At: The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street,
Topic Newsletter Archive
TOPIC FOLK CLUB, BRADFORD
At The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street, Little Germany, BD1 5BD
Newsletter No 209 - November 2019
Well, GMT is back, mists and mellow fruitfulness abound and the Topic has a great line-up for the coming month. Read on:-
7th November Singers and musicians.
Free entry A bit special this one as there will be a collection of cash - cash not goodies- for Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank. This is at the suggestion of Zbig, a regular attender of singers nights. Please give generously.
14th November: Double Header: Henry Parker and Katie Spencer
Henry Parker: Influenced by the sounds of 1960’s folk guitar, progressive rock and modal jazz, Henry Parker creates a modern sound from these archaic influences, writing songs that lyrically entwine landscapes, people and politics. Traditional folk music contributes strongly to his sound, whilst a distinctive finger-picked guitar style calls to mind players as diverse as Bert Jansch and Bill Frisell.Over the past four years that Henry has been performing live he has had the privilege of supporting many of his musical heroes including Wizz Jones, Michael Chapman, Bridget St John, Lau and Soft Machine. This cross over of folk and progressive rock is where much of his influence lies, informing his writing style and guitar playing.His debut album Silent Spring was released in July 2019, recorded by David Crickmore (Steve Tilston, Pete Coe) and featuring the phenomenal flute talents of Theo Travis (Soft Machine, Travis & Fripp, Gong). It is set to be one of the most exciting folk debuts of this year.
Henry Parker has a beautifully clear and precise finger picking acoustic guitar style…this isn’t background folk club music, or filler, it’s quite simply gorgeous – FATEA
A gifted young guitar player who has been impressing local audiences with his dexterity and choice of material – Tykes News
Bloody excellent – Wizz Jones
Katie Spencer: Drawing on influences such as John Martyn, Roy Harper and Laura Marling, Katie Spencer creates modern progressive folk music which owes as much the songwriters of the 60’s acoustic music heyday as it does the East Riding landscape where she has always felt a strong spiritual connection. Her striking vocals and deft songwriting are backed by an evocative and complex guitar style that takes her music to places that are both esoteric and beautiful. Still in her early 20’s, Katie has already built up an extremely respected profile within the national acoustic music scene, receiving praise from the likes of Ralph McTell & Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople. She has shared the stage with world-class musicians such as Ted McKenna & Foss Paterson, and is due to be a part of next year’s Celtic Connections celebrations alongside Paul Weller & Eddi Reader playing at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.
With various releases already under her belt, Katie was awarded with the Yorkshire Gig Guide Outstanding Emerging Artist in 2018 and continues to receive glowing reviews of both her live performances and recorded works.
Weather Beaten is Katie Spencer’s debut full-length album, a flawless and flowing ten track journey that encapsulates her mesmerising live performance style, subtly embellished by the world-renowned instrumental dexterity of Tom Mason, Miles Bould and Martin Winning on double bass, percussion and woodwind. Produced by Spencer Cozens, long-time collaborator of John Martyn and Joan Armatrading, the sound of the album is clear and bright, bringing a precision and boldness reminiscent of the best ‘ECM’ modern jazz albums, which naturally pairs with the warm and hazy folk sound that envelops Katie’s style.
Katie’s guitar playing has echoes of my dear friend the late great Bert Jansch. Like a musical weaver she threads her poetic lyrics through the guitar’s strings and produces little tapestries of song – Ralph McTell
21st November : Kimber's Men.
Audiences everywhere rave over the harmonies of Kimber’s Men. They have appeared at Festivals in Ostende, Appingedam, Portmagee, Portsoy, Fano in Denmark, and all over the UK. Featured twice on Sunday brunch for Channel 4 ,they also starred in the BBC2 and BBC4 production of Sea Songs, with Gareth Malone; the latter being the most viewed programme of the year, on BBC 4. The group possess probably the finest bass singer on the British folk scene today, in John Bromley. John has been singing folk songs since he was sixteen and has sung in several folk bands and is a solo artist. John plays guitar, whistle and bodhran.
Neil Kimber has been performing and singing since the late sixties and has a massive repertoire of songs at his disposal, he plays guitar and is the only real sailor in the group. Neil and Ros Kimber composed the wonderful song Don’t Take The Heroes, which is now being sung by many shanty bands all over the world, and describes the aftermath of the Penlee lifeboat disaster.
Kimber’s men are lucky to have long standing member Gareth Scott. He has a powerful and bluesy voice and is an accomplished guitarist, bringing another dimension to the sound they produce. Not forgetting Steve Smith the recent stowaway, who, as sound engineer and multi-instrumentalist, completes the group with his high harmonies.
Expect to laugh, sing and be generally entertained.
28th November : Dana & Susan Robinson.
From Cabot, Vermont – Americana-roots and folk duo Dana and Susan Robinson combine vivid songwriting and storytelling, with fiddle tunes, banjo grooves, elegant melodies, and rich harmony singing. Drawing upon experiences of more than twenty years of touring, Dana and Susan craft a performance that conveys the mystery and wonders of their journey. Their unique blend of original songwriting and traditional Appalachian music, bring to their performances a deep understanding of America’s musical heritage, and how it relates to our contemporary lives.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dana relocated to New England where he discovered both a thriving songwriters scene and the deep well of traditional mountain music. In the early 1980s, Dana settled in northern Vermont and built a house “off the grid” on 30 acres near the Canadian border. There he founded a popular bakery, café and music venue. Dana launched into full-time touring after the release of his 1994 debut CD, Elemental Lullabye, and after receiving a request to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City for Putumayo’s Shelter benefit project.
Susan grew up with her dad’s jazz big band rehearsing in the basement in Manchester, Vermont and learned classical piano as a child. As an adult she turned to oboe and Scottish fiddle. After Susan and Dana met in 2002, she took up old-time banjo and learned from the banjo-greats in and around Asheville, North Carolina. Since 2003 Dana and Susan have performed hundreds of concerts across the United States, Great Britain and Canada.
Exquisite music - physical and spiritual, contemporary and ancient, up to its eyeballs in mud and transcendence. Musicians like Dana Robinson don't grow on trees! - Music Upstream.
Rural America explored with elegant simplicity. Their music and cleanly poetic songwriting bring to mind the great folksingers of our times. - Asheville Citizen-Times
Many songwriters have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthries or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and soul of folk music - Dirty Linen
SONGS FOR PEACE will take place on Remembrance Sunday 10th November at 1 pm at Bradford Cenotaph (by the Alhambra), with songs led by Commoner's Choir, the choir of singers from Settle and Silsden, and Tony & Rahel. Wreaths will be laid,a few speeches, then soup and hot drinks will be available at Delius Arts Centre (the German Church) with hopefully some more music.
IMPORTANT STUFF (in fact very important) - THE AGM!
Yep it's that time again: the AGM will be held on 5th December at 7.30 pm at The Merchant Bar , preceding the monthly singers and musicians night. Further details will be formally circulated later, in accordance with the requirements of the constitution. A reminder that the AGM business will be for Topic members only: Non-members coming to the singers night will be welcome to observe, but will not be able to vote on any matters, as is normal.
Forms for the election of committee members will be available on club nights prior to the date of the AGM. Nomination forms must include a proposer, seconder and the nominee's agreement to stand for election.
Please consider putting your name forward for the committee: it's not too onerous a task, 4 meetings a year and it's always helpful to have new people being involved, new ideas and so forth, it keeps the club moving forward.
AGM's and matters of constitution are tedious but necessary: they give members a chance to let the committee know what they want, and the committee members to explain the whys and wherefores of their running of the club if necessary. Above all they make for transparency in terms of financial matters, providing a proper record of the accounts of the club. So hopefully we will get enough people along and deal with the business efficiently so we can get on with the singers night.
If you would like to become a member of the Topic Folk club it still only costs only £5.00 for the year. Membership runs from 1st January and entitles you the lower ticket prices shown in this newsletter as well as the chance to become more involved in the workings of the club if you would like to. You can join or renew your membership on any club night.
For performers who may be thinking of approaching the club for a booking, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re visiting the club for the first time, be sure to come and say hello, and if anyone has any suggestions for the club, for example if you would like us to try to book a particular artist, we’d like to hear them.
The Topic runs on Thursdays at The Merchant Bar, 25 Peckover Street, Little Germany BD1 5BD, 8.00 pm start. Like all the clubs in the area, our aim is to provide good quality live entertainment to suit all tastes of those interested in folk music, and we thank you for your continued support.
Floor singers are always welcome (though may be limited when we have a booked support act - please check). Please arrive by 7.45 pm if you’d like a slot – it helps the MC to plan the evening. Would-be floor singers please note that for the time being we may change the format of the evening slightly and have all the floor singers at the beginning of the first half to start the night.
It's not set in stone, we'll see how things develop as we go along, but it may help the evening run smoothly and ensure that the finish time is strictly adhered to, so that the necessary furniture moving etc can be attended to.
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