Haul Away
The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - Un-Named Shetland Reel

Tom Mitchell is former guitarist with the Cadbury Sisters and Duffy, and now write solo material. Check his songs out at

Charlotte's new album is "Wasted Dreams and Jelly Beans"
Hear more of her music at

Catch Robyn Hitchcock's 60 Birthday Retrospective on February 28 at Village Underground, Shoreditch, London. He is then on tour in March playing Cambridge, Brighton, Exeter, Nottingham, Kendal & Bristol.

Annabelle Chvostek is on tour in March starting at Lewes, nr Brighton on Saturday the 2nd.

Rebecca Pronsky's UK tour starts at Leith Folk Club in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19th March.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Folk and Acoustic Music Show playlist 4 Feb

Hope you enjoyed the music tonight. Here's the playlist. The show will be available to listen to on Mixcloud from tomorrow morning.

J Shogren & Shanghai'd - Holding Tank
Jez Lowe - Back in Durham Goal
Lorraine McCauley and the Borderlands - Big Love
Rose's Pawn Shop - Danger Behind The Wheel
Douglas Hinton - Soldier On
Jo Gillot - Knock-Shouldered
Tokyo Rosenthal - Killaloe
Dick Gaughan - Geronimo's Cadillac
Niall Kelly - Tank
Conor Owen - Flies With Her Own Wings
Christy Moore - Viva La Quinta Brigada
Rock Salt and Nails - Shaggy's Sexy Shetland Set

The Folk & Acoustic Music Show
Mondays at 9pm / Tuesdays at 2am
Listen online at

Here's Douglas Hinton playing 'Soldier On' on French TV...

Concert Companions

As I mentioned in my book, “Drum Solos, Bottles and Bands – Memories of a Concert-Goer 1981-1999”, occasionally I went to concerts with friends but often I went on my own. I would have loved to have found a female companion who enjoyed similar music to me but in the days before the internet it was not so easy to find like-minded music fans. One option was to scan the personal ads in music papers but sometimes fate intervened, though not necessarily with the results you'd hoped for. Fate played such a trick on me in December 1989 when Michelle Shocked played a concert at the London Palladium.

This was one of two Michelle Shocked gigs I went to in London that year. In April she played at the Hackney Empire and my friend Mandy came down from York for the weekend. I'd met Mandy when I was working abroad in 1986. We'd got on okay but nothing happened between us so when we swapped contact details at the end of our ten weeks in the sun I wasn't thinking that we would necessarily keep in touch. But during my two years at college we wrote letters and send Xmas cards and when I mentioned the gig to her, she was keen to come south.

I arranged to meet her on the Friday afternoon at a pub by Highgate tube station. I left work a bit early and got the bus along from Muswell Hill. To my surprise I found Mandy sitting outside the pub more or less on the pavement. Stupidly I'd assumed that the pub would have been open all afternoon but no, it had shut after lunch. Fortunately Mandy had only been there a short while so we had a laugh about it. She told me that she had been getting funny looks from people as she had a sleeping bag with her so they must have thought she was some sort of down and out. I helped her with her bags and we walked through Highgate Wood before getting a bus back to my flat. In the evening we went out for a meal and when we got back to the flat I realise she wanted to be more than just friends. In the words of that Roxy Music song, “dim the lights, you can guess the rest.”

The next day we had a wander round Highgate taking in the famous cemetery where Karl Marx is buried before heading out in the evening to Hackney. It was the first time I'd been to the Empire and despite it being quite near Muswell Hill as the crow flies, it took a bus and a couple of trains to get there. It was a great gig and a memorable weekend. Mandy and I stayed in touch but our relationship never really developed into anything more as we were both settled in our lives in York and London. When things subsequently went sour for me in the south east and I lost my job, I packed my belongings into a hire car and drove back to Scotland, stopping off to see Mandy en route. I remember going to a Hugh Cornwell gig with her at Fibbers in York some years later but by then she had met someone else so I stayed in a B&B and that was the last time I saw her. But back to that other Michelle Shocked gig I went to in 89.

It was by chance that I had gone into central London on the day that tickets went on sale. I had got off the tube at Tottenham Court Road and noticed on a board outside a ticket agency that Michelle was playing at the Palladium. I knew roughly where the theatre was so rather than buy a ticket at the agency and pay a booking fee I walked along to the venue, which incidentally was quite an unusual place for such an artist to play. I walked into the box office and pretty much had my pick of the seats. So I asked for a seat in the front row of the stalls. The woman serving me seemed disappointed that I only wanted a single ticket and persuaded me to buy a second one. I reckoned that I would be able to find someone at work to take the other ticket but unfortunately this was not the case. So on the night of the gig I arrived early and asked at the box office if they could give me a refund on the second ticket. But as the gig wasn't sold out, they couldn't help but said I could stand near the counter and try and sell it myself.

Various people came in to buy tickets but no-one was look for just a single seat. I was starting to give up hope when a woman, who looked a bit younger than me, came in and happily took the ticket off me, especially when I told her it was front row stalls and I only wanted the face value of it. We started chatting while we were waiting for the music to start and I discovered that she was, like myself, from Edinburgh though she was a student rather than working in London. The gig itself was excellent. Michelle had released her Captain Swing album and had a full band complete with brass section rather than just being with one or two other musicians as had been the case when I'd seen her earlier that year at the Hackney Empire.

At the end of the concert my new friend and I (I forget her name) headed to a tube station but she was heading south and me north. Fortunately she had a pen on her and seemed happy to give me her number as we had had a really nice evening together and I was certainly keen to see her again. A few days later I phoned her to see if she wanted to meet up but she said she was really busy with end of term stuff at college but gave me her number in Edinburgh and suggested I give her a call when I was home at Christmas time. So over the festive season I phoned the number she had given me but it was like I was talking to a different person. She seemed annoyed that I had phoned her and pretty much told me to stop bothering her. I was taken aback by her aggressive tone and was rather lost for words. She hung up and that was the end of that. What I should have said was, “if you didn't want me to phone you, why did you give me your number?” but it was too late.

The following year I made contact with another woman, this time through a personal ad column. I can't remember if I placed an ad or answered one but we were both fans of Jane's Addiction and when I told her I had bought two tickets for their gig at the Astoria in October she sounded like she was really keen to go. This would have been our first meeting. Up to that point we'd communicated by letter but we exchanged phone numbers and spoke in the days leading up to the gig. But it was an awkward phone call. She seemed to have a problem that I was working for a company in Docklands – she somehow got the impression that I was some hotshot businessman or something when in fact I was doing a customer support job for a company that put computerised cash register systems into pubs and shops. But we arranged to meet outside the venue on the night of the gig.

When I got there, there were loads of people milling about on the pavement but I arrived at the time we'd agreed and looked around hopefully for her. But she didn't show up. I waited for as long as I could but I wanted to see the support band so when it got to half seven I decided to give up and flog the ticket. This was quite easy as the gig was sold out. I found an American lad who was obviously a huge fan of Jane's and was thrilled to take the ticket off my hands. What happened to my date? I've no idea. Being in the days before mobile phones I had no way of getting in touch with her on the night and afterwards I must have dropped her a line or left a message for her on her answer phone to tell her she'd missed a brilliant gig but I never heard from her again.

My final attempt at finding someone to go to gigs with was more successful. I answered an ad, either in Kerrang! or Sounds, placed by someone looking for friends to go to gigs with. I wrote her a letter and waited. When her reply came though the letter box I was delighted to see that she lived in the same area of North London as me. Her name was Cath, she was Belgian but she  made it very clear that she wasn't looking for any sort of romantic involvement. That was fine with me and we arranged to meet for a drink in Muswell Hill. Unfortunately on the day we were due to meet I was returning to London from a few days up in Edinburgh. Lady Luck wasn't shining on me as the train was delayed and when I finally got in to Kings Cross I knew I had no chance of making our rendezvous. I found a call box and phoned my flatmate to see if Cath had called, wondering where I'd got to. But there had been no calls for me. I think I must have told her I'd been going away so she must have figured out that my train had been delayed. We re-arranged to meet up and this time we both made it to the pub on time.

Cath was lovely. She reminded me of some of the girls I used to see at rock concerts at the Edinburgh Playhouse back in the 80s – long hair, tight jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket. So I finally got to 'date' a rock chick but it was just a platonic relationship. The first and sadly only one of three concerts we went to together was Deep Purple at the Hammersmith Odeon in March 1991. We arrived in good time so went to the bar for a drink and who should be working behind the bar but a friend who I knew from my days at Newpoint Publishing. I hadn't seen Jayne for ages so we had a bit of a chat while she was getting our drinks. Cath was obviously wondering what was taking me so long and I was suddenly aware of a hand reaching over and taking her drink. I introduced her to Jayne and got a knowing look from Jayne who obviously thought I'd hit the jackpot being with such an attractive woman. But looks, as they say, can be deceptive.

The gig was pretty good. Deep Purple had parted company with Ian Gillan and had recruited Joe Lynn Turner. He did a good enough job though I read in the music press that audiences at some other UK venues were less than happy with his vocals and made their feelings known during the concerts. Support had been by the all-female band Vixen who were all big hair and leather outfits. Seemingly they had been hailed as “the female Bon Jovi” though the question has to be asked, did the world really need a female Bon Jovi? I suspect the answer would be in the negative.

I left London just a few weeks after that gig but kept in touch with Cath and when I saw that Guns 'N' Roses were playing at Wembley Stadium in the summer of the same year I got tickets. I came down to London for a few days and on the day of the concert I met up with Cath and Mark, a mate from Edinburgh, who had come down overnight on the coach. We spent a pleasant afternoon browsing the record shops in Camden Town and visited one or two pubs before getting the tube up to Wembley. Support was provided by Nine Inch Nails and Skid Row, neither of whom we were all that impressed by but Guns 'N' Roses played a good set which included quite a few tracks from their two new “Use Your Illusion” albums. Cath and I lost Mark in the crowd at some point during their set and we decided to head off just before the end to avoid the inevitable mobs heading for the trains at the end of the night. By chance we bumped into Mark in a corridor on our way out so said our farewells, with him heading back onto the pitch for the final number.

I went to one other gig with Cath, also at Wembley but this time at the Arena where John Mellencamp played in April 1992. I'd been a fan of his since his excellent Rolling Stones-inspired album “Uh-huh” back in the mid 80s and despite having just released a new album, he played songs from his last few albums going back to his early UK hits 'Jack and Diane' and 'Hurts So Good'. I saw Cath on one other occasion before losing touch with her.

If you've enjoyed reading this and would like to read more, please check out the web page for my concert memories book