Artist Profiles

18 October 2019 – NICK HARPER: The 58 FORDWYCH ROAD tour

Nick Harper is one the UK’s best kept musical secrets. Being the son of Roy Harper meant a childhood growing up surrounded by some of the 60’s most revered songwriters and musicians. This, along with 20 years of crafting songs and touring, has spawned a truly one-off, original guitarist and songwriter.
For over two decades he has been dazzling audiences, reviewers and fellow artists alike with his heady mix of virtuosity, boyish charm, showmanship and sheer bravado. An imagination bursting with ideas has seen Nick release 11 solo albums to critical acclaim, earning a Number 1 spot in the charts with the seminal hit ‘Blue Sky Thinking’.
He now returns with a performance at Roots Music Club with his show ’58 FORDWYCH ROAD’. This all new show centres around a living room in a small flat in Kilburn, London in the mid 1960s. Then the abode of up-and-coming singer-songwriter Roy Harper and his wife Mocy. The flat was an after hours hang-out for the legends who played at Les Cousins in Soho at the height of the acoustic explosion in swingin’ sixties London.
People like Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, John Renbourn, Paul Simon, Marc Bolan, Sandy Denny and others dropped in, to drop out, jam and try new tunes. But, all along, there was someone else there… a toddler, part of the family, inhaling the music and absorbing the vibe; Nick Harper. In this unique and one-off show he plays tribute to the time, the place and to the music that became the centre of everything for him & the rest of this ‘family’.
‘Harper has so much musicianship in him it just leaks out all over the place.’—The Times ‘He deserves to become a major figure in his own right’—The Guardian
‘Dylan for the iPod generation…Betjemen with a guitar.’—Guitarist
‘My musical discovery!’—Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music
‘Acoustic Hendrix!’—Guitar Magazine
‘Hey, the boy is good!’—Robert Plant
‘That boy is too good.’—Bert Jansch


25 October 2019 – JACK RUTTER

Another Roots Music Club debutant.

‘In the spirit of the old traditional singers, Jack Rutter takes a song, shapes it, lives with it and brings out something unique. This album makes my heart sing’.
– Kathryn Tickell OBE, BBC Radio 3

‘An outstanding performer’.
– The Independent

Jack Rutter is a highly respected folk singer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist from West Yorkshire. His second solo album Gold of Scar & Shale is available CD/DL from October 4th 2019.
Produced by Joe Rusby and recorded as live, the new album continues the stripped back approach of its critically acclaimed predecessor, Jack’s debut solo outing Hills. The songs are unearthed gems from the folk canon – almost all of them rare and many previously unrecorded – gathered from old books and source singers as Rutter uncovered material for this major new release of traditional song.
Jack’s soaring vocal takes centre stage on the album, delivering each folk tale in a fresh and current way; his masterful playing and arrangements providing the perfect accompaniment. Jack contributes guitar, bouzouki, duet concertina and harmonium to the album with featured guest musicians Sam Sweeney on fiddle, Alice Robinson on Northumbrian pipes and Sam Fisher on flugelhorn.
There is a strong sense of place on the new record too, with over half of the songs having some sort of Yorkshire connection. The album title itself Gold of Scar & Shale comes from a line in one such track, ‘The Hills of Longdendale’, with words written by ‘The Moorland Poet’ Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946).
Says Jack “to me Ammon Wrigley is describing the rough and bleak parts of the moorland with this line, the scar and the shale that is always nevertheless gold to him. I love this line and realised that for me it’s also a great metaphor for traditional songs; rough, stark and honest things that contain such riches. I found then that I’d stumbled upon the perfect title for this album, or at least one that I really loved anyhow.”
Jack Rutter grew up in the Holme Valley area of West Yorkshire, a place steeped in a wealth of traditional song, and following a BSc degree in Countryside Management at Newcastle University has forged a highly successful career playing music across the UK and Europe. In addition to his acclaimed solo work, he has become a highly sought after collaborator for a host of the biggest names in folk music such as Seth Lakeman, Sam Sweeney and Jackie Oates as well as playing in the celebrated instrumental trio Moore Moss Rutter.
The release of Gold of Scar & Shale is set to confirm Jack Rutter’s place as a solo artist, singer and performer of traditional songs first and foremost, marking him as one of the standout voices of the folk, roots and acoustic music scene.
Gold of Scar & Shale is released October 4th 2019


8 November 2019 – BROOKS WILLIAMS

A welcome return for one of our favourite performers.

Brooks Williams got his start in the small bars and coffeehouses of New York and Boston. That was 28 albums ago. More recent appearances include The Tolbooth in Stirling, The Philharmonic in Liverpool, Fairport’s Cropredy Festival, Costa del Folk, and Shrewsbury Folk Festival. A rootsy songwriter, Williams is ranked in the ‘Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists’ and his voice is one “you just melt into”, says Americana UK. He’s collaborated with the likes of Hans Theessink, Boo Hewerdine, Sally Barker, Chris Difford, Dave Kelly & Paul Jones and our next guest, Vera van Heeringen.



15 November 2019 – THE VERA van HEERINGEN TRIO

It’s unusual to find someone who’s as good a songwriter as an instrumentalist. Vera van Heeringen is that person. A consummate guitarist, highly acclaimed by her contemporaries, she brings the instrument to life in way that is entirely her own. Vera also writes tunes and songs which deliver straight to – and from – the heart. Firmly rooted in Transatlantic traditions, her original contemporary Americana showcases both these skills: firebrand instrumental virtuosity and poignant, emotionally astute songwriting.
An early starter, raised in the acoustic music scene in her native Holland, Vera has long been recognised for her elegant yet gutsy guitar style – a skill which transposes to pretty much anything with strings! A musician with integrity and style in equal measure. In 2015, Vera released her second album, Proper Brew, which features a roll call of top-drawer musicians who share her musical aesthetic, and hold her in high esteem – amongst them Tim O’Brien, Dirk Powell, Rayna Gellert and Kris Drever. Vera’s now working on her third album.
Her live performances are intimate, understated affairs, allowing the music to speak for itself. Stripped back, potent, and full of groove. Outstanding flatpicking, fulsome fiddle playing, heartbreaking lyrics, and assured natural vocal tone and driving tunes are all integral to the show.
Currently Vera tours with a watertight acoustic trio featuring harmony king Dave Luke on guitar, vocals and mandolin, and double-bass stalwart Andy Seward. Dave has been the backbone of many hard-working country bands and toured extensively with Nashville singer songwriter Gail Davies, playing venues like the Grand Ole Opry. Musician and record producer extraordinaire Andy Seward was part of folk darling Kate Rusby’s band as well as working with Eddi Reader, Richard Thompson, Andy Cutting, Martin Simpson and Brooks Williams.


22 November 2019 – TRHE RUTH NOTMAN TRIO

Folk singer/songwriter, Ruth Notman, first came to prominence in 2006 when, aged just 17, she was a finalist in the BBC Young Folk Awards. In 2007, the Nottingham 18-year-old released a debut album Threads which, as BBC Radio 3’s Verity Sharp declared, “caused quite a stir” making the folk scene sit up and take notice of this young performer’s incredible voice. Threads went on to receive plaudits in The Independent, The Guardian and Mojo and in 2009, Notman released her second album The Life of Lilly to similar acclaim before taking a 10-year musical sabbatical to gain a degree in Medical Science. Ruth now returns to the UK folk scene with her clear, powerful vocals and the unique brand of acoustic folk which inspired a generation of young singers and musicians. She has just released a new album Changeable Heart with Sam Kelly.
Blending a West Coast US sound with touches of Celtic and jazz, Chris Conway and Dan Britton are a powerful multi-instrumental duo of singer-songwriters who have played together for 27 years. Their third album Safe Harbour got great reviews and another is on the way. Together they have supported Bob Geldof, Jefferson Starship, Country Joe McDonald, and Roy Wood. As well as their solo careers they are also part of the popular Celtic band Govannen, who have sold 15,000 albums worldwide. Making a full band sound between them, with guitars, keyboards, Irish whistles, and kalimba, there is a seamless blend that only such a long association brings. They are joined by percussionist Neil Rabjohn and have played a series of concerts with Ruth Notman last year and they joined her onstage to great effect.