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.

12th September – Ewan McLennan

Described as one of the bright lights on today’s folk scene, Ewan McLennan makes his first appearance at Irvine Folk Club when he tops the bill on Wednesday 12th September.
Ewan is a Scottish folk musician and songwriter who was born in London but grew up in Edinburgh. He studied classical music on the piano and then took up guitar. Having developed a strong interest in in folk music, Ewan started playing in folk and acoustic music clubs in 2010. He is an exceptionally fine guitar player.
Ewan has four albums to his name, two of which have brought him national awards. A songwriter for whom social justice is a burning issue, Ewan’s second album The last bird to sing, secured him the Alistair Hulett Memorial Prize for Political Songwriting. That award led to him being invited to take part in the 2013 Transatlantic Sessions, performing and recording alongside the likes of Tim O’Brien and Aly Bain.
His fourth album released in 2016 Breaking the spell of loneliness was a collaborative venture with renowned author and journalist George Monbiot. Using words and music, the acclaimed album opens up the issue of loneliness and community. Ewan and George toured the UK with the album which included a live appearance on BBC2’s Newsnight. The tour was a practical attempt to help address the issue of loneliness in communities.
Ewan is a guitarist, a troubadour, a balladeer and a storyteller ‘cut in the old style’ according to one reviewer. Be in the audience at the Irvine Club on Wednesday 12th September in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road to hear Ewan. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
Elsewhere, the Blas Festival across the Highlands is on from 7th – 15th September, while in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on 15th September The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra will be in concert. All helping to keep music live!

29th August – Sean Donnelly

Long since known for the freshness he brings to songs that others might have discarded for being too familiar, Ireland’s quiet man of folk music with the storyteller’s voice, Sean Donnelly is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 29th August. This will be the first Club night after the 51st Marymass Folk Festival finishes on the 26th. A quick turnaround.

Born near Omagh in Co Tyrone, Sean grew up in a musical family where weekly house sessions were a regular feature. He ‘emmigrated’ to Newcastle Co Down in the early ‘70s where he still lives. Sean Donnelly has been popular on the folk club circuit for a number of years. He has made countless radio broadcasts and his seventh album And Our Time Together containing songs new and old, is one of which he is particularly proud. One of his earlier albums is called Cut a long story short… and the title illustrates the unaffected style of the man.

Gentle, quiet, unshowy, relaxed are all words that are used repeatedly when people describe Sean. Ex-Planxty member Andy Irvine is just one musical luminary who is a big fan of Sean’s. The knack of knowing a good song when he hears one is Sean’s skill and he has accumulated a vast repertoire that draws heavily, but not exclusively, from the traditional well of Ulster song. He also writes songs. With his quiet storyteller’s voice and distinctive Northern Ireland enunciation, Sean handles songs with care and ease and his delicate guitar style, an ideal complement to his singing, is the envy of many . Sean also plays the mandola.

Tommy Sands who knows a thing or two about singing says of Sean ‘there is a gentleness in the man’s voice and a kindness in the guitar that unwrinkles the mind and body’. What a gift Mr Sands has for finding exactly the right words!

Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 29th August is the place to savour the songs, the singing, the stories and the music of Sean Donnelly. The Irvine
Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

Finally, a new info flyer giving full details of who’s appearing when at Irvine Folk Club from now until the end of the year is now out. They are available in all sorts of places but, if you can’t find one then phone Joyce on 01294 551047 or visit

New Event – Thursday 23rd August

51st MARYMASS FOLK FESTIVAL 23rd – 27th August
Who doesn’t like listening to a good story well told?
As part of the 51st Marymass Folk Festival two professional Storytellers from Traditional Arts & Culture in Scotland will be in Irvine. They are experienced in telling stories to audiences of all ages and eight Storytelling Sessions have been arranged over two days.
The majority of the Storytelling Sessions will be spent in some of the local schools.
In addition, a special Storytelling Session with Michael Kerins has been arranged for Thursday 23rd August from 3pm – 4pm in The Mure Church Hall for people who are above school age and you are invited.
This event is free and is open to anyone who might be interested.
This is something different for the Folk Festival – why not come along and give it a try.

15th August -Bram Taylor

Lancashire Lad Bram Taylor is the welcome guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 15th August. It’s been four years since Bram last played at the Irvine Club so it will be good to hear him again.
Bram has a busy diary that covers appearances throughout the UK and also includes the US of A and Europe. He has played a couple of times at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario where he was delighted to be on the same bill as his heroes from the Sixties Gordon Lightfoot and Don Mclean.
Described as a collector and interpreter of songs, a set from Bram might include contemporary material from the likes of Colum Sands or Eric Bogle as well as traditional songs like ‘Peggy Gordon’. When selecting songs, the key question for Bram is always ‘Is this a good song’. He also like to sing material with a good chorus which will engage the audience. To date this has proved to be successful, having 10 albums to his name and all recorded on Fellside Records. The session musicians on Bram’s albums are a guide to the respect he enjoys among his peers – Stuart Hardy, Steve Lawrence, Wendy Wetherby, Alastair McCulloch and Tom McConville being just some of the names to be found on the credits.
In 2015 Bram teamed up with two of his best friends, Nick Peake and Dave Howard, who just happen to be multi-instrumentalists, and they formed The Bram Taylor Band. The Band does gigs when Bram’s diary permits.
Bram has a strong and clear voice and plays guitar, duet concertina and baritone ukulele. Mike Harding describes Bram as ‘one of the bedrock performers and stalwarts of the British Folk Club & Festival scene’. Hear for yourself when Bram Taylor is the special guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 15th August in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB. That will be the last Folk Club night before the 51st Marymass Folk Festival kicks off on Thursday 23rd August.

1st August – Corralach

Inverness based Corralach is a new duo to Irvine Folk Club and make their debut on Wednesday 1st August. Most of their gigs are above the Central Belt and it may be that Irvine is their most southerly venue this year – although they are booked for Darnick in the Borders next May!
Tony Perridge and George Livingstone are Corralach. Between them they play six and twelve string guitars, bouzouki, mandolin and five string banjo. They also share lead and harmony vocals. Both Tony and George have played in various bands on the folk circuit and keeping the vocal tradition alive is what drives Corralach. They sing a wide range of harmony songs, accompanied or acapella, drawn from Scotland, Ireland and the USA.
Corralach is the resident duo at Ardisier Folk Club and also do residencies at tourist hotels in Inverness. In addition, they play regularly at a Nursing Home and feature frequently at fundraising gigs for local charities.
It seems that Wednesday 1st August at Irvine Folk Club will be a night for singing when Corralach are the guests. The Club starts at 8pm in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road.
Looking ahead to Marymass Folk Festival 23rd – 26th August, tickets are now on sale for the Thursday concert with Celtic Quines, Friday night with the Siobhan Miller Band and Marymass Saturday Night’s Strong Women concert – with four of the best female singers in the country – Fiona Hunter, Barbara Dymock, Fiona Forbes and Sheena Wellington. Tickets from Joyce on 01294 551047.