Ellie Gowers

Friday 18th November 2022

Another sold out concert so quite an intense space for a lone musician to stand in and perform. But Ellie Gowers bellies her years and kicked off an assured evening with an unaccompanied vocal that showed just why so many people are citing her as one to watch. We’ve had folk singers from al over the country and many of the stories they tell have had their origins in Ireland, Scotland or the north of England. So it was a delight to hear Ellie’s tales of lock down walks and research into the less well known history of her beloved county of Warwickshire. We were even treated to a song about a horse from Ilmington!

Ellie has a warm, engaging presence and was perfect for the friendly intimacy of Ryepiece. She told the stories behind her songs while switching tuning on her guitar. And the way she got lost in the characters in her songs was very compelling. This clip is from Brightest Moon, which told the story of how families bombed out of Coventry during the war, were welcomed by the people of Kenilworth, only for further tragedy to strike when Kenilworth itself was attacked.

Many of the songs came from her debut album – ‘Dwelling by the Weir’ – and it seemed like most of the audience queued to buy a copy during the interval or at the end of the night. Featuring an impressive array of musicians to subtly fill out the musical setting without detracting from Ellie’s crystal clear vocals, the album is well worth getting hold of.

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The food was prepared by Bev and dropped off before she dashed down to London for a family celebration. A lovely vegan Tagine it was served by Louise and Moira who just happened to have jumpers to match the food!

 

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Cate Cody

Cate Cody and her two fabulous musicians – pianist Dave Newton and double bass player Tom Mark – gave us a perfect evening of timeless tunes from the Great American songbook of the 1930s and 40s. Some we knew, some we didn’t but the all had a stamp of Cate’s own vocal interpretations and simply jaw dropping improvisation by Dave and Tom. Each song started with a small huddle as the three agreed how they’d start then off they went. The jettisoned songs from the planned set and added others. There were great solos and wonderful interplay. Everyone had a big smile on their face and looked very chilled by the end of the evening.

As the nights draw in and it poured outside, this was just what the doctor ordered. Two big hugs of sets in a packed Ryepiece Barn.

A lovely, lovely evening.

[Photo by Russ Inman]

Cate asked us not to record during her concert as se finds it too distracting. But here’s a recording of her singing Close Your Eyes.

Cate’s recorded three CDs and you can order them all from her website here.

Janice Burns & Jon Doran

Friday 20 May 2022

It took us ages to actually get them to Ettington, what with a year in Norway, Uni studies in Scotland and of course the dreaded P word. But when the day finally arrived it was well worth the wait. Lovely sensitive playing – guitar and mandolin – and two voices that sound like they were made to be heard together.

Two very varied sets and plenty of the stories behind the songs and how they came across them.

A rowdy sing a long or two helped get everyone going.

Janice and Jon have a summer of festivals ahead of them and then an autumn tour to promote their first album which is out in the Autumn.

Update. You can buy it from their Bandcamp page here. Have a listen first on Spotify.

You can read more about Janice and Jon here.

Mishra

Friday 8th April 2022

Well what a delight. Kate, Ford, Joss and John were such a lovely bunch. They brought the biggest array of instruments we’ve ever had at Rypiece and used every single one at some point in their varied and surprising sets. They all met at Sheffield University where three were studying music and chose the Indian classical music module taught by John. Their interest in folk and Indian music grew and Mishra (meaning mixture in Indian) was formed.

Several people were overheard saying this was their favourite concert yet. That’s quite an accolade given the talent that’s come to Ryepiece over the years.

You can read more about Mishra here.

Filkin’s Drift

Friday 4th March 2022

Filkin’s Drift (Chris Roberts & Seth Bye) combined the traditional and the contemporary, blending fiddle, guitar, and mandolin with their close vocal harmonies to create a wonderful evening of music to kick off our 2022 season. So full of joie de vivre and raw energy…they were just what we all needed to cheer us up at the end of a dreary winter. With two friends from Gifford’s Circus (where Seth plays) to watch them they brought some welcome youth and fun to Ryepiece.

Chris and Seth can both play but they also have a lovely easy, warm way of engaging with their audience and each other that really made the evening.

They chatted to lots of people in the interval and long after the concert ended. There was a queue of people wanting a copy of their EP and delegation from Lighthorne Folk Club who were in the house has booked them to play there later in the year.

A lovely sweet potato curry was prepared for us by Bev, even though she was unable to join us on the night. Thank you Bev.

All in all a great night and it’s got us all excited about our next two concerts – both musicians that Chris and Seth know. It’s a small musical world.

You can read more about Filkin’s Drift here.

Gerry Colvin Band

We had no idea when Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow finished their last encore on 28th February 2020 that we’d have to postpone our next five concerts and that even as autumn approached indoor live music was still going to be completely verboten. So we started to think about an outdoor gig. Even this proved quite a challenge. Only 30 people were allowed to gather in a private garden; we needed a one way route to the loo and had to have all the seats in socially distanced bubbles.

We spoke with our dear friend Gerry Colvin and after a few more bumps in the road were able to put on two, one hour, back to back concerts with Gerry, guitarist Lyndon Webb and Marion Fleetwood on fiddle and vocals. It was so so good to hear some live music again and we were treated to some of the new material which Gerry and the gang have been working on. Some great new classics in the making here. The weather was kind to us, the courtyard garden at Ryepiece was looking fabulous and a joyous afternoon was had by all.

Thank yo to everyone who came along and a massive thank you to Gerry, Lyndon and Marion for lifting our spirits.

Here’s Tunnel to the Moon from the first concert. You can buy this and nine other great new songs on the album Fully Functioning Wind up Mechanism from Gerry’s website here.

Kit Hawes & Aaron Catlow

Amazing!

If it’s possible, then they were even better this time than when they blew us away in May 2018.

Funnier. Better stories. Great new tunes. The best of The Fox material. And playing that was even more vibrant and joyous.

We hope to have a film of their encore here soon.

We’ll definitely be getting these guys back in the future.

The Breath

The Breath is, strictly speaking, a four piece band but at its core are guitarist Stuart McCallum and singer and flautist, Rioghnach Connolly who co-write all their songs. They have recorded versions of their songs as a band and as a duo and have played a few gigs as a duo too.

After watching Stuart play a solo set in Manchester about a year ago he agreed to bring the duo version of The Breath to Ryepiece. Originally the gig was scheduled for November just as Rioghnach landed the BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year Award…but she was poorly after the birth of her first baby and we had to rearrange.

It was worth the wait.

Stuart’s playing was unbelievable.  He’s surely one of the best guitarists in the world right now. (We’ll have to get him back to do a solo set some time). And Rioghnach’s voice was awesome.

What made the gig even more remarkable was that they’d played at Celtic Connections in Glasgow…the night before!

Baby Macha came along too and she was as good as gold – sat on dad’s lap – and fed before each set.

 

The Little Unsaid

Fair to say that The Little Unsaid brought the house down.

We’ve never had a four piece ‘band’ before…with keyboards, a drum kit and all the associated leads, mic stands and general paraphernalia. It meant using the raised area at one of the room to fit them in….with the audience in slightly more orderly rows than usual.

This doesn’t really do justice to what each musician played but it’s reasonable approximation…..

John Elliott – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Sonny Johns – bass, knobs

Alison D’Souza – viola, keyboards

Tim Heymerdinger – drums, backing vocals, keyboards

The band played two 45 minute sets built from songs from across their three albums and recent six track EP Music:Nature. They started quietly with ‘Willow’ from Atomise and slowly but surely the band and audience began to connect so that by the end of the first set there was really warm and enthusiastic applause.

The second set was a bit more muscular (!) with a few songs building to stomping crescendos that had a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of ‘Chain’ and another after the powerful encore ‘Alive As’.

People wanted more and eventually John came onto the stage on his own and played a beautiful, wrinkly new song called ‘Dolly’ that is still very much a work in progress…

The full set is here:

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We had a lovely mixed audience. A few hardened Little Unsaid fans…including a couple who’d already seen them play in Oswestry and Birmingham. We had a man who’d seen one of our posters while walking his dog. And another had seen a leaflet in Insomnia after the talk by Mark Wood. We had lots of regulars too and most only new the band’s music from the few youtube videos we’ve been sharing. But by the end the room was filled with love for The Little Unsaid and a real connection.

I’m sure we’d have them back in a couple of years time…but I fear they’ll have grown too big for Ryepiece by then. They were off to play The Railway Inn in Winchester on Saturday and then the last night of this particular tour, in London on Monday.

If you do get a chance to see them live then do. The albums are good but live, as so often, is a whole different experience.