Sad News

Members will be saddened to hear of the death of one of our faithful long time members – George Jackson.
Although he had become increasingly frail his death was sudden and unexpected. We will remember his canny wit. The funeral will take place on Friday 15th March at 10.30am in St Mary’s, Saltcoats. There will be a funeral tea in the hall at 11.30am and Dori would be happy if some of Irvine Folk Club members could attend. She says parking is best in Sainsbury’s.

13th March – Jez Lowe

Jez Lowe is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 13th March and it will be good to hear him again. He is one of the busiest, most popular and respected performers on the folk scene and it’s good that Irvine is included in his current UK Tour. And just in case you read his gig list, the Vineburgh has not changed its name to the Vineyard!

Born and raised in the coal mining community of Easington in County Durham, Jez has been playing since the early 70’s. His vitality and simplicity of style accompanied by a driving guitar and engaging humour are just some of the reasons for the enduring popularity of Jez Lowe. He also plays mandocello and a prize if have you ever seen him not wear a stripey Tshirt on stage!

He is a prolific songwriter and Richard Thomson rates Jez as the best contemporary English songwriter. A number of his songs address the economic distress suffered by the North Country as a result of the decline of the coal industry and the ensuing social repercussions. His songs can be heard in all corners of the world and artists of the calibre of Fairport Convention, Cherish the Ladies, The Dubliners and The Tannahills have all recorded Jez’s material.

As well as doing busy solo tours, Jez also sometimes plays with his band The Bad Pennies and does a number of collaborations with the likes of The Pitmen Poets, The Broonzies, James Keelaghan, Archie Fisher and Steve Tiltson. And, in between all of that, he is in the throes of completing his second novel. If you were listening to Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 last month, you may have heard Jez singing on the featured Ballads of Child Migration programme. A busy man with bucketloads of energy.

Jez has played in Irvine on a number of occasions sometimes solo and sometimes with his backing band The Bad Pennies. For anyone who has not heard him, go along to the Irvine Club on the 13th March. With Jez Lowe topping the bill, you will not be disappointed.

Irvine Folk Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road at 8pm and it’s BYOB plus there’s a good café!

27th February – Other Roads

Special guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 27th February are the talented trio Other Roads. Known for their great harmonies and arrangements, Other Roads are on a UK tour before spending the second half of March touring Denmark.
Pete Abbot, Gregor Borland and Dave Walmisley are Other Roads. Their choice of material draws on their diverse backgrounds: one is an Englishman, one is a Scot who now lives in Spain and the other spent the first 17 years of his life in Zimbabwe before moving to the UK.
The band’s driving force is Pete Abbot. He plays guitar, does lead vocals and is also a songwriter. For Pete, the emphasis is always on entertainment and ensuring that the audience has a good time. Inverness born Gregor Borland is a Master Fiddler having been Scottish Fiddle Champion eight times. He has played with Burach and The Sandy Brechin Band with whom he toured Colombia, Australia and Russia and he also teaches Fiddle around the world. Dave Walmisley is a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He sometimes takes lead vocals and has a fine ear for harmonies.
Other Roads have seven CDs to their name, travel extensively in the UK, Europe and New Zealand and are known for their sensitive interpretation of well-known songs – trad or contemporary – interspersed with jigs and reels led by Gregor plus some original compositions.
Other Roads at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 27th February at Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and is open to everyone, not just Club members. However, by investing £15 and becoming a member, as well as supporting the Club, it brings a £2 reduction in the admission fee. A bargain.

13th February – Damien Barbour and Mike Wilson

New to Irvine Folk Club but with 40 plus years experience between them of playing on the folk scene, Mike Wilson & Damien Barber are the special guests at the Irvine Club on Wednesday 13th February.
Mike is from Teeside and Damien is from Norfolk and are known for their strong harmony singing. The musical background of Mike is very much that of the North East of England where he is a member of the well-known a capella Wilson Family. The family of five singing siblings has a fairly busy gig list and so when not on the road with Damien, Mike can be found on stage with his brothers and sister.
Damien is the driving force behind The Demon Barbers – not so much a folk band, more of a folk roadshow with Clog Dancing, Swords, Hip-Hop and Break dancing all featuring! The core six-strong Demons line-up is led by the distinctive singing of Damien who as well as singing unaccompanied also plays concertina and guitar.
With their respective backgrounds of strong vocals and harmonies, it’s little surprise that Mike and Damien were nominated in The Best Duo category in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.They have two albums to their name and somehow manage to juggle a busy gig list with the demands of playing with The Demons and The Wilson Family.
Given the musical pedigrees of Mike and Damien, on Wednesday 13th February at Irvine Folk Club, expect trad and contemporary songs sung by two of the finest voices in the UK folk world. The Club starts at 8pm, it’s BYOB and a good café is available.
Elsewhere, if you are a Fiddler and in London on 24th February, The London Fiddle Convention is on at Cecil Sharp House in Camden.

30th January – Alan Reid

Alan Reid, a folk world luminary, is the guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 30th January. Best known perhaps as a founder member of the legendary Battlefield Band, since 2010 Alan has carved out a successful solo career.
Born in Bridgeton, Alan moved to Kilmarnock when he was six and attended Kilmarnock Academy before meeting up with Brian McNeil at University and lo, Battlefield was created! It is Alan who is credited with having pioneered the use of keyboards in Scottish folk music. He was a member of Battlefield for 40 years.
Known as a master storyteller in song, his warm and gentle vocals and sympathetic playing of keyboards, guitar and accordion are always distinctive and imaginative. His skills as a composer of songs with a strong melody have added to Scottish folk music’s rich archive. Alan also teaches Scots Song and he is in much demand at Festivals around the globe.
With all his years of experience as an international musician, it’s little wonder that Alan has built up an extensive repertoire of music both contemporary and traditional.
To hear the talented and much respected Alan Reid, be in the audience at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 30th January. The Club meets at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. It starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Elsewhere, Celtic Connections is on until 3rd February at some 30 venues across Glasgow with hunners of musicians and umpteen new collaborations. Check out what’s on where at

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.