Sad News

Just heard this morning that a good friend of Irvine Folk Club and Marymass Folk Festival Malky McCormick sadly passed away last night. Malky had been ill for a couple of years and was in a care home in Ayr. Will publish details of Malky’s funeral when known.

On Wednesday 10th April in a change to the scheduled top-of-the-bill, Wilson McGladdery will be the special guests – there’s two of them! Due to illness, the date for Catherine Craig & Brian Willoughby has had to be re-scheduled.
Gaynor Wilson & Paul McGladdery have each performed as solo artists and with bands. Five years ago, after meeting through fellow musicians, they realised that their voices blended well together and they were both keen on promoting original songs rather than covering well-known material. The duo have built up a healthy gig list in that five years, playing the length and breadth of England with occasional forays into Scotland.
They both live in Saddleworth in Oldham. Gaynor plays violin, piano and recorder but is best known for her powerful vocals. She really enjoys acoustic singing. Paul is a guitarist known for his prolific songwriting that reflects musical influences from folk to country to classic pop. His first love is writing ballads. Their most recent single Beans on Toast is available electronically and it’s a love song.
Wednesday 10th April, Wilson McGladdery at Irvine Folk Club in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road starts at 8pm.
Elsewhere, the Hannah Rarity Band plays at The Star in Glasgow on 16th April. It’s Hannah plus three fine musicians and will be well worth a listen.
And finally, the audience at Irvine Folk Club last week had yet another terrific night with Davie Craig with Rab Noakes as special guests. The skilled songwriting of Rab and the songs, stories and harmonies of both of them made for a first class night.

Wednesday 10th April

Catherine Craig and Brian Willoughby are due to play Irvine Folk Club on 10th April. Unfortunately Catherine has been ill and on medical advice has had to cancel this gig. We will have them back at a later date.
The top bill for 10th April is now
Wilson McGladdery

27th March – Davie Craig with Rab Noakes

A change to the scheduled guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 27th March means that the special guests will be Davie Craig with Rab Noakes. Not too shabby a replacement!
Davie & Rab go back a wheen of years to when High Speed Grass – a legendary band in its time – founded by Davie, would on occasion get Rab to fill in on vocals. Both Davie and Rab were Fifers and High Speed Grass was a product of The Great Fife Roadshow.
Davie plays fiddle and guitar and sings. He is well known on the Americana music scene. As well as the aforementioned High Speed Grass, Davie’s other bands included the Honky Tonk Ceilidh Band and The Streets of Raith! Clearly a man with a sense of humour.
Welcome to Anniversaryville released in 2018 marked 50 years of songwriting and singing for Rab. In 2017 he was awarded The Tartan Clef for his contribution to music. He was Head of Entertainment at BBC Radio Scotland, is on the Executive Committee of the Musicians Union and for all the successes of his music career – including collaborations with Kathleen MacInness and Barbara Dickson and having a pivotal role in tribute productions to Michael Marra and Gerry Rafferty, Rab remains a modest man.
On Wednesday 27th March at Irvine Folk Club it’s your chance to hear two Fifers – Davie Craig with Rab Noakes. The Club starts at 8p, it’s BYOB and it all happens at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. And finally, it would be remiss not to mention the terrific set that Jez Lowe played at the Irvine Club last week. An exceptional performer – even though he was nursing a Cold.

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.