8th March 2019 – The Trials of Cato
The Trials Of Cato, a band that arrived fully formed and functioning from Beirut in the winter of 2016, have since torn a shape very much their own into the canvas of the UK folk scene. Originally from North Wales and Yorkshire, whilst living in Lebanon they spent a year boiling down the roots of their sound into a hybrid of traditional influences that intrigued Lebanese audiences in the country’s biggest venues.
They moved back to the UK and have since been performing tirelessly up and down the country, leading to BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe hailing them as “one of the real discoveries on the folk circuit in recent times.” Their musical development in the run up to their debut album proper has been swift and sure, winning much praise for Hide and Hair and receiving repeated national airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music.
Praised for the diversity of their material and influences, The Trials of Cato live show “invariably stuns audience wherever they play.” Whether plying their trade busking, performing in front of thousands at festivals across Europe, or frequently selling out their own club shows, The Trials of Cato have the wind behind them.
“One of the real discoveries on the folk circuit in recent times” – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
“Fascinating stuff” – Cerys Matthews, BBC 6 Music
“Swaggering and glossy” – The Guardian
“If there’s a more exciting debut album from a folk band this year, I haven’t heard it” – Folk Radio UK
“The Sex Pistols of folk” – John Davis, Metropolis Studios (Led Zeppelin, Royal Blood)
15th March 2019 – Chris Wood
“Chris takes a traditional song and has you absolutely gripped…. He makes it really obvious why it is of contemporary relevance. On the flip side, he has managed this magical thing, writing songs on contemporary themes, or putting music to Hugh Lupton’s words, that absolutely fit hand in glove with traditional songs, but are totally modern.” — Ian Anderson
Chris Wood started out as a choirboy and much of his music bears the influence of those years spent with the likes of Bach, Handel, Gibbons and Boyce: he describes the album Handmade Life as “church music with drums.”
Self-taught on guitar and violin, he is a lifelong autodidact — and his independent streak shines through in his composition and studio work. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his song writing has been praised for its surgical clarity. His work is typified by his trust in the space music can create and a gift for lyrical understatement. He cites his major influence as “Anon”.
Throughout his career independence has been balanced by collaboration. The artists he has worked with include Billy Bragg, Andy Gangadeen, Andy Cutting, Jean François Vrod and Hugh Lupton (Wood and Lupton’s “One in a Million” won Best Original Song at the BBC 2 Folk Awards in 2006). Recently he has worked alongside Martin and Eliza Carthy and others in The Imagined Village: “Cold Haily Rainy Night”, performed by Wood and Eliza Carthy, took the award for Best Traditional Song at the Folk Awards in 2008.
22nd March 2019 – The Willows
29th March 2019 – Bella, Polly and The Magpies
“A natural chemistry… all three voices blend and harmonise beautifully… the mix of styles offers so much promise.”
Folk Radio UK
“Very well liked by the punters! A proper hit.”
Bev Burton, Cambridge Folk Festival
5th April 2019 – Steve Tilston
It seems to me that Steve Tilston has never sought fame on anything but his own terms. He has been driven by his own enthusiasm for his chosen subject matter. He writes beautiful words and melodies and when our generation of songwriters is assessed on our contribution to our time, Steve’s work will rank alongside much better known artists. Ralph McTell
Steve Tilston has an annoying habit of doing things with his guitar and lyrics that I wish I’d thought of first, coupled with an integrity of expression that compels me to say things like this in public. Chris Smither
26th April 2019 – Rowan Piggott & Rosie Hodgson
Rosie Hodgson is a traditional English folk singer from West Sussex. With a voice that brings “a ruby-richness to lyrics new and old” (Folk Radio UK), it’s no surprise that Rosie has been a finalist for the BBC Young Folk Award. After a successful EP and the eponymous album from Crossharbour, she recorded her début album Rise Aurora to critical acclaim, producing what fRoots called “audible magic”. Rosie’s own songs are heavily influenced by the English tradition and her love of literature and the environment.
Rowan Piggott grew up in the foothills of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland, Rowan is a fine singer with a “deep understanding and feel for tradition” (FolkWords) and is known for his fiddle playing with Georgia Lewis Band (who played TwickFolk in 2016) and also his Songhive Project. The winner of the ‘Future of Young Folk Award’ at Bromyard Folk Festival, he recently featured on the cover of The Living Tradition after releasing his solo album Mountscribe.