Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Urban Folksters to Bring Joy to Region; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Urban Folksters to Bring Joy to Region; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest News on the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Article excerpt

THE former Rough Trade recording act The Band of Holy Joy return to the region with a gig at Cluny 2 on Friday.

The "urban folk" band, originally formed in New Cross in London in 1984, certainly have that virtue known as "stickability".

After two or three self-released cassette albums at the start of their career they maintained a steady output - averaging a release a year - until they signed to Rough Trade and issued their first, and probably best-known, of three albums, Manic, Magic, Majestic (1989), with Geoff Travis's iconic independent label.

In 1993, after 10 years of recording/touring, BoHJ called it a day...but not forever! They reformed in 2002, and lasted another year or so before a further break interrupted their flow.

In 2007, the group reconvened and the current six-piece has, despite a long list of transient members, continued with renewed strength.

They released the most recent of their 20-odd albums, Easy Listening, last year. BoHJ blend a range of influences, despite the urban folk tag, which has elements of Brel, Brecht, Bowie and Pere Ubu. The Band of Holy Joy also appear at Sinderhope village hall, near Allendale, on Saturday.

The upstairs (larger) room at Cluny has a Saturday night show by the young blues/prog rock trio The Mentulls. A former best young act in at the British Blues Awards (2012-2013), the band comprises Andrew Pipe (vocals/guitar), his brother Jamie Pipe (keys) and Nick Colman (drums). They have paid their dues by the time-honoured method, opening for several big-name acts and appearing at blues/rock festivals across the country.

They have drawn their inspiration from acts such as Jethro Tull and Wishbone Ash, among others, but they have also pushed beyond the standard blues-rock repertoire as the band's 2012 album, Time Flies, demonstrates.

North Northumberland is not neglected this week because there is a visit by the Seattle-based old-time duo Cahalen Morrison and Eli West to the St.Cuthbert's House venue in Seahouses on Saturday night.

The duo have a telepathic understanding and weave vocals and instrumental interplay in seamless fashion with a repertoire that is, although mostly original, sourced from the best bluegrass and country/folk traditions. …

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