Artist Profiles

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 – RUTH NOTMAN

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.