We are thrilled to announce our programme for Spring 2023 as we continue to bring you the very best that the UK folk, roots and acoustic music scene has to offer.

We begin our season with the long-anticipated CLIFF WOOLLEY MEMORIAL CONCERT as we pay tribute to the man who typified exactly what Downend Folk & Roots is all about. The concert will feature CHRIS ELLIOTT & CAITLIN JONES, the recipients of the inaugural Cliff Woolley Memorial Award, as well as THE MAGNIFICENT AKs and BRISTOL MORRIS MEN; two groups that Cliff was a key part of. The concert takes place on Friday 20 January.

On Friday 17 February we welcome the innovative duo TOM MOORE & ARCHIE MOSS. Widely regarded as two of the best players and innovators in traditional folk amongst a precociously gifted generation, Moore & Moss’ finely-crafted arrangements wield a rare potency. Now, having toured with some of the biggest and brightest acts in the British folk scene, they reconvene to perform as duo. Opening the evening will be singer songwriter and long time friend of Downend Folk & Roots, MIKE WEAVER.

Our March concert falls on Friday 17 March, which is St Patrick’s Day, so we wanted to bring you something with an Irish flavour whilst still being a good fit for Downend Folk & Roots. We think we’ve managed that perfectly with innovative Anglo-Irish quartet THE HAAR. This four-piece matches the fresh talent of traditional Irish singer Molly Donnery with three of the most exciting instrumentalists on the folk and traditional music circuit: Cormac Byrne, Adam Summerhayes and Murray Grainger. Joining them on the bill will be Bristol-based electro-folk duo SOLARFERENCE.

Rounding off our Spring lineup will be HARBOTTLE & JONAS, who will be our guests on Friday 21 April. Partners in life and music, the dynamic Devon-based folk duo are one of the most exciting acts on the UK circuit today, combining a love of the richness of traditional folk with their own original and powerful songwriting. Getting us underway will be singer-songwriter ROBERT LANE.

All four concerts will take place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND. Seating is unreserved. All tickets are £14 in advance (£16 on the door) but you can also buy a season ticket for all four concerts for £50, saving £6 plus booking fees. All tickets are non-refundable. They will also be available from MELANIE’S KITCHEN in Downend ahead of each individual gig. Please note that they can only take cash payments and season tickets are NOT available at the shop. There will be a full bar at all concerts, as well as a prize draw, all proceeds of which go towards booking our support artists. Doors open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.

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This was a night for duos, for friends, for partnerships. Tobias ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater have been 'round these parts before but Filkin's Drift - Chris Roberts and Seth Bye - are all new to most.

In lots of ways the dynamic duo of JACOB & DRINKWATER aren't really a folk band at all. They're a sublime indie-singer-songwriter-jazz-country-acoustic-pop band. There are moments - as on a lovely cover of Leonard Cohen's Bird on a Wire - of intricate guitar playing and vocal harmonies. Equally there are moments that almost sound like androgynous pop superstar Antony & The Johnsons. Tobias ben Jacob possesses a voice capable of gorgeous swoops and on We Are the First Ones Now he performs open heart surgery simply with the power of song.

Where Tobias is the weary, wary, heart crushed voice of the band, it is Lukas Drinkwater that is the excitable puppy, galloping by his side. He is a one-man folk music industry - an amazing producer and double bass player for hire - and, tonight, he plays piano, guitar, that wonderful bouncy double bass and provides the dubious dad jokes. On The Devil and Tobias ben Jacob he helps layer the spooky voodoo over which Tobias can whisper his malevolence. As the maelstrom ceases, Lukas pauses, beams and says "we're available for children's parties…".

They might not play "party music" but there's enough to stir the soul. For much of the second set they return to the theme of friendship - heartbreakingly so as Lukas is about to disappear off to Australia - and the deepest love that can be found. To Call You Friend is exactly that profound, reminding us all to find "solace in the arms of music" and doing so in the most delightful, beautiful way.

Three songs from the latest album, More Notes from the Field, mark highlights of a set packed with brilliance. Sargasso Sea has a muted, country-ish feel while Nowhere On Sea allows Tobias to explore his full range of indie mannerisms (somewhere between Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch and Michael Stipe) whilst delivering a piece of immaculate storytelling. It's the title track of the album, More Notes, that really delivers though. A fantastic song, it's toe tapping, clever and witty.

FILKIN'S DRIFT are as traditional a folk duo as you can imagine. Two intense looking young men, clutching a guitar and a fiddle, playing old songs or, at the very least, songs that sound old, hovering around a single microphone. In the way of these things they are utterly mesmerising. Annabel's Set is a set of instrumental tunes, full of waterfall guitar and fabulous violin. The "Welsh Song" (Clywai'r Tabwrdd / Can Aberhonddu) is beautiful, reminding you just how poetic, how moving that language can be and a brave cover of Beeswing brings roars of approval far more enthusiastic than any support band can rightly expect.

This might be the last time we see Jacob & Drinkwater for a while but, with ties this strong, these are friendships that will endure.

Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Barry Savell

 

We are thrilled to welcome back one of the most popular duos to have appeared during our eight year history, as JACOB & DRINKWATER return to headline this month following their first appearance back in 216. It’s been too long, but this concert was rescheduled twice due to you-know-what!

Jacob & Drinkwater have been called “stand out new folk” by BBC6 Music with their live show described as “intense and spellbinding” by Folk Radio UK. They formed in 2014 playing their first gig together at the iconic Glastonbury Festival.

The duo’s dynamic and emotionally charged live show with all its energy, musical chemistry and spontaneity has drawn comparisons with the virtuosic pairing of John Martyn and Danny Thompson. Tobias ben Jacob's sweeping vocals never fail to captivate, delivering many a spine- tingling moment; the fluidity and precision of his finger-picking underpinned by Lukas Drinkwater's nimbly rhythmic double bass; at times sweetly soaring, haunting, percussive and driving, the layers of depth a perfect counterfoil. The added complement of stirring vocal harmonies nicely rounds off the mix.

Jacob & Drinkwater’s latest album More Notes from the Field, released October 2021, is an exploration of the theme of friendship and connection through song. Written and developed remotely between the duo’s lockdown homes in Bydgoszcz, Poland and Stroud, Gloucestershire, Tobias & Lukas made their most ambitious recording to date. It has been met with glowing reviews from Folk Radio UK, Fatea and Folking, was playlisted by US-based Americana magazine ‘No Depression’ on a ‘best of 2021’ list and included in Folk Radio UK’s Top 100 albums of 2021. More Notes from the Field was described as “..beguiling, lyrical, and perfectly attuned..” by Songlines magazine in a rave review.

Joining Jacob & Drinkwater on the bill will be FILKIN'S DRIFT, who will get the music underway with a 25-minute set at 7.45pm.

Meeting in the multicultural city of Birmingham, the duo weave together intricate melodies from the folklore of their homes, Wales and Gloucestershire. Their music combines the traditional and the contemporary, blending fiddle, guitar, harmonium and mandolin with their close vocal harmonies. Ornate interplay between two fretted instruments conjures up a Baroque soundworld; meanwhile their foot-stomping fiddle and guitar tunes have been igniting audiences across the UK.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Christ Church Downend on Friday 21 October 2022, 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 7.30pm and the music starts around 7.45pm.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed 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 the Radstock-based Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert.

For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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