16th January – Haggardash

Lanarkshire Folk band Haggerdash tops the bill at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 16th January at Vineburgh Community Centre. It’s a good choice to have Haggerdash open the 2019 Club year as playing stuff that people can join in with and having fun is what they do.
There are three band members – Jack Bethel, Alan Jones & Billy Stewart and each of them plays a minimum of three instruments. If they bring everything they play, the Club will be festooned with things you can blow, pluck or bash! Pity the ‘Roadie’ if they have one!
Haggerdash really enjoy what they do and that’s probably why they continue to be asked to play clubs and festivals 30 years on after starting out. Whilst there have been a few line-up changes in that time, all the band members have been involved in Folk music for many years, having played with bands such as Setanta, The Govan Spoonful, Three’s A Crowd and Clachnacuddin. In the main, they play songs and tunes from Scotland and Ireland plus a sprinkling of some self-penned items written by band members.
Alan Jones is a former Irvine Folk Club MC in The Redburn years, before he moved to just outside East Kilbride. He plays Concertina, Bouzouki, Guitar, 5-String Banjo and also does lead vocals. Jack Bethel plays Hammer Dulcimer, Fiddle, Whistle and Concertina. Billy Stewart helped found the band and he plays Bouzouki, Guitar, 5-String Banjo, Harmonica, Bodhran and he sings too.
The Elgin Watch is the title of the most recent Haggerdash CD and includes material written by Alan and Billy as well some trad songs and tunes. Haggerdash play at Clubs all over Scotland and do Festivals too including the Portsoy Boat Festival, Glenfarg, Orkney and Marymass.
On Wednesday 16th, Haggerdash will most likely be a three-strong line-up but on occasion they have been known to bring another musician along. Irrespective of that, at the Irvine Club expect Haggerdash to play a mix of contemporary and traditional material with an emphasis on entertaining the audience. The Irvine Club starts at 8pm, it’s BYOB and there’s a very good café.

19th December – Ian Bruce

Ian McCalman describes him as ‘A performer to be reckoned with’ and that’s a worthy recommendation to go along to Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 19th December to hear Ian Bruce.
It’s a while since Ian has appeared solo at the Irvine Club. Recent times have seen him as part of a duo with Ian Walker and as part of the Auld Hats New Heids show. For anyone who hasn’t been to hear Ian Bruce, expect a big voice, superb acoustic guitar playing and a wide range of material. A well-known face on the Scottish folk scene, Ian is a much acclaimed singer, an accomplished songwriter and a performer who is always prepared to consider new collaborations. For example, a couple of years ago at Norway’s Skagen Festival he teamed up with a 51 strong Norwegian choir to sing The Lea-Rig and from that, a strong bond has developed.
Ian’s own songs include gems such as Child on the green and Too far from she. He was invited to be part of the 12 volume Complete Songs of Robert Burns with his renditions of Lassie Wi’ the Lintwhite Locks and Westlin’ Winds deservedly receiving many plaudits. The man also turns his hand to the inclusion of songs in the Pop idiom. In short, if it’s a good song he will include it – the strong vocals possessed by Ian make it possible.
The past couple of years have seen Ian on tour with Auld Hats New Heids and playing a key role in the hugely popular stage production Far, Far, From Ypres. In addition, he fits in solo tours of the UK and Europe. And, just in case he has time on his hands, he now has a Studio where he records new bands like Sair Banes.
The final night for 2018 at the Irvine Club on Wednesday 19th December with Ian Bruce will be a good way to close the Club year. Make sure you are in the audience at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

5th December – Raging Twilight

Raging Twilight and the Jack Law Band are one and the same and they are the guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 5th December. They have been at the Irvine Club before – in particular Jack Law, whose association with the Club goes back to the early ‘70s.
Raging Twilight is a five-piece band fronted by Jack Law and they play in and around Glasgow and the Central Belt. They describe their music as being ‘woven with soul and laced with blues’ and play original material influenced by blues, roots and americana.
Jack Law is one of the founding members of the band, the others being Dougie Harrison. Leading the band, Jack does vocals plus acoustic, electric and slide guitars as well as mandolin and is a singer and songwriter who formed his first band as a pupil at Clydebank High School. Jack was a founder member of Greenmantle – a superb band of the 1970s who played frequently at the Irvine Club and Marymass Folk Festival. Jack is tremendously proud of his Greenmantle days – a band fondly remembered and still missed!
The remaining four fifths of Raging Twilight are Dougie Harrison on vocals and acoustic, electric and slide guitars; Frenchman Jean-Claude (JC) Danti on vocals, bass and acoustic guitar; Duncan Sloan on keyboards and Colin Paterson on drums and percussion. Dougie, JC, Duncan and Colin also play in a variety of other bands including ‘60s Covers bands, a Jazz Guitar duo, Blues bands, a Country band and an amateur orchestra! Nothing if not varied!
Raging Twilight have one album to their name – much of the material coming from Jack’s extensive travels in the USA and Canada. Jack firmly believes that creativity continues to develop as you get older – ie it’s not the prerogative of the young. On Wednesday 5th December at Irvine Folk Club, the audience will get a chance to check out his contention when Raging Twilight are the guests. The Club starts at 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road and it’s BYOB.
The night before Raging Twilight play at Irvine, Jez Lowe takes his annual Christmas Tour to The Star at Glasgow. The Admiral Bar in Waterloo Street is the venue, and it starts at 7.30pm on Tuesday 4th December.

New Novel

One of our members Mairi Speirs (Robertson) Stan’s daughter has just had her first novel published.
From Everything to Nothing and Back. Its a good read and is available from Waterstone’s and Kindle.
The book will be launched in Waterstone’s Glasgow at 1pm on Sunday 25th November. If you are in
Glasgow on Sunday pop in and support her. Well done Mairi – we are very proud of you.

21st November – Sunjay

Sunjay first appeared at Irvine Folk Club four years ago, and made such an impact that he has played several occasions since at the Club and Marymass Folk Festival. Go along on 21st November and you will understand the reasons for his popularity. Sunjay is a very talented and immensely likeable performer.
From Stourbridge in the West Midlands, Sunjay picked up the guitar at age four and hasn’t put it down since. He won a scholarship at The Royal Wolverhampton School and credits the school with nurturing his talent. At home, his Dad introduced Sunjay to the music of Don McLean and Buddy Holly and now his guitar picking skills are said to be among the very best. Much of Sunjay’s time last year was taken up with a show called Buddy and his fourth album goes under that name with the cover featuring a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.
Sunjay’s undoubted musical talents were recognised nationally as far back as 2012 when he was nominated in BBC2’s Young Folk Awards and since then he has gone from strength to strength. He is a much respected performer in the Folk and Blues world and also draws his material from Country and Rock. He sometimes drops in some of his own compositions. Sunjay plays acoustic guitar with great feeling and intricacy and such is his relaxed stage presence that for all the world you would think he is at home playing music for a few friends. Matching his mastery of the guitar with strong vocals, it’s not difficult to see why Sunjay is a much sought-after performer.
The Irvine date is part of a UK tour. Hear Sunjay for yourself at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 21st November in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Elsewhere, this Friday 16th November at The Harbour Arts Centre Irvine Shelagh McDonald is in concert with Nigel H Seymour. All info from The HAC on 01294 274059.

7th November – Maurice Dickson

Pint-sized and bursting with talent, Maurice Dickson is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 7th November. Belfast born Maurice is a talented musician and has been described as a classic Irish troubadour.

Maurice has been writing, playing and singing and since he was fifteen, and put his first band together at sixteen. A few years later he hung up his engineer’s overalls for a life on the road as a musician. And he hasn’t looked back. His extensive travelling through Europe and North Africa means that he soaked up many musical influences as well as gaining valuable experience as a performer. Being exposed to such a wide range of styles is reflected in his choice of repertoire which does not fit any of the usual categories.

Stunning guitar skills and a strong stage presence are what come to mind when recalling a Maurice Dickson live gig. His folk and blues guitar picking are his trademark. Extensive travelling means he has accumulated a lot of experience and therefore knows the songs that suit his voice. Maurice also has a quirky sense of humour and freely admits to being prone to doing meandering song intros – must be the Irish in him!

He has a number of albums to his name as well as having recorded with Catherine Ashcroft – a fine Whistle and Irish Pipes player. When not touring solo, Maurice and Catherine sometimes go out as a duo. His writing, recording and touring in Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Denmark and the USA keeps Maurice keeps him busy the whole year round.

Guitar players of whatever standard should be at Irvine Folk Club to hear Maurice Dickson, asking themselves ‘How does he do that?!’ Hear this acoustic guitar master at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 7th November starting at 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Caldon Road and remember it’s BYOB.

Looking not so far ahead, the dates for the 2019 Celtic Connection are 17th January – 3rd February. All info from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall or online at Celtic Connections. Tickets can be booked by phone on 0141 353 8000. The litany of names appearing is almost overwhelming, but search around. Diamh, Kathy Mattea, Danu, Gretchen Peters The Young’uns, The Tweed Project, Graham Nash – yes, that Graham Nash ! – plus load of theatre and workshops plus The Rebellious Truth: Celebrating Hamish Henderson and, in a similar vein, Grace & Danger: A Celebration of John Martyn and not forgetting the Gaelic Songs of Beethoven – all of this and more at the 2019 Celtic Connections.

24th October – Fil Campbell and Tom McFarland

Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland are the guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 24th October. The husband and wife duo are no strangers to the area and have included the Irvine Club as part of a promotional tour for their new CD Together.

The CD was produced by Tom at their Ballyneddan Studio in Rostrevor and unusually for them, it includes solo vocals by both Tom and Fil. The overarching theme of Together is peace and reconciliation and all the songs are original.

Fil & Tom’s links with Irvine Folk Club go back to Redburn Hotel days. For those who have not heard them, they play a mix of original, contemporary and trad Irish material. Songs like I wish I knew how it would feel to be free, The Castle of Dromore and Blue Old Saturday Night could all feature in a Fil and Tom set.

Fil was born in Belleek. Her voice is soft and clear and she plays acoustic guitar. She has been involved in the music industry one way or another all her life and in recent times Fil has taken to running a community choir in Rostrevor and being a vocal coach to teenagers and adults.

Belfast born Tom is a talented multi-instrumentalist, backing vocalist and a skilled percussionist. His interest in percussion stretches to instruments from all over the world and his instruments include bodhran, congas, bongos and the African djembe. If something can be hit or shaken then Tom can play it! He is in much demand as a bodhran tutor and session percussionist and has played drums and percussion for a variety of artists including John Wright, David Knopfler and Finbar Furey.

Be prepared to be entertained by the easy on the ear Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 24th October with some understated and subtle arrangements plus sensitive vocals. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

Elsewhere, The Star in Glasgow has the Claire Hastings Duo on 23rd October. The Star Club meets downstairs in The Admiral Bar in Waterloo Street. Looking a little further ahead, Shelagh McDonald is in concert with Nigel H. Seymour at Irvine’s Harbour Arts Centre on Friday 16th November. Tickets and all info are available from The HAC.

10th October – Jinski

Based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, JINSKI are two voices and two guitars and they are the guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 10th October.
This will be a return visit for JINSKI to the Irvine Club. Steve Wegryznski and Dave Kennedy are JINSKI and the name looks as though it could be an amalgam of the two names. They have provided support to such names as The Proclaimers, Lindisfarne and Kathryn Tickell – an indication that the duo are well thought of by people who could invite just about anyone to be on the same bill.
Steve writes songs and before he teamed up with Dave, he was a solo performer who busked and played his way throughout Europe and Scandinavia. Dave is a multi-instrumentalist and is an accomplished producer and arranger. Together they do Festivals, Clubs, Theatres and House Parties playing music that touches Folk, Country and Pop. Their love of a strong melody is what dictates JINSKI’s choice of material. Hurry Home is their latest album and adds to other albums, EPs and one-off Singles they have recorded.
Wednesday 10tH October is the date to hear JINSKI at Irvine Folk Club and Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road is the place. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Elsewhere, dates for the annual The Scottish International Storytelling Festival are 19th – 31st October. It’s for everyone irrespective of age. All info from or 0131 556 9579. And towards the end of the month, Dunfermline Folk Weekend takes place. Dates are 26th – 28th October. All part of keeping music live!

26th September – Tom McConville

Tom McConville is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 26th September. A bonus for those who heard him only a few weeks back at this year’s Marymass Folk Festival – he was just terrific – and a second chance for those who missed him. He is in a class of his own and just gets better every time you hear him.

Tom McConville is a performer, session musician and Fiddle teacher – and in great demand on all three fronts. Tyneside born, Tom’s first experience of traditional singing and fiddle music was in The Globe pub in Newcastle where he was brought up. As ‘the watering hole’ for many in the local Irish and Scottish communities, it explains why Tom’s repertoire although deeply rooted in his native North East, has strong Scottish and Irish influences.

Tom’s Fiddle playing is second to none. He is also a fine singer. Add on a dry Geordie wit and an engaging personality and it makes a formidable package. Tom is much respected by his peers and, on and off stage, is a thoroughly nice bloke. Whether playing fast rhythmic dance tunes, beautiful slow airs, jazz sounds reminiscent of Stephane Grappelli or his fine rendition of Richard Thompson’s Beeswing – the man’s knack of choosing good material and his immense talent shine through.

As well as performing solo, as is expected when at the Irvine Club, Tom tours with a variety of line-ups and accompanists including terrific acoustic guitarists of the calibre of Andy Watt and Dave Newey. Tom’s popularity at Clubs and Festivals is evident from his gig list which takes him to Spring 2020.

Make sure you are in the Irvine Folk Club audience on Wednesday 26th September at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road for 8pm to hear Tom McConville. It’s BYOB at the Irvine Club.

Elsewhere, another very talented fellow will be playing at The Star on Tuesday 25th September – Colum Sands. Gifted songwriter and teller of tall tales, Colum is well worth a trip to The Star which meets downstairs at The Admiral Bar in Glasgow’s Waterloo Street. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Dunbar Trad Music Festival is on from 21st – 24th September and Findhorn Bay Festival from 26th September – 1st October.