believable, but Stephen Quigg will be 60 on Burns Day and, on Wednesday 29th
January – by dint of careful planning,
his wife Pernille and him top the bill that night at Irvine Folk Club. Let’s
hope for an especially tuneful rendition of Happy Birthday to You!
born Stephen started out at Irvine Folk Club when it was at The Eg and that means
he has been on the folk circuit for almost 40 years. Jings, how did that
happen! Underlying Stephen’s successful
and longstanding musical career is a very fine singing voice and sustained hard
work. He carved out a successful solo career with his terrific vocals and thoughtful
instrumental accompaniment. In 2001,
Stephen joined The McCalmans and managed to combine his solo career with a life
with The Macs. Just in case you have
been on the moon, The Macs called it a day in 2011. Stephen then formed a duo
with fellow ex-Mac, the late Nick Keir and still kept up his solo gigs. In
recent years, Stephen & Pernille have become an established musical duo
touring in Scotland and Europe.
acoustic guitar and his superb balance of voice and instrument is something
that many other artists would do well to copy.
He also plays bodhran and, not often enough, the banjo. Traditional
ballads as well as well- chosen contemporary material are his repertoire. He
works hard to keep set lists fresh and it certainly pays off. Stephen also has
a nice line in deadpan humour. And now with Pernille on stage alongside him,
Stephen is a happy bunny – a happy 60 year old bunny.
It will be good
to have Pernille & Stephen Quigg as the special guests at Irvine Folk Club
on Wednesday 29th January. There is a strong possibility that some
of Stephen & Pernille’s musical friends in the folk world will be along on
the 29th at the Irvine Club. The venue is Vineburgh Community Centre
in Quarry Road and the first notes start at 8pm.
Celtic Connections is in full swing at venues across Glasgow. Go online for
Irvine Folk Club starts back Wednesday 15th January
with a Canadian duo whose music is described as buzzing with energy. They are
Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald and after doing the Irvine gig, they are
playing at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections for three nights before returning to
Canada. So, make the most of the opportunity to hear them in Irvine.
American born Ben now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Anita
is from Little Narrows in Nova Scotia. They play Scottish Lowland Pipes and
Cape Breton Fiddle with Gaelic song and step-dance. Described as one of the
most important folk acts in Cape Breton Island today, Ben and Anita blend the
threads of old and new world traditions by playing great music very well in a
refreshing and entertaining style.
Ben and Anita have won all sorts of awards in the music business
and are in demand around the globe as musicians and educators. They have played
at Celtic Colours International Festival, Tonder in Denmark, Edinburgh Fringe
plus festivals in Texas, California and Maine in the USA, not forgetting
Austria, Italy and Switzerland!
A Day at
the Lake was Ben and Anita’s debut album. On occasion, Ben and Anita
team up with multi-instrumentalist Zakk Cormier from Prince Edward Island and
go on tour. The sometimes trio released
an album South Haven to wide critical
Seems like Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald will kick off the
year at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 15th January in excellent
style. The Club starts at 8pm, it’s BYOB, there’s a very good café and it all
happens at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road.
Leaflets giving a list of artists appearing at the Irvine Club
are available from Libraries across North Ayrshire plus various other places.
The same info is also available online at www.irvinefolkclub.org.uk
Irvine Folk Club could be said to be saving the best till last
as Tim Edey is the special guest on Wednesday 18th December – the final
night of the Club’s year. He is described as a highly entertaining musical
genius and this will be Tim Edey’s first visit to Irvine.
Multi-instrumentalist with a superb singing voice, Tim Edey is
a former BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year and is one of the world’s finest
guitarists and melodeon players. He is also no slouch on a variety of other
instruments including piano, banjo and whistles.
Brought up in Kent and now living in Perthshire, Tim honed his
guitar style from his Dad Richard and listening to the likes of Steve Cooney
and Django Reinhardt. Tim has several albums to his name including recordings
with Brendan Power and J.P. Cormier. He tours world-wide and has worked with
The Chieftains, Christy Moore, Ry Cooder, Paul Brady, Sharon Shannon, Natalie
McMaster plus many, many more. Tim has also appeared on Jools Holland on many
The Irvine Club audience can expect beautiful chorus songs
plus a range of contrasting types of music including folk, jazz, blues and
celtic. And, for those who want to improve on their guitar or melodeon skills, Tim
does lessons via Skype and FaceTime – maybe make an ideal present!
To hear the immensely talented Tim Edey, be at Vineburgh
Community Centre in Quarry Road on Wednesday 18th December for 8pm.
It’s BYOB and there’s a café. Irvine Folk Club starts back in the new year on
Wednesday 15th January when the guests will be Canadian duo Ben
Miller & Anita MacDonald.
Jim Malcolm – the man who plays simultaneous guitar and
harmonica to an exceptional standard – is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday
4th December and, for the first time here, playing in a duo with his
Jim Malcolm is known as a quality performer – very polished
and very relaxed. Since he last played at Irvine some three years ago, Jim and
his wife Susie now go out as a duo. He
is an accomplished songwriter but for many it is his thoughtful interpretations
of traditional Scottish music that is his great strength. Jim is a longtime admirer of the works of
Burns and one of his solo CDs Acquaintance
is made up entirely of the Bard’s compositions. But Jim can sing in
The outstanding and confident guitar work and subtle harmonica
playing of Jim just have to be heard. He is a master of inventiveness. So don’t
be altogether surprised if you hear a Calypso or Jazz rhythm now and then. Add to that, quality vocals from both Jim
& Susie and it makes for a talented musical package. Holding the music
together is Jim’s wry humour plus the history and story of the songs. A
particular love of his and a source for his choice of much of his material is
the wildlife and nature of the Angus Glens – and probably features strongly on their
most recent album, The Berries.
The Berries is the
second duet album the Malcolms have released. This is in addition to a solo
album by Susie, Jim’s 13 solo albums as well as albums recorded when Jim was
lead singer with Old Blind Dogs for eight years. In short, it adds up to a lot
of material much of which has been written by Jim.
As well as playing at clubs and festivals, Jim and Susie,
organise and lead Tours of Scotland which have gone down a storm – they are now
taking bookings for 2021! The Malcolms
are two very busy people and still manage to tour extensively in the UK, Europe
So, to re-acquaint yourself
with troubadour Jim Malcolm or to hear the talented Jim & Susie Malcolm for
the first time, get along to Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 4th
December for 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. You’ll be glad
The duo, Winter Wilson is back at Irvine Folk Club on
Wednesday 20th November and you are well advised not to miss them.
One reviewer says that if you can’t get to a gig by the husband and wife duo of
Kip Winter & Dave Wilson, then buy a CD!
This will be their third visit to the Irvine Club and on both
previous occasions they were very well received. The superb harmonies of Kip
and Dave, their musicianship plus their off-the-wall humour all makes for an
Having turned turned full-time professional musicians in 2012,
a glance at their busy touring schedule indicates that it was the right choice
for Kip and Dave. This year, apart from touring the UK, they have also
performed in Australia, Spain, Belgium and Canada and still found time to release
their first and long-awaited live album Live
& Unconventional. That makes 10 albums to their name.
Kip’s nomadic upbringing saw her being raised in Holland,
Germany, England, Scotland and France. She just loves singing – anything,
classical to jazz but especially folk and blues. Kip learned to sing harmonies
on long car journeys back to the Outer Hebrides in the family car and as well
as having a fine voice, she plays Accordion, Guitar and Flute.
Lincolnshire man Dave bought his first Yamaha Guitar as a 17
year old and taught himself to play by studying The David Bowie Songbook. As
well as having an excellent voice, Dave plays Guitar and Banjo. On tour, Dave
plays Martin Guitars but at home he loves to play his Fender Strat. His sharp
and observational songwriting talents have put him in the top tier of British
Winter Wilson’s CDs include a song on their Cutting Free album which was written
especially for Kip’s Mum by their good friend the late and much missed Nick
Winter Wilson is a class act. Their faultless harmonies seem
effortless and added to their well-chosen repertoire and easy on-stage chemistry, it all adds up to a duo
well worth a listen. To hear Winter Wilson be at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday
20th November for 8pm at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road where it’s BYOB.
Clarke – the man with the red guitar – is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday
6th November and this time he will have Fairport legend Dave Pegg
with him. For the last ten years, every
November they team up for a tour and happily the Irvine Club is on this year’s
gig list. The Grin & Tonic Tour 2019 is how they title it!
From the minute softly
spoken, fast talking and very engaging Belfast born Anthony John Clarke heard
Barry McGuire’s ‘Eve of Destruction’, he knew he wanted to write songs. He was
hooked. Although having trained as a teacher, the call of music was too strong
and so he followed his calling. His admiration for songwriters is such that for
many years AJ reckoned himself to be very much an apprentice songwriter –
despite by then having songbooks and umpteen albums to his name and being held
in high regard by his peers. AJ’s keen
eye for observation and sharp wit are what sets him apart as a much respected
writer. The perceptive ‘The only life
Gloria knows’ remains one of his most requested songs.
AJ started off
playing a second-hand Eko Ranger 6 as a youngster, and has become well known
for his accomplished playing of a snazzy, red acoustic guitar. He sings songs
that make you sit up and listen, songs that make you laugh, songs that make you
think and most are self-penned.
AJ and Dave Pegg
have been great pals for many years. Dave – or Peggy as he is known to family,
friends and fans – is Fairport’s longest serving member. He also spent 15 years
with Jethro Tull. He plays electric bass like few others and has been described
as a virtuoso player. He also plays mandolin and has a fund of stories and
tales – many of which are included in a book by him called ‘Off the Peg’ – an
autobiography. His friends urged him to write the book so that there was a
Great songs, great
tunes, great stories delivered by two great pals all make for a great gig at
Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 6th November when Anthony John Clarke
and Dave Pegg are the special guests. Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road
is the venue and it’s BYOB.
The much-respected performer Mike Silver has notched up 50 years experience as an acoustic singer and
songwriter and he tops the bill at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 23rd
Starting off as a 15 year old apprentice with the Gas Board
at Croydon, Mike’s greater love of music was too big a pull. His first band,
The Sundowners – a Brylcreemed duo that played Shadow’s material at youth club
dances – was where his musical career started.
In the mid ‘60s the music of Big Bill Broonzy, Bob Dylan and then Gerry
Lockran in particular were his great influences.
Despite his 50 years as a professional musician, Mike flies
under the radar and is another in the ‘best kept secret category’. His
undoubted talents as a songwriter and performer plus his intricate guitar work are
what makes a Mike Silver gig not to be
missed. There is also a tremendous
humour about the man. Mike is particularly pleased that he now has a Music Room
at his home where his acoustic guitars adorn the walls. Guitar aficionados
should visit his website and perhaps drool!
Mike writes thought provoking songs and whilst his set list will
have an emphasis on his self-penned material, it is not to the exclusion of
people like Dylan, Ray Charles plus some traditional melodies.
Playing music every day is for Mike, like having a birthday
every day. Music still fascinates
him. To him it’s a never-ending voyage
of discovery and it’s that kind of enthusiasm that he communicates to
audiences. And in answer to why is he still touring after 50 years, Mike says
it’s the energy he gets from the applause or when someone takes the time to say
‘I liked that’.
Hear Mike Silver at Irvine Folk Club on 23rd October at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
A wee plug for Alastair’s upcoming concert at Ayr Gaiety on Tuesday 22nd October. The concert starts at 7.30pm and promises to be a good night.
Something Very Different
In a departure from the usual way of things at Irvine Folk
Club, on Wednesday 9th October the scheduled special guest Louise
Jordan will be performing her one woman play The Hard Way.
Louise made her first appearance at the Club in 2014. She is a
singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and now a playwright. The Hard Way is
an inspirational story about Hannah Mitchell who by sheer force of character
and with only two weeks of formal schooling escaped drudgery at a remote hill
farm in the Derbyshire Moors to become a campaigner, speaker, writer,
suffragette, councillor and finally a city magistrate in Manchester.
Hannah’s story is told by Louise through storytelling and song
and charts Hannah leaving home as a 14 year old exchanging one exploitative
situation for another – to coming face to face with Winston Churchill in 1906
at a public meeting and spending time in
Strangeways Prison. The Hard Way celebrates one woman’s determination to take
power in the face of insurmountable barriers, motivated by a desire to improve
life for those round her.
In The Hard Way, theatre and folk music combine to make for a
richer experience. Louise is inspired by
the impact music can have on people and The Hard Way follows her play No
Petticoats Here, which tells the story of remarkable women through song.
At Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 9th October, the
first half will be devoted to floor singers and musicians with The Hard Way
being performed in the second half. A different night at Irvine Folk Club. The
Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s
BYOB. There is also a very good café.
The internationally recognised Canadian
folk singer and songwriter James Keelaghan is the very welcome guest at Irvine
Folk Club on Wednesday 25th September – his third appearance at the
Club. He is a terrific artist and it’s great that he is back in Irvine as part
of his current UK tour.
Calgary born but now based in Perth in
Eastern Ontario, James has been in the music business for almost 30 years and
has twelve albums to his name. It’s said that he has one of the most
distinctive and easily identifiable voices in Canada. James is an acclaimed and
popular member of the international singer and songwriter community and his
albums have brought him an impressive share of nominations and awards from
Australia to Scandinavia.
James’ Dad was an Irish man and his Mum
was English and they encouraged James’ interest in language, storytelling and
music. His Dad was a great storyteller
and James says he is still trying to be as good as his Dad. James has a passion
for history and in particular about science and WW1. He writes songs of a historical nature with
underlying universal themes and the tangled emotional paths of human
relationships. James is a baritone and
plays acoustic guitar, as well as his own material, he also does some covers,
Gordon Lightfoot being a favourite.
James’ other passion is reading and
books. In any one year he will get through around 80 books. His songwriting
talent may also have been influenced by his fondness for the work of W.B Yeats
– a fondness which started when he was 14.
As well as touring extensively, James
also leads coach tours in Ireland which are a mix of visits to places off the
beaten track and folk music. He has just completed the most recent one earlier
this month before starting his UK tour with Hugh McMillan.
Hugh is also Canadian and describes
himself as a folk/jazz/rock musician. He is a member of the folk rock band
Spirit of the West and a multi-instrumentalist.
Expect to hear a mix of roots, rock and
contemporary folk when James Keelaghan & Hugh McMillan play at Irvine Folk
Club on Wednesday 25th September in Vineburgh Community Centre. The
Club starts at 8pm.
say, say nothing, when you talk about you know what’ is a line from one of the
seemingly endless flow of original songs by Colum Sands and he is the very welcome guest at Irvine
Folk Club on Wednesday 11th September. It is always good to welcome back to the
Irvine Club this gifted and internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter
from Co Down.
been singing for some 40 plus years, having started out as part of the renowned
Sands Family way back in the early 70s. Hailing from Newry and now resident in
Rostrevor, Colum is a natural stortyteller with a warm, and engaging
personality on and off stage. His songs record life past and present and some
of his work in recent times has helped break down cultural barriers
particularly in places like Israel where he has collaborated and made
recordings with local musicians.
learned to play the fiddle from his late Father, Colum also plays concertina
and is also a fine guitar player. When
he first played in Irvine as part of The Sands Family, he also played the
double bass – but touring with a double bass can be challenging!
Colum is a
hard-working musician, taking his music all over the world and has played in
over thirty countries. As well as
smaller venues like Irvine Folk Club, Colum has played in New York’s Carnegie
Hall and frequently finds that his songs arrive before him, being carried by
other singers or recorded by other performers. His songs have been translated
into German, Dutch, Danish and Hebrew. In addition, since the 1990’s, Colum has
presented BBC Radio Ulster’s Folk Club from Belfast. He has his own independent
label Spring Records and produces albums at his recording studio at home.
five years since Colum’s last appearance at the Irvine Club, so don’t miss the
chance to hear him on Wednesday 11th September. He is one of the
folk scene’s most accomplished and entertaining performers. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre, starts
at 8pm and it’s BYOB.