Sunday, 27 March 2016

OTBT mix 27 March

James J Turner releases his new album, "Spirit, Soul and a Handful of Mud" on the 22nd of April and before that The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc release their second album titled "Deliverance" on the 1st of April. The group includes Shetlander Kevin Henderson who is also a member of Boys of the Lough.

Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston are currently on tour with their next dates being Great Torrington on Saturday the 2nd of April and Hitchin Folk Club on Sunday the 3rd. They are playing at Ellel Village Hall just south of Lancaster on the 16th of April and have a new album out called "The Watchmaker's Wife".

James J Turner - The Long Way Around
The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - The Hen Hunt
Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston - Sweet Pea \ Mean To Me
Show of Hands - The Napoli
Fotheringay - The Sea
Nick Drake - At The Chime of a City Clock
Blind Boys of Alabama - Jesus Gonna Be Here
Equation - Cross The River
Blazin' Fiddles - Mama Come Let's Dance
The Cadbury Sisters - Barefoot
John Renbourn - Come On In My Kitchen
Michael Roach - Bring It With You When You Come
Janis Joplin - Half Moon
Crosby, Stills & Nash - To The Last Whale

I've been in the mood for some Janis Joplin after watching the documentary Little Girl Blue which was on BBC4 on the other night. It's well worth watching on the iPlayer if you're a fan.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Steve Knightley gig review

Steve Knightley at Glasson Dock Village Hall 11 March 2016

The first gig I ever went to when I moved to Lancaster in the summer of 2005 was to see Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman supporting Martin Simpson at the village hall in Glasson Dock. The Lakeman family, like Steve Knightley, hail from Devon and Sean's brother Seth got a couple of mentions during Steve's very entertaining sold-out gig.

The title of his current tour is 'All at Sea' and there is no shortage of martime songs in both folk music in general and Steve's back catalogue. The set included songs from his solo albums as well as some Show of Hands numbers, plus cover versions including Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer' – with Deadhead being replaced by Bellowhead – and the Otis Redding classic '(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay'.

Steve is never short of a humourous story, some of which were aimed at the previous night's gig in Liverpool and some at his SoH bandmate Phil Beer. He even did a passable impersonation of radio DJ Mark Radcliffe.

He had been interviewed on local radio in Liverpool and remarked on how this can be something of a chore at times especially if the presenter hasn't done their homework and knows little more about Steve than the fact that he is a folk singer. And the radio station was a bit nervous about playing a new track called 'Breme Fell at Hastings' as it included some old Saxon words. So much so that they faded the song out before the end as one of the words sounded a bit like a swear word. This caused much hilarity among the Lancashire audience that their Scouse neighbours might be upset by some strong language.

On a more serious note Steve gave us an update on his son who has been quite seriously ill over a number of years. I'm sure I wasn't the only audience member who recalls the Show of Hands gig at Lancaster University when Steve had had to return home suddenly due to his son's illness and left Phil Beer and bass player Miranda Sykes to play the gig without him. But the good news is that his son has recently finished a course of treatment and is now much better. Steve then played the SoH song 'The Dive' which he said he had found very difficult to play when his son had been unwell. The song relates the story of a lad who surfaces when his air is running low only to find that his marker buoy had broken loose and the boat with his father in it was nowhere to be seen.

Other highlights included 'Tall Ship Story' with Steve strumming away on his cuatro (a South American ukulele-type instrument) and 'The Napoli', a song about the ship that ran aground several years ago and was one of many songs the audience was encouraged to sing along to - “scratch Joe Public, what's underneath – a looter and a pirate and a thief!”

Thanks should go to Nikki from ImageAcoustic who arranged the gig and she is bringing another member of Show of Hands, Miranda Sykes with Rex Preston to Ellel Village Hall on Saturday the 16th of April. Tickets are availalble from

Another gig to mention is Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman who are playing at More Music in Morecambe on Saturday the 9th of April. More info and tickets from

Colin Bertram
12 March 2016

Friday, 11 March 2016

Sea shore mix

Steve Knightley is on a "All At Sea" tour and is playing at Glasson Dock near Lancaster tonight, Friday 11th March. There are numerous folk songs about the sea, ships, sailors and the like so I've put this mix together. Check out where else Steve is playing this year at

Listen to the mix at

Steve Knightley - Tall Ships Story
The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - Talon's Trip to Thompson Island
Cara Dillon - The Shore of Lough Bran
The Rails - Jealous Sailor
June Tabor - Shipbuilding
Steeleye Span - Dark Eyed Sailor
Breabach - The White Sands of Jervis Bay
Annie Raitt & Brigit Forsyth - Sand
Kate Rusby - Bring Me A Boat
Jim Neild - The Black Sails
Rowan Ross - Sail Through
Barrule - The King of the Sea
Richard Thompson - Johnny's Far Away
Show of Hands - The Falmouth Packet Haul Away Joe

Friday, 4 March 2016

Off The Beaten Tracks 4 March

Two tracks on this week's show from Breabach's new album Astar. Listen to the show at

After a whirlwind five years traversing the globe, touring Australia, New Zealand, Asia, North America, Scandinavia and the middle East, Breabach are delighted to announce their fifth studio album Astar (translating from Scottish Gaelic as distance or journey). The music on the album takes inspiration from the beauty of both the places and people the band have visited and the wonderful musicians and cultures encountered along the way.

Breabach unites the talent of Ewan Robertson (guitar/vocals), James Lindsay (double bass), Megan Henderson (fiddle/vocals/stepdance), Calum MacCrimmon (pipes/whistles/bouzouki/vocals) and James Mackenzie (pipes/flute/whistles). Since launching their career as winners of the Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections in 2005 the band have steadily moved from strength to strength, picking up accolades and performing at esteemed events along the way. 

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman play at More Music in Morecambe on Saturday 9th April at 7.30pm. Support comes from The Low Countries and The Lighthouse Keepers.

The Eskies - Jesus Don't Save Me
Breabach - Murwai
Juey - Gin
Hamish Napier - The Dance
Nuala Kennedy - Fair Annie of the Loch Royanne
Joanne Levey - Rain and Snow
The Low Countries - Everyon'e Mental
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - The Red Barn
Emily Smith - The Earl of Darwin's Farewell
Breabach - Ciosich A Ruin
Daimh - O Fair a-nall am Botal
The Imagined Village - Space Girl

Emily Smith with the Darwin Song Project at the Shrewsbury Festival in 2009