Rallion are guests on Wednesday 10th July

Rallion is a folk band with the terrific knack of combining  three exceptional musical talents to create an exciting contemporary sound playing traditional music – and they are the welcome guests at Irvine Folk Club  on Wednesday 10th July.

Rallion is a much respected band.  This is a group of three very talented and experienced musicians. Fiona Cuthill is the fiddle powerhouse and is complemented by the superb vocals of Marieke McBean and the virtuoso guitar and bouzouki playing of the ubiquitous Stevie Lawrence. The band is drawn from Glasgow and Perth. Classically trained singer Marieke is from the Netherlands and moved to Scotland in 2001 because of her love for traditional Scottish music.  Think of Scottish folk music with a soulful edge and you have Marieke’s voice.

Fiona Cuthill is an impressive and distinctive fiddle player and an acclaimed composer whilst Stevie Lawrence is a much sought after session player.  His playing of the guitar and bouzouki covers the whole range from driving rhythms to sensitive phrasing. Stevie also plays with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. What comes through any performance of Rallion is the evident joy in their music and the fact that they love playing together.  Their repertoire includes fast-paced modern compositions played in traditional style as well as slower more thoughtful pieces.

The Irvine Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB

Finally, it is sad to report the unexpected but peaceful death of John Montgomery.  The fiddler in the much-missed .Saltcoats Harbour Band, John enjoyed all sorts of music but particularly classical and Scottish Traditional. John was a gentle man who was a dear friend to many. John is survived by his wife Irene and her two daughters Laura and Shona.

Munro, O’Callaghan & Titchener, Wed 26th June DON’T MISS THIS ONE

Three seasoned performers from Adelaide will be the guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 26th June. They are John Munro, Mike O’Callaghan and Pete Titchener, each of them with long careers in the music business and together they are a class act.

They say their strengths lie in their writing and choosing good material and then applying dynamic arrangements and harmonies.  When Eric Bogle is prepared to put his stamp of approval on them, then their claims must surely be well-founded!

It was the internationally known band Colcannon that brought the three men together. Colcannon topped the bill at a Marymass Saturday night concert some years ago, so Irvine is known to them. John Munro having toured with Eric Bogle for 35 years is certainly no stranger to Irvine audiences. Pete Titchener and John Munro still perform with Eric in Australia.

Munro, O’Callaghan & Titchener play instruments as only experienced session and backing musicians can. Add to that their tight harmonies and the fact that they enjoy one another’s company and it’s a trio to be reckoned with.

Hear them at Irvine folk Club in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road on Wednesday 26th June. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

The 46th Marymass Folk Festival

Information leaflets are now being distributed for The 46th Marymass Folk Festival. The dates for this year’s thrash are 21st -25th August. All info is available at Irvine Folk Club or phone Joyce on 01294 551047.

Finally, if you are on your travels and looking for music you would do well to be in the glorious Kingdom of Fife on 28th & 29th June for the Falkland Traditional Folk Festival.  Looking just a bit further ahead, the Stonehaven Folk Festival dates are 11th -14th July. See Scotland and enjoy excellent, live music – a superb combination.

Briege Murphy is guest on Wednesday 12th June.

The rich and varied vein of talent on offer at Irvine Folk Club continues when Briege Murphy is guest on Wednesday 12th June. The Ulster born and raised singer and songwriter is well thought of by many of the folk luminaries for her fine songs and lovely singing.

Born in South Armagh where she still lives with her husband and two daughters, Briege was brought up in a family steeped in music.  Following the release of her first album The Longest Road  in 1995, Briege became established as one of the strong women in Irish music. Her four subsequent albums have confirmed her status as a songwriter of note.

She has been described as an Irish Nanci Griffiths.  Accompanying herself on guitar, some of her songs are inspired by the beautiful surroundings in which she lives and in others Briege brings to life situations common to people’s own experiences.  Be prepared also for offerings such as the tongue-in-cheek  Saving Up To Be Famous.

Briege Murphy is known for her effortless warmth and sincerity and Irvine Folk Club can hear for themselves on Wednesday 12th June at Vineburgh Community Centre.  The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

Arran Folk Festival and Folk night in Ardrossan

Elsewhere, two local events are happening this weekend.  On Friday 7th June there is a Folk Night in Ardrossan’s Lauriston Hotel featuring The Scott Wood Trio, Andy Chung and Pinch O’ Salt. Meanwhile across the water, Arran Folk Festival will be underway from Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th June.

Nick Keir

It is with huge sadness that the unexpected death of Nick Keir is reported.  Nick died in hospital in Edinburgh on Sunday 2nd June as the result of an embolism.  He was 60 years old.  Edinburgh man Nick had been battling cancer for the last 14 months.

The McCalmans ar Irvine Marymass. Nick Keir in the centre

It was as a student at Stirling University that Nick formed the band Finn mac Cuill which went on to record two albums and tour Europe. He also wrote many songs for the 7.84 Theatre Group. He then went on to work at The National Library in Edinburgh and it was while there that Nick was invited to join The McCalmans in 1982.  Nick was ‘the middle one’ of The Macs and he remained with them until they hung up their instruments in 2010.

He wrote many fine songs and was a skilled instrumentalist. However, Nick was particularly  good when The Macs would ‘ham it up’  in songs like Goodnight Sweetheart, Wrecked Again and Don’t Sit on my Jimmy Shands.

He released a solo album recently, The Edge of the Night.  It has been attracting consistently good reviews one describing it as “an accomplished triumph in which the singer comes across as a man at peace with himself.”

Nick had been booked to play at Marymass this year.  He was delighted to have been asked and was looking forward to it.

Nick is survived by his Mum and a brother.

Joan and Anne’s (and Elma’s) sponsored walk – completed but still time to donate!!

Two Irvine Folk Club members – Joan Muir & Anne Clarke plus Joan’s dog Elma – successfully completed a fundraising sponsored walk on Sunday 19th May organised by The Tailor Craft – one of Irvine’s Incorporated Trades.  The three intrepid walkers braved a warm breeze on a mercifully dry day to complete what must easily have been a three mile route.

The sponsored walk was undertaken to raise funds for Irvine Folk Club. For anyone who wants to contribute but hasn’t had a chance to do so, the sponsor sheet will be available at the Folk Club this Wednesday 29th May when My Sweet Patootie are the guests.  Speak to Joyce about making a donation for the fundraising sponsored walk.

PS.  Joan, Anne & Elma have now fully recovered from their expedition.

Guests: My Sweet Patootie, Wednesday 29th May

Prepare to be entertained in grand style at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 29th May when My Sweet Patootie tops the bill. The Irvine Club is one of only three dates in Scotland that this brilliant trio from Canada are playing on their UK tour.

Photo of My Sweet Patootie guests are Irvine Folk Club

Patootiefied was the name of the second album of My Sweet Patootie. Their third called Good Day is just out.  The three members of My Sweet Patootie are Terry Young, Sandra Swanell and Bradford Novak.  One review described them as ‘Two parts exemplary musicianship and one part vaudeville comedy’.  They tell tall tales and corny jokes – a modern day music hall.  Expect to hear heart-breaking ballads in between finger-snapping tunes.

My Sweet Patootie started off in 2007 as a duo.  Sandra and Terry were members of the fabulous and immensely talented Tanglefoot who played in Irvine on a number of occasions.  They both have a classical music background and a mutual love of swing, Americana and country blues. Sandra has played the violin all her life and was Principal Violist with the Georgian Bay Symphony. Terry as well as playing guitar, banjo and mandolin at a jaw-dropping level is a classically trained tenor.

In Spring 2012 My Sweet Patootie became a trio when percussion-vocalist Bradford Novak joined . This new trio from rural Ontario is an acoustic roots band that brings twinning vocal harmonies, monstrous fingerstyle  guitar, sizzling fiddle, percussion plus abundant charisma  in one fabby package.

For info and in case this might ever rescue you in a Pub Quiz: My Sweet Patootie is a term of endearment popular in the 1920’s meaning a sassy sweetheart.  The name of the band implies the vintage flavour of their music.

The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

With sadness we report the death of Brendan Duffy, former MC at Irvine Folk Club

News of the untimely death of Brendan Duffy has been received with much sadness. Brendan was a former MC at Irvine Folk Club, particularly in Redburn Hotel days and worked as a Planner at Perceton House with Irvine Development Corporation.  He took ‘laid-back-ness’ to new levels. It was almost routine for Brendan to ask whilst MCing ‘What was it that I was to remember to say?’  He loved the craic and the camarederie that folk music brought and was himself a fine singer – but he didn’t think so.

In recent years, Brendan coped with deteriorating health in a ‘let’s get on with it’ style. Having spent much of his retirement with his wife in Northern Ireland, they had  been living in Kilmarnock for several months to be nearer to their son and daughter and their families. Brendan died peacefully at home in Kilmarnock on Wednesday 15th May and is survived by his wife Maureen and their son Ciaran and daughter Siobhan. The sympathy of everyone at Irvine Folk Club goes to Maureen and the family. Brendan is fondly remembered.

Barron Brady – Wednesday 15 May

Simon Barron and Rosalind Brady, funnily enough, are Barron Brady – the special guests at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 15th May.  Described by Bob Harris of BBC Radio 2 as having a beautiful sound, this will be the first visit of Barron Brady to the Irvine Club.

Having begun performing across the UK five years ago, Barron Brady have received  consistently  good reviews, with Festival and Club organisers impressed with the duo’s innovative arrangements, well crafted self-penned songs and strong vocal harmonies.

Simon and Rosalind live in Devon and the Irvine Club is included in their Spring Northern Tour – but then from Devon it’s almost always going to be north!  They are contemporary songwriters and also interpreters of English folk song. As well as being strong vocalists, Ros plays the harmonium and whistle and Simon excels on fingerstyle guitar.  Barron Brady have recorded three albums with Karen Polwart being just one of the people taking to print as a fan of their sound.

The young, enthusiastic and talented Barron Brady are at Irvine Folk Club on 15th May in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.

Kent DuChaine – guest on Wed 1st May

Kent DuChaine the nomadic Bluesman from Minnesota is back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 1st May. His abundant energy and enthusiasm means there is no chance of nodding off when he is playing.  Kent’s guitar playing is exceptional and combined with the power of his voice and his passion for the Blues means it’s a night not to be missed at the Irvine Club.

Kent’s potted history is: born in Wayzata, Minnesota; formed a garage band at 13; reading Eric Clapton album notes led him to check out a Robert Johnson album at his local library.  So taken aback by the album, he almost wore it out listening to it ….the music of the Mississippi Delta had captured him.

In 1969 Kent learned to play slide guitar and ten years later he found his beloved Leadbessie – ‘a beat-up 1934 National Steel Guitar’ as he describes her. It’s kitted out with extra heavy strings to cope with his ferocious style and there is now a whole lot of gaffer tape on Leadbessie as well!  The name Leadbessie is an affectionate amalgam of Blues legends Leadbelly and Bessie Smith.

Kent lives to spread the Blues and has clocked up countless thousands of miles and close on 100 overseas tours from his South Georgia base in the USA.  Songs about Kent’s youth, his adventures, family and friends are linked by frank anecdotes in true troubadour style.

He 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. His set is a far cry from ‘ well I woke up this morning’!!  He will also likely include some of his own compositions. His intricate, finger-picking slide-guitar and use of his hand as a handhammer beat, all contribute to the sheer intensity of a Kent DuChaine performance.

Wednesday 1st May is a night for Blues fans to enjoy a masterclass at Irvine Folk Club when Kent DuChaine tops the bill.

The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road, starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.