St Albans Concert and Ninebarrow on Countryfile

On Friday 26 March at 8.00pm, Folk at the Maltings, St Albans presents an online concert with Lizzy Hardingham plus New Roots finalists Cathy Bennett and Robbie Sherratt.

Hertfordshire-based based folk musician and songstress, Lizzy Hardingham, is a powerhouse performer with “beautifully delivered songs that sing straight to the heart”. 2019 saw her storm the UK folk club and festival scene, including Cambridge Folk Festival, while in 2020 she captivated online audiences with “a voice that could fill a stadium and the sensitivity to bring a room to attentive silence”. Having recently been nominated for Fatea’s Female Artist of the year, Lizzy is currently being mentored by Young’uns Michael Hughes under the English Folk Expo artist mentoring programme and working on “firmly nailing her place as one of the rising stars of the folk scene”.

Cathy Bennett sings a mixture of traditional and recently composed songs in both Cornish and English and also plays the viola, sometimes using it to accompany her singing.

Robbie Sherratt is a fiddle player from the Staffordshire Moorlands. His debut album ‘Provenance’ draws from traditional music and melodies in and around his home county.

Tickets are £10 for individuals, £15 for two people using the same device, and £20 for three or more people using the same device. Concessions are £8, £12 for two people sharing the same device and £15 for three or more.

And on Sunday 28 March at 6pm, Dorset duo Ninebarrow (Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere) are due to appear on BBC-1’s flagship rural affairs programme Countryfile.

Jon and Jay hard at work planting their woodland

To celebrate the recent release of their fabulous new album ‘A Pocket Full of Acorns’ and tying in with the arboreal title of the recording, Jon and Jay decided to set about redressing their touring carbon footprint by planting the Ninebarrow Woodland on three acres of land near Gillingham in north Dorset – no mean feat as it numbered 1,000 native English trees (including 500 oaks) and 200 shrubs.

The new album ‘A Pocketful of Acorns’

Supported by a 75% grant from The Woodland Trust as part of their MOREwoods initiative and 25% from a crowdfunder, the project also ties in with the Plant Britain campaign, a two year challenge launched by BBC Countryfile, aimed at getting the nation planting in the light of climate change.

The album’s title track was triggered by the inspirational true story of Newcastle-on-Tyne born Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, Lord Nelson’s second-in-command at the Battle of Trafalgar.

At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, the grand ships of the Royal Navy were built from mighty oaks and became concerned that forests were being depleted. Fearful for the future of the Navy and the nation he took to carrying acorns in his pockets, planting them in suitable places as he went on his rambles. Says Jay: “The story really touched us. The notion of using one’s time on earth to help secure a future for those who come after us seems to have been lost in modern times.”

Nominated for the coveted Horizon award (Best Emerging Act) at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards thepair have carved themselves a distinctive niche on the folk roots scene for their outstanding harmonies, high production values, and engaging original songs.

Says Jon: “Our music will always be inspired by the incredible landscape and history of our native Dorset as well as our sense of home and belonging. But these days we can’t help but be moved by the many changes happening to our planet and society – we hope this fourth studio album reflects that.”

PS. Don’t forget the clocks go forward at 01.00am on Sunday 28 March – I’d hate you to miss something you were looking forward to.

Stay safe and keep supporting live music.

St Patrick’s Day Craic

Baldock Folk Club in Hertfordshire is organising a special St Patrick’s Day event online.

In normal times, 17th March would see streams of black porter flowing around the pubs of North Herts, with plenty of shamrocks, harps and other paraphernalia such as oversized leprechaun hats adorning happy partygoers celebrating the annual feast of Saint Patrick.

Local Irish musicians, dancers and singers would also be rushing from gig to gig in the area over the busiest few days of their year.

Alas, for the second year in a row, this will not be happening as pubs are still shut and no parades or music outside are allowed.

However, riding to the rescue locally is Baldock Folk Club, which for its 25th virtual show, is putting on a St Patrick’s Day spectacular featuring singers and musicians not only from the local talent pool but nationally and internationally, incorporating acts from Ireland, Scotland and Europe.

Joint club organiser Brian Burke said: “The virtual shows have gone down really well over the past 10 months with an ever-growing audience on Facebook and views as far away as Australia and Canada, as well as Baldock and Ashwell!

Wishing all of you a Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

Let the Music Play…..

We may be locked down but there’s plenty of music to get us through!

  • There are still three more days (12-14 March) of a full programme of online and socially distanced events for ‘The Gathering: A Celebration of the Spirit of Vin Garbutt‘ curated by ‘The Wild Rover’ Mike Mcgrother. The events celebrate the life, music and legacy of the much loved and much lamented Teeside Troubadour. For all information and tickets go to If you’re quick, you can even catch the show that went out last evening (available until tonight).
  • On Sunday 13 March at 8.00pm, Firebrand Music presents Miranda Sykes Live with Cotleigh Brewery. The performance on YouTube will consist of a 45 minute set from Miranda, followed by a 10 minute interval, then the gig starts again at 8.55pm for another 45 minute set. Miranda will be available for an optional Q&A session after the gig via Zoom. Ticket price is per household, allowing any number of people in your residence to watch. However, if more than one person is watching in your home and you can afford it, please buy the appropriate number of tickets as you would at a concert as this helps both the artist and the venue. Tickets are available here and sales will close at midday on Saturday 13 March 2021.
  • Live to Your Living Room are presenting some awesome gigs online. On Saturday 13 March at 8.00pm four members of Dervish will be pulling out all the stops to put on a fabulous show. On Sunday 14 March at 3.00pm the fantastic Keith Donnelly, Geordie, tall-tale-telling-singer-songwriter-guitarist. is providing some much-needed light relief with his Family Show. Full details and tickets on the website. And later in March and April there are concerts with Iona Lane, James Delarre, Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting, and The Young ‘Uns and many more.
  • On Sunday 21 March at 7.30pm, there’s a special double header from Show of Hands. A ‘fly on the wall’ film about the the making of the ‘Wake the Union’ CD plus ‘Show of Hands and the ‘Urban Soul Orchestra’ in their 2013 concert at Shrewsbury Folk Festival. The DVD & tickets for the stream link are available now from the Show of Hands shop on their website.
  • On Saturday 10 April at 7.30pm BST, Joshua Burnell and his full band present ‘For One Stream Only’ – a live-streamed concert in a great space, with great lighting, great sound and great camera quality – basically, recreating their live show for you in lockdown. They promise entertainment and escapism is equal measure, performing songs from Flowers Where The Horses Sleep – described as “Outstanding” by Folk Radio UK – as well as some brand-new songs alongside tried and tested classics from Joshua’s previous albums. If you’re new to Joshua Burnell’s music, ​The Guardian described it as, ​”… adding lashings of Peter Gabriel stylings to the world of trad arrangements,” and he was recently winner of the Rising Star award in the Folk Awards. You could call it ‘Folk-fused baroque ‘n’ roll for the modern world’. Tickets available from the Veeps website here.

NB Please check times of the gigs carefully – as the clocks go forward one hour in late March in the UK.