Back in the Summer of 2022, a young duo performed the opening slot at Downend Folk & Roots. Immediately after the gig, we were inundated with requests from the regulars to get them back for a headline gig. No, not requests, actually; demands.

That pair are folk-fusion duo GOOD HABITS, and we listened to you, as they are back to headline our monthly concert on Friday 17 May.

Composed of Bonnie Schwarz (cello + vocals) and Pete Shaw (accordion), the pair mix virtuosic musicianship and vocal harmony with vivid storytelling, drawing on their diverse musical tastes and weaving them into an action-packed narrative of folky goodness. After a pandemic spent ‘happily stranded’ in New Zealand for all of 2020 and 2021 where they were supported and endorsed by Amanda Palmer, they arrived back in the UK to spread their joyous music throughout Europe.

Since returning home, they have toured relentlessly around the UK and Europe performing at festivals including Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, and Shrewsbury Folk Festival whilst developing a loyal fanbase. Won Shrewsbury Folk Festival’s ‘Launch Pad’ and the Purbeck Rising Award whilst also being nominated for the prestigious Christian Raphael Prize. Their captivating debut album Going For Broke received glowing international coverage with FRUK describing their breath-taking live shows as impossible to resist. Their touring in New Zealand was non-stop, including performances at the country’s biggest festivals: Cuba Dupa, Festival of Lights and Lunasa.

Opening the show will be Devon-based singer-songwriter BILLIE MAREE. Billie writes and performs deep-feeling folk-esque songs, and the quality of their vocal has been likened to Sandy Denny and Judy Tzuke. They are, however, very much their own artist with a strong and infectious sense of spirituality and self.

Inspired by an upbringing in the landscape of Devon, their debut EP We Belong reflects the nuances of human experience – with a focus on accepting all parts of ourselves, the shadows and the light. Calling in a sense of belonging. They self-produced and mostly self-recorded the EP, and each song was written about moments that moved Billie during the darker months of Winter. Billie was inspired to learn how to record and edit their own music as they wanted to have as much input into their creation as possible.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 17 May 2024, are available online HERE and from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.00pm and the music starts around 7.45pm.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based HOP UNION BREWERY. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/ mug/tankard, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of the drive to be more environmentally aware; there is a 50p discount for those that do. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of Radstock-based THE GREAT CAKE COMPANY, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert. 

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