At the Black Swan on March 26th we welcomed Lyra Celtica, from Rothbury. Lynn, Frank and Mark raised the roof and the floor was no doubt thumping away for the pub guests downstairs as they played a set ranging from high energy jigs and reels, through Scots songs delivered in a powerful deep tone by Frank, to some quite beautiful slow airs. Our thanks to this trio who brought in a packed house, the most we have yet seen in the Swan.
For April, we had a previous two-times guest at the club, American folksingerDebra Cowan, making a special appearance at the Cobbles Inn on SaturdayApril 10th with the support of TMSA Borders. TMSA is the Scottish traditional music and song association. Debra astounded us with her Harvey Leach Voyage-Air – a handmade prototype of the folding airline friendly guitar which the US Dragons’ Den sharks failed to grab!
The bad news is that the day before Debra arrived, TMSA ran out of national funding and announced that its head office staff would be made redundant on May 6th, which duly happened. It is a credit to the staff that the annual remittance to the Borders branch was made before their jobs ended. This does not dissolve TMSA which remains with a committee and the same mission, but without the financial backing for its offices and staff.
Kelso Folk and Live Music Club is an affiliated club of TMSA and took the decision not to require the agreed under-writing of Debra’s appearance but to leave the Borders branch with a balance in hand for future activities.
On April 30th, much-travelled (and much recorded by other artists) songwriter Allan Taylor appeared at the Black Swan. Allan’s songs are crafted to ‘industry standard’ quality and he’s been on the road with concert tours, to festivals, to Europe, to the USA for many years. Allan certainly presented one of the most professional yet personal evening we have had, thoughtful and entertaining. He continues a tradition of truly excellent solo performers in our small Kelso venues.
(Archive article – refers to 2010) The club held an Open Mic at the ACE Centre, Abbotseat Ice Rink, Gof Course Road, from 7.30pm, run by Peter Fry and friends from 2010 onwards, moving from this venue in January 2016, with a brief period at The Golf Club while the ACE was closed for rebranding as The Planet youth centre.
Here’s Peter, with Rick Harris on nylon string guitar lead, doing one of his songs – Take a Moment – at the Black Swan where the open mic was held until the 2010 move to the ACE. This session is replaced, now, by the early Friday evening meeting at The Oak Room, Cross Keys Hotel:
There will be a busy weekend of music centred round Kelso Folk and Live Music Club’s sessions and guests, alongside the buzz of St James’s Fair in the town square this weekend. Here is our full programme:
From Friday June 5th at Le Jardin we will showcase the individual talents of members and visitors in an open mic format. Although the spotlight is just right for one performer, participation may be requested to back up solos – and duos, trios or small groups are welcome to do the slot, which should be limited to three songs or tunes/sets. A single microphone and small amplifier will be provided.
Anyone interested in contributing a 15-minute maximum set should contact David Kilpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org). The open mic will run from 7.30pm to 10.00pm, followed by our usual late night session at The Cobbles Inn.
This new format is at the request of June and John of Le Jardin. They have new plans for July onwards, our regular arrangements for the early Friday session may need to change and we are keeping in touch about this. No future bookings or guests are affected
On Monday June 15th we have the chance to present a duo gaining a big following – Chris and Thomas. They have been compared to the Byrds as well as to Simon and Garfunkel, as a visit to their website will show you. The Cobbles Inn is not normally open on a Monday, but this time it will be, and the concert will be held downstairs in a true pub atmosphere with table seating – admission will be £8 on the door, and the public will not be admitted to the pub for this special night!
Doors open at 7.30pm, and there will be a short floor spot opening from 7.45-8.15pm. Club members who would like to do a spot should notify David Kilpatrick in advance, and must arrive before 7.30pm. Chris and Thomas are perhaps the most ambitious act the club has booked and they are dedicated to getting a studio quality sound regardless of the venue. This really will be a special night as well as the first time we have dared schedule anything for a Monday. It will not end late – you can expect to be off and away not long after 10pm. They will be doing a single 90-minute set.
On Saturday June 20th we have another guest – this time, free! David Leask, Border singer and guitarist who is now well-known in Canada, returns to Kelso – 20 years ago David had a regular gig at the Cross Keys Hotel. This is an extra night on our programme, David will do a two-half set starting around 9.30pm downstairs.
Then, on July 11th when the first Saturday of Civic Week and the arrival of the British Motorcycle Federation meeting coincide, we have a fantastic upstairs Saturday concert followed by an extra downstairs session. Our guests are one of the top Scots folk names, North Sea Gas – in the tradition of Silly Wizard, Battlefield Band, and the Corries they combine excellent musicianship with powerful songs. This will be a £5 admission concert.
Completing our arrangements so far for 2009, our Friday night Le Jardin guests for the St James’s Fair weekend (September 4th-6th 2009) are the Matt Seattle Band. Matt is an old friend, and his new band is underpinned by Donald Knox on guitar, another familiar face from his appearances as part of Carlenjig. Here’s a poster for their Sunday April 26th 2009 Denholm Meet gig.
At the Cobbles, we then have a St James’s Fair Saturday night downstairs free concert from Sandy Brechin and Ewan Wilkinson – again, top Scottish vocal and instrumental talent. We will also have a Sunday afternoon traditional session again for the fair weekend, guest anchors to be confirmed.
Kieran Halpin gave us a first concert night at Le Jardin with an audience of 46 (not counting our three supporting artists, Iain Petrie with Anna and Hannah as ‘Gypsy Soul Trio’). We were pleased to welcome many of Kieran’s fans who are well known to us, as well as new faces and regulars. Kieran performed two 40 minute sets and an encore, a simple set-up with his AER amp and mic – just one guitar, one man, one voice but a wealth of songs.
Here is the first video ready from the performance: Letter to America
And here is ‘Walk Like a Champion’:
The opening support act was Iain Petrie with part of his Gypsy Soul Band – Anna and Hannah singing harmony:
Seen through the ‘window’ between the comfy bit and the main room at Le Jardin – one or two audience members sat in here because the sound was fine and there was lots more space.