I think it’s about time we caught up …

It’s been forever since I last wrote a blog … and there is no excuse other than “life get hectic don’t it”. So much has happened in the past 6 months … where to start?!
Tannara in the Garden
August saw us joined by the wonderful Tannara from Scotland for a (slightly chilly) Folk at the Froize garden event. Regardless of the cold, those youngsters persevered, and my goodness could they play their instruments well! Gorgeous harp from Becca, lilting Scottish vocals from Owen, masterful accordion from Joseph and some searing fiddle from Robbie. The evening tied up beautifully by us all gathering (very keenly) around the fire pit for an unplugged number which was just stunning. Once we had thawed out inside the Froize, Owen even went home with a bottle of Scotch whisky that he was most excited about (as his dad used to make it). Massive thanks also to the lovely Tilly Moses who was our opening act that night. She released her debut album last year which has had some fantastic reviews and is definitely worth a listen. We wish both acts the best of luck with their musical careers.
Singing round the fire pit

September was an extreeeeemley busy month here at Froize towers with three events in the space of three weeks! Folk at the Froize featured David’s favourite male vocalist, the wonderful Greg Russell who was on a joint headline tour with the equally lovely Jack Rutter. They were calling it the ‘Ginger Beards and Tasty Beers tour’ … which I think has a lovely ring to it. Both of them were promoting their solo album releases which I can quite happily report are two masterful pieces of work. I could easily listen to Jacks lilting Yorkshire vocal all day long – his voice reminds me of Kate Rusby’s voice – only in a much more male way!

Greg Russell
Jack Rutter

Our second event of September took place at Leiston Film Theatre and featured mine and Jon’s favourite band of the moment, Sam Kelly & (some of) The Lost Boys! This night celebrated all of the boys marvellous skills … the silky smooth vocals of Sam Kelly, a fiddling frenzy from Ciaran Algar, finger licking picking awesome banjo from Jamie Francis, heart melting melodeon from Archie Churchill Moss, and toe tappingly tasty percussion from Evan Carson. Those boys can play! And it’s always neatly wrapped up with fantastic story telling and laid back jokes from Sam, along with those cheeky interruptions we’ve all come to know and love from Ciaran. Alden Patterson and Dashwood supported that night, and boy do they just get better and better every time I see them! They’ve become good friends over the past year or so, and we always love to hear their heart stopping three part vocal harmonies (and I always leave a gig of theirs wanting to buy a dobro!).

Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys
Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys
Evan Carson
Jamie Francis and Sam Kelly
Alden, Patterson and Dashwood
Our third and final event in September had me excited from the moment I booked it about 6 months before hand. Around 4 years ago I saw The Mae Trio perform at Maverick Festival. They took my breath away at the time. It wasn’t just their story telling, but the fact that they could all play and sing so beautifully that it made me want to cry. So when I heard Maggie, Anita and Elsie were coming over to the UK to promote their latest album, how could I not book them?!!! So, on the 30th September (Davids birthday) they came to little ole Suffolk to play for us once more. My heart melted all over again .. and the tears welled up and fell down my cheeks. Sometimes in life, I just get struck by the beauty of the moment and how blessed I am to be alive and able to share in the experience of music. They were all so sweet and bubbly too – a great way to end a fantastic month of live music! The Mae Trio are going to be coming back to the UK in 2018 so I sincerely suggest you try to get along to one of their gigs if you can.

Sadly Octobers event with Lucy Ward had to be cancelled because of Lucy having an operation. We wish her well with her recovery and hope we’ll get to hear her perform at the Froize one day soon!

I can’t tell you much about November either … David has promised a report of the night which featured the fantastic Jim Moray and the beautiful Burkitt family. Jon and I were away on tour with Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, so we were unable to make it along, but we heard it was another stunning performance.

However, on December the 17th, Ange Hardy and ‘husband face’ Rob came back to the Froize for the second time. They were greeted like old friends and seemed jolly relaxed after enjoying the delights of Ufford Park Spa! I’d been hearing wonderful things about Ange since June 2016, tales of her overcoming her struggles in life, but most of all her accomplished songwriting and spot on performances with all kinds of instrumentation and looping gadgetry at her feet. I have to say I was impressed! I get freaked out by having one loop pedal at my feet … and Ange had three!!! She maintained such a sense of calm throughout … a gentle sprinkling of harp here and there … layers upon layers of vocal harmonies … all performed with such confidence, ease and humour. A very captivating watch. No doubt we will see Ange again in the future.

Ange Hardy

Finally we come to the end of the year and our big Folk on the Farm Ceilidh. Thanks to all who came along to enjoy our night of food and merriment on the dance floor. We like the new venue with its warmth and twinkly lights … we hope you do too! Greeting you at the door with jigs and reels was the very accomplished, recorder player extroadinaire, Finn Collinson, with his little sister Rowan (who plays fiddle like a pro twice her age!). It was lovely to welcome back Ciaran Algar once again, this time with Jamie Roberts by his side (one half of duo Gilmore & Roberts). They played a wonderful set of tunes midway through the evening. Ciaran got plyed with drinks (at his request I might add … I think he was seeing how far he could take it … not sure how many whiskies he ended up with in the end … but certainly more than he could safely drink). Then the ceilidh truly got up and running with John Ward’s ‘SkipHire’. Couldn’t believe how full the dance floor was … and how full it stayed! Well done to all of you for your enthusiasm!

Ciaran and Jamie
We’re now looking ahead to a year full of more fantastic music events. Don’t miss out! We’ve got Blue Rose Code, Jackie Oates, Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, Molly Evans, Estbel, Kim Lowings and the Greenwood, The Hut People. WOR, Harri Endersby, Claire Hastings, Gilmore & Roberts and the Rachael McShane band. What a year! And don’t forget our extra events too … Merry Hell & Hannah Scott at Wantisden Valley on 9th March and more to be announced soon!