25th April – John Graham and Jim Jack

A new duo is at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 25th April in the shape of John Graham & Jim Jack. John is a veteran of The Clydesiders and will be familiar to some people.
The Clydesiders, a five-piece band formed in the 70’s, were regular guests at Irvine Folk Club when folk music was at its zenith with artists like Matt McGinn, The Clutha and The Laggan also on the go. Those with good memories and age on their side will remember the strong singing and really good harmonies of The Clydesiders – Sandy Kelso and John Graham are two band members who readily come to mind. Songs like Band O’ Shearers and The Land o’ the Leal featured in Clydesiders’ set lists.
Move on a wheen of years and whilst The Clydesiders are no more, ex-band member John Graham has teamed up with Jim Jack to form a duo. John plays Fiddle and sings and Jim plays Guitar. Well-chosen trad and contemporary material will most likely be the focus of John and Jim.
Wednesday 25th April at Irvine Folk Club in Vineburgh Community Centre with guests John Graham & Jim Jack will be a night for joining in with well-known songs – and that’s always appreciated at the Irvine Club. 8pm is the start time and it’s BYOB.
Elsewhere, an interesting event takes place on Saturday 21st April when friends of the late Brian Brown will get together to raise funds for the Music Fund of Cuba. This was one of the many causes which Brain supported by dint of hard work. The aim is raise enough money to get a plaque on a seat in The Mirimar Theatre in Havana in memory of Brian. The event starts at 12noon in the Labour Party Cottages in Townhead. Contact Arthur West on 07826 127759 or Eileen Sinclair on 07733 325561 for more info.
And finally, the 44th Girvan Folk Festival runs from Friday 4th – Sunday 6th May. Guests galore that include The Tannahills, Margaret Bennett, Kevin Macleod, Len Graham and the Lori Watson Trio. All info at

11th April – Allan Taylor

The guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 11th April is the internationally acclaimed songwriter’s songwriter Allan Taylor. It’s a few years since the Irvine audience has heard Allan, but for anyone who has not heard Allan Taylor live, make sure that the 11th April is in the diary.

His songs are sung by many performers in many languages. There are more than 100 recorded sessions of his songs with one of them ‘It’s good to see you’ having 80 cover versions including artists of the calibre of Nana Mouskouri, Rosemary Woods, De Dannan, Johnny Silvo, Don Williams, Dick Gaughan – you get the drift. Other gems to come from the pen of Allan Taylor include Still he sings, Roll on the Day, Lady take your time and The Rose and the Briar. A sustained quality of songwriting.

After hearing the songs of Woody Guthrie and the guitar playing of Davey Graham, Brighton born Allan, left there when he was 15 to become part of the vibrant London folk music scene. Fifty years down the road and frequently described as one of the last travelling troubadours, he has played all over the world at festivals, concerts and folk clubs. Most importantly, given such a remarkably lengthy and successful career, Allan still enjoys playing, undertaking new projects and doing new clubs and concert venues that interest him.

Album releases by Allan date back to 1971. There Was a Time released in 2016 is described as ‘a classy album’ and a labour of love which was performed in Northern Italy with the backing of a full symphony orchestra. He followed that in 2017 with his most recent album Behind The Mix.

Allan Taylor writes and performs with equal skill. He has an uncluttered style. His rich and mellow voice and mastery of the guitar are used sparingly to great effect and let the songs ‘speak’ for themselves. A lengthy musical career can however bring health difficulties. Towards the end of last year, three torn tendons in his shoulder meant he could barely lift a guitar far less play it. Happily, a successful op repaired the damage. He now does 45 minutes of Physio daily. Plainly Mr Taylor is dedicated to his craft.

Allan Taylor has been described as probably the most important songwriter of his generation. Decide for yourself by getting along to Irvine Folk Club on 11th April at Vineburgh Community Centre to hear an uncomplicated and honest performance by Allan Taylor. The Club starts at 8pm.

And finally, a reminder that Jimmie Macgregor’s One Man Show is on at The Townhouse in Irvine on Friday 13th April at 7.30pm. Tickets at £10 are available from Joyce on 01294 551047.

13th April – Jimmie Macgregor

Jimmie Macgregor brings his One Man Show to Irvine’s Townhouse on Friday 13th April and it will be the closing event of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Irvine Folk Club & Marymass Folk Festival.
Jimmie Macgregor MBE from Springburn has a career in Folk Music and broadcasting that spans over 50 years. He is one of life’s great raconteurs and he is also very funny. His One Man Show started several years ago and recounts many of his tales from the music and broadcasting world.
His musical partnership with the late Robin Hall got them a five nights a week slot on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Tonight which was bringing in regular audiences of nine million and turned them into ‘stars’. The demise of the duo with Robin, gave Jimmie the opportunity to combine his music with his love of Scottish heritage and passion for the preservation and appreciation of the Scottish countryside. The extremely popular TV series on The West Highland Way was his first foray into being a presenter and led to a number of other TV shows in which Jimmie explored other walks around Scotland as well as more far-flung place like Canada, the USA and the Arctic. From that followed the successful and long-running Macgregor’s Gathering on Radio Scotland.
Tickets priced £10 for Jimmie Macgregor’s One Man Show, which starts at 7.30pm, are available from Joyce on 01294 551047. It would be wise to make sure of your ticket soon.
To coincide with Jimmie’s Show on 13th April, orders will be taken for a book which will be published in time for Marymass Folk Festival charting the 50 years of Irvine Folk Club & Marymass Folk Festival.
And finally, it was with sadness that news of the death of Sam Gaw was received. Sam will feature in the aforementioned book about the Club & Festival as he was one of the people who was in at the beginning of Irvine Folk Club. He attended the 40th Marymass Folk Festival but sadly was unable to be part of the 50th anniversary. The sympathy of Irvine Folk Club goes to Sam’s family. Sam’sfamily.

28th March – Hannah Rarity and Innes White

By all accounts, Hannah Rarity is the one to watch on the Scottish Folk scene and she is the special guest on Wednesday 28th March at Irvine Folk Club. This is a change to the scheduled Sean Donnelly.
Hannah, from Dechmont in West Lothian, won BBC Scotland’s Young Trad Musician of the Year competition in January, supported Cathal McConnell at a Celtic Connections concert, has toured internationally with Cherish the Ladies and also has done projects with the RSNO and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She has a voice that is clear, expressive and strong – but in a gentle way. Repeatedly in performance reviews, Hannah’s ability to connect with audiences is mentioned. She appeared in the BBC2 documentary ‘The Wayfaring Stranger’ screened last year and sang The Parting Glass to tremendous acclaim.
Hannah is a graduate of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where one of her tutors was the renowned Scots singer Rod Paterson. She released ‘Beginnings’ a six track EP in 2016 and has set up a crowd-funding site to help complete her debut album scheduled for release in September of this year. Hannah’s repertoire in the main is trad songs which she augments with some of her own material.
Along with a busy touring schedule – she is part of the month long Highland Blast Tour in Germany in November – as part of the Live Music Now charity set up by Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Hannah along with Luc McNally take music to communities which don’t often experience live music eg Care Homes. Hannah has also put her name behind the Save Strings & Percussion tuition in West Lothian. This is a young woman passionate about music.
Hannah Rarity at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 28th March at 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Caldon Road – be there!

Forthcoming Concerts in Townhouse

As part of the 50th celebrations Irvine Folk Club
Jimmy McGregor
Songs, Stories and Famous Folk
in The Townhouse
Friday 13th April
7.30pm BYOB
Tickets £10 now on sale from Joyce

Also in
The Townhouse
Auld Hats, New Heids
Friday 27th April
in The Townhouse
7pm-9.30pm BYOB
Tickets £10 now on sale from Joyce

14th March – Rod Sinclair

Rod Sinclair from Fife, has lived in Denmark since the late ‘60s, has a lengthy professional musical career and is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 14th March.

Whilst Banjo appears to be Rod’s favoured instrument, he is described as a multi-instrumentalist, a singer and a writer. Little is known about the beginnings of his journey into music, but suffice to say that Rod, originally from St Andrew’s, has managed to carve out a successful musical career spanning five decades.

His eclectic repertoire perhaps mirrors the varied aspects of his musical career. Not only has he played at the famous Denmark Tonder Festival 44 years in a row – yes, 44! – Rod has appeared three times with Volbeat, a Danish Heavy Metal band. Alongside his solo career, he is also part of Ransvik – a trio that comprises a Swede, a Dane and Rod the Scot! In addition, in 2012 Rod published an illustrated book called Meal Ticket featuring tales from places including Scotland, Russia and Denmark accompanied by traditional recipes. He also does Whisky Sessions, which seem to feature a range of Malts eg Talisker, Lagavulin, Port Ellen and provide a bit of background to their place of origin through song. Plainly, Rod Sinclair is not a man to sit on his hands wondering when the next booking is coming along!

Rod’s appearance at Irvine is one of four Scottish dates he is doing in March. He certainly sounds like an interesting guy and it’s always good to hear a Banjo. To hear Rod Sinclair at Irvine Folk Club, be at Vineburgh Community Centre on Wednesday 14th March for 8pm on Wednesday 14th March.

28th February – Kent DuChaine

Irvine Folk Club has been cancelled tonight due to the weather conditions. Sorry for the short notice.
Kent is a popular visitor to Irvine and it’s disappointing – but outwith our control. Apologies to the people who
contacted Vineburgh to be told it was on and then the decision was made to close the centre.

Provost’s Civic Pride Awards

Irvine Folk Club are finalists in the Arts and Culture Section of the Provost’s Civic Pride Awards 2018.
George Jackson and I attended a reception in Saltcoats Town Hall last Thursday night to meet the other finalists and were presented with a framed certificate by Provost Ian Clarkson. Voting will close at 12noon on Thursday 8 March 2018.
Please cast your vote at

28th February – Kent DuChaine

Kent DuChaine the nomadic Bluesman from Minnesota. Leadbessie is his Steel Guitar and they are back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 28th February – welcome news for his many fans in the area. His abundant energy and enthusiasm for the Blues plus his exceptional Guitar playing, combined with the power of his voice means it’s a night not to be missed at the Irvine Club.

Kent was born in Wayzata, Minnesota. He started with the Ukulele when he was six and knew then that he wanted to be a musician. Having formed a garage band at 13, it was reading Eric Clapton album notes that led him to check out a Robert Johnson album at his local library – the music of the Mississippi Delta had captured him.

Kent learned to play slide guitar and after a ten year search, found his beloved Leadbessie – ‘a beat-up 1934 National Steel Guitar’ as he describes her. Kitted out with extra heavy strings to cope with his ferocious style, the name Leadbessie is an affectionate amalgam of Blues legends Leadbelly and Bessie Smith.

In the late ‘80s, Kent had a three year spell playing over 200 Shows with Johnny Shines. Johnny’s death hit Kent hard and he elected then that his career would be as a solo Blues player. Every year since then, Kent has traveled back and forth from his home in Georgia USA to Europe every year for three tours of four to seven weeks duration each. Approximately that stacks up to ten thousand Shows and three million miles! Plainly, Kent is a hard worker and off stage he is a quiet almost shy man who lives to spread the Blues.

Kent sings and writes songs about the people and situations he has met in his life and always brings something of his own interpretation to covers of standards such as Little Red Rooster, St James Infirmary, I’ll Be True To You or Trouble in Mind. One of his albums features a song he wrote about Marilyn – a 1956 Cadillac in which he lived and toured throughout the ‘80s. Perhaps it’s Kent’s Guitar playing that he is noted for as much as his voice. His intricate, finger-picking slide-guitar and use of his hand as a hand-hammer is a much admired skill of Kent.

For sheer intensity of performance, it’s difficult to beat Kent DuChaine. If you like the Blues, make sure you are in the Irvine Folk Club audience on Wednesday 28th February for 8pm. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road and it’s BYOB.