11th October – Maria Dunn and Shannon Johnston

Irvine Folk Club first heard Maria Dunn & Shannon Johnson two years ago and they were terrific. The excellent news is that they are back at the Irvine Club to top the bill on Wednesday 11th October. It’s part of the duo’s month long UK tour.
Both are based in Alberta in Canada and the UK tour will feature songs from Maria Dunn’s sixth album – Gathering. One reviewer has described it as essential listening and that figures as the album was nominated in the 2017 Juno awards in the Trad Roots Album of the year category.
Maria Dunn was born in Scotland but moved to Ontario with her parents as a young child. She plays guitar, accordion and whistle and her playing can move seamlessly from folk to bluegrass to country. Based in Edmonton in Alberta, Maria has a formidable songwriting talent. Many of her songs reflect the resilience and grace of ‘ordinary’ people. Her song about the quiet courage of families supporting their children with disabilities being just one example. Maria’s hope is that her songs will make for a more compassionate take on today’s world.
All of Maria’s albums have been produced by Shannon Johnson, one of Western Canada’s most-in-demand record producers. Shannon is an exceptional violinist and has won many violin and fiddle awards at national and international level. Along with her two brothers, she is a member of The McDades: a well-established and much respected band in Canada and in Europe. Shannon also has an excellent voice and is said to have a raucous sense of humour.
Maria Dunn & Shannon Johnson are in the not-to-be-missed category, so make sure you are in the Irvine Folk Club audience on Wednesday 11th October to hear them. The Club starts at 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, it’s BYOB and there’s a Café.
Finally, it was with great sadness that news was received of the death of Dick McAllister. Dick was a faithful supporter of Irvine Folk Club and Marymass Folk Festival. Along with his wife Maureen and Willie Sinclair he was a member of the Gaitherers in which he did vocals and played the guitar and of course his beloved banjo. Jokes about banjo players are many and Dick took them all in good part sometimes himself regaling audiences with new ones he had heard! He was also a frequent and able MC at the Club and Festival. Dick refused to let a cancer diagnosis blight his life and his spirited and dogged determination to keep on going is something that will live long in the memory. At the Club last week in tribute to Dick, Dominic Boyce led the audience in What’s the life of a man followed by a heartfelt minute’s applause. The sympathy of everyone at Irvine Folk Club goes to Maureen and the family.