Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Buzzin' Mashers and all The News From Acoustic Rotherham 6

Buzzin’ – that’s the word that probably best describes the past week for Acoustic Rotherham and The Rawmarsh Mashers.

For the first time there is a sense that the green shoots of Acoustic Rotherham are beginning to grow adding more confidence to the feeling that artists, musicians and the general Folk / Acoustic enthusiast can see the value of a focal point for news and music distribution.

The Acoustic Rotherham Web Site is now within the top two million of all Web Sites, having reached 1,750,000 according to the Alexa ratings. That places us firmly within the top 50,000 of all visited UK sites.

And standing at number 1 in the South Yorkshire Reverbnation Charts is just confirmation that your efforts are beginning to have an impact.

The Acoustic Rotherham week was topped off with Acoustic Rotherham 6, making it’s second visit to The Queens in Rawmarsh.

It was, to say the least, yet another fantastic afternoon of music, with every one of the acts, following The Mashers warm up set that is, produced simply brilliant performances.

Matt Shore the brilliant young singer song writer from Sheffield demonstrated that here was a lad with super future ahead of him in music, if he can demonstrate the patience we all know that is required. His body of work and confident performance will make him a stand out performer of the future to watch.

And if we needed even more evidence that young people can find and enjoy Folk Music, Folk On Fire from Halifax certainly demonstrated that they too have a fantastic future ahead of them. The simple joy that they demonstrate as they play their tunes has to be seen. The Mashers have now seen them three times, and each time they become more relaxed and more confident with their material. Folk On Fire are bound to be really popular around the Festivals this year, so if you’ve not yet seen them, search them out, you definitely will not be wasting your time.

We had a now rare appearance from Pete Higgins who entertained us with many of the songs that we grew up with in the Folk Clubs. It was lovely to be taken back to the way Folk used to be – what’s more he sung a few of my personal favourites. Thanks Pete your efforts to work with the PA were much appreciated.

Acoustica, the other two thirds of the singing Higgins family then gave us one of their super sets. We don’t have to tell you folks just how popular they are around the Folk Clubs. We should see a lot more them. And if you’ve not seen Andy and Cath in action, (musical that is) I promise they are well worth going out of your way to see.

With a sideways look at Folk, performers and the acoustic tradition The Misk Hills Mountain Rambler had us all chuckling and thinking. His new song When Coal Was King being a super reflection upon the destruction of the Coal Industry. He’s relatively new of the South Yorkshire music scene and looking for places to play. I’m sure you’ll all oblige. The opening number simply should not be missed.

A special treat just before the new “Chat Break” when Catherine and Andy (daughter and Dad) treated us to a short set of three songs in return for plugging their Charity Event coming up at The Rotherham Rugby Club on 5th February. Catherine was breaking off from her A Level Revision, but every minute was worthwhile as she treated us to a performance of maturity far beyond her comparative tender years. And Andy was on form to. You can check out the full concert details on the News page.

And here it might be worth mentioning the good old Mashers PA system, made and bought to be used by duo wishing to bash out their numbers. Well it had to be pulled in at short notice again to fulfil the needs of Acoustic Rotherham. It was not built for bands over two, so when Dead Cat Bounce arrived with their multi instruments and full electronic drum kit Dickie Masher went into nightmare mode.
However by hook and by crook and simply just letting the boys of Dead Cat Bounce get on with it, we were able to get the full effect of the Band in all their glory. The chewing gum and string held out wonderfully.

This was Dead Cat Bounce’s first public outing and what debut. We at Acoustic Rotherham will never forget it, and even the cheers and singing from the massed choir of The Queen’s Football Team were drowned out by Phill’s powerful delivery. We look forward to being able to feature some studio recording s on the Acoustic Web Site soon.

Great supporters of Acoustic Rotherham Tina McKevit and Matt Hegarty treated us to a delightful set as usual. Why this fantastic duo do not get more exposure leaves me at a loss. Their debut CD, already in circulation, will soon be on the Acoustic Rotherham CD Shop page so if you’ve not yet heard this brilliant duo at work that will be your chance. We also look forward to a new CD perhaps featuring some their new material, which I personally find spell binding.

Then a Band which is always good to feature, if only because they fill a room!! Jacks Rake, our old adversities on the Reverbnation Charts.

Performing a completely acoustic set (thank God said Dickie) Jacks Rake produced some great tunes in their own arrangements. They even nearly got me dancing and that would have been a first. I think they also go down as the Band to have played the least number of numbers within their time slot an all time record at three in twenty five minutes, of full on music. Hats off to you guys and I know we’ll be seeing a lot more of you in the future.

Fools Gold, a band that The Mashers had not seen before then put on an amazing set made up of a mixture of their own songs and covers. With the same double bass, guitar and female vocal / second guitar build that made The Seekers sound so popular, Fools Gold are going to be very popular on the circuit.

They play a mixture of their own songs backed by popular covers that had the audience tapping their feet and singing along. You can check out their sound and buy their CD in the CD Shop.

A virtuoso of the guitar followed. Rawmarsh’s own Mark Hearne or Mark O’Flynn to his mates. Mark’s main claim to fame is to having played a key role in the development of The Rawmarsh Mashers by being so short sighted enough to have encouraged Dickie Masher to play his guitar again!!

It’s a long time since I’d seen Mark in action, and despite the limitations of the PA he produced a fantastic set of technical guitar playing to some brilliant traditional folk songs. This man needs to get out there more and deserves to be seen more in the Folk Clubs of South Yorkshire. Give him a call and you’ll be in for a treat.

Paul Pearson, accompanied by Charlie Barker on cello then produced one of his brilliantly passionate sets. He seems to get better every time I see him. This is Roots music at it’s very best and it’s a pity that no one can pin him down long enough to get him into a recording studio to produce a CD from his collection of songs.

Ending the evening a real special treat. Charlie Barker who despite the Music Quiz man setting off the bar speaker system as he started to prepare and a very dry throat from her recent cold produced one of those magical endings to the event. Not a lot can be said about Charlie that has not already been said, and why she is not up there with the headlining stars on the Folk circuit in her own right remains a mystery to me. Her current CD is available from the Amazon Associate CD Shop. Watch out for a new CD heading your way from Charlie later this year. It’s to be a collection of her all time favourite songs.

So as usual my thanks to everyone who took part in and visited Acoustic Rotherham 6. It’s you that make these events work and so special and without tangible reward as well. I very much hope that you enjoyed as much as The Rawmarsh Mashers did in hosting it.

But moving on before I do a Murray blub.

Into the CD Shop has come the latest offering from Stormcrow. A duo from the that prolific Folk Region, the North East. Now, when I listened to this CD I found it refreshingly different and original. The lyrics have a cutting edge and the accompaniment is just super played to a folk and roll tempo. Well worth a listen and well worth an investment. The MP3 Down Load version will be available later this week – in the CD Shop as well.

Also to come into the Shop will be the new CD from Jude Cowan. Doodlebug Alley. But more of that next time. I’ve just had a quick listen, and if Stormcrow’s offering is quirky, (their word not mine) then Jude’s CD is certainly out there with them. Again, so refreshingly simple in lyrics and production.

But then I’m not professional reviewer so expect the good words of David Kidman to be hitting the site in the not too distant future.

While we’re on CDs the much anticipated new CD from old friend of Acoustic Rotherham Anna Shannon will soon be hitting the shelves. Anna now has a full on distribution Agency doing the leg work for her and the official launch date for “Over Land” is the 15th of February. You might be interested in a couple of launch Concerts that Anna is giving and the dates will be in the Gig Guide very soon if not sooner.

And Gigs. Loads of great events coming up. If you’ve not already got your tickets for the Kirkby Fleetham Winter Warmer weekend, what have you been doing?

It’s a fantastic weekend of folk music and good folk, all in the Village Hall. You might even spot a Masher or two, OK a questionable reason to go, but The Ruth Notman Duo, Brian Peters, Dave Gibb, The Hall Brothers, Fiachra O'Regan & Sophie Lavoie, Nebula, Hamish Currie, Joe Solo, Richard Parkes are each and everyone of them good reasons for making the excursion. Full details on the News Page.

The Mashers have had a good week to.

Nellie Folk at the Bridge on Monday night was again back to it’s old buzzing stuff as singers and musicians all decided to make progress now that the snows have cleared. A bouncing night, and we even got asked to do an extra tune.

Then Tuesday we were off to do the main guest spot at Hillsborough Folk Club at the Burton Street complex. Always a fun place to go and always such an appreciative audience. And as a special bonus, amongst the familiar faces was a stranger we’ve not seen before, Phil Cockerham a singer writer from Leeds who entertained us royally with his witty lyrics and masterful treatment of more traditional material. But thanks to Pete and the regulars at Burton Street for a really nice evening.

I should add if you’ve not been to the Club, make a point of putting it in your diary.

Saturday found us at a Private Party to celebrate a major birthday for Theresa a well known and much loved face on the Rotherham music scene. Ill health and family concerns have sort of curtailed her activities of late, but the esteem in which she is held was demonstrated by a Mass turn out of Rotherham music people. Indeed some of the faces we had not seen for years and it was well worth the trip out just to meet up with so many old friends.

Meanwhile I’m told the Rotherham Rogues were playing to a packed house at The Yellow Lion in Greasborough. They deserve it after suffering at the hands of The Venue back in December.

A full report this week then.

I’ve not forgotten the much promised Publicity Advice update. It will be with you soon. Some minor amendments and it will be ready for publication. Keep your eyes on this space for details.

You’ll have to forgive me but to get all the pages updated will take a few days so please be patient with the Web Site. We’re getting there since the disasters of last year.

So with yet more thanks to all of you folks who made Acoustic Rotherham 6 so fantastic I’ll leave you for this week.

Oh!! We’d really appreciate it if you could where possible link to your Web Sites and Myspace pages – every little helps.

Find all the pictures from the events on

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