Category Archives: Ashington Folk Club

31-Aug-2010 Cartoon capers

Cartoon capers make up for a musically quiet month. How come we’re always so tired even though we’ve not been overly busy? Only nine performances this month! We:

  • Performed at singers nights in the north east:
    • South Shields Folk Club
    • Candlelight Folk Club
    • Ashington Folk Club
    • Darlington Folk Club
  • Played at two care homes – one in Prudhoe (the town where we grew up)
  • Played at Havestock ‘Festival’
  • Played at the Angel Free Music Extravaganza
  • Played at a charity night of music at Croxdale
  • Went to Saltburn Folk Festival as invited guests and to judge the Songwriting competition… popped into (and out of) a few venues and shows, saw quite a few performances, but didn’t play ourselves – kinda strange being around so much music and not performing.

It’s been interesting, fun and fulfilling on other fronts too… August saw us celebrate Jimmy’s birthday (59, who would have thought it?), our 1st wedding anniversary, and Val’s birthday too! We also enjoyed some good company both here at our place and at friends’ too, managed to squeeze in a couple of table tennis sessions, do some CD artwork, web design stuff, and Val still got in a few days temping work as well.

We also did a lot of research and went shopping for… aaah, time will tell… you’ll just have to wait.

A great highlight for us was being the guinea pig cartoon subject of Fool’s Gold Steve – we’re really pleased about it and have already incorporated some of the unique humour into our song introduction for ‘Different Dreams’.

25-Mar-2008 marriage proposal!

February and March have been so busy that we’ve had to combine them both into a single news update – so much going on, and so little time.

Most important news is that at Ashington Folk Club on St Valentine’s Day Val popped the question to Jimmy – facing the audience, and pausing ever so briefly for dramatic effect, Jimmy said “yes”… cheers and applause all around! We plan to tie the knot in 2009, so watch this space…

Having been invited to play at the Ingleton Folk Festival Fundraiser on 23 February, we happily obliged – playing in both the afternoon and evening bashes. We hired a cottage in Ingleton for the week, and used it as a base while we explored  a little of the North West music scene. We played at the Plough in Staining, the Alison Arms in Coppull and the Orwell in Wigan… met some friends, made some new ones and promised to return and play again.

With hardly time to draw breath following our return home we played a short spotlight set at the Foggy Furze Folk Club in Hartlepool – special thanks to Chairman Ian Ferguson for allowing us to debut our fabulous new Bose L1 system at the club. And then at the weekend we took the system along to the General Havelock at East Sleekburn where it created lots of interest because of its sleek looks and crystal clear all around sound.

A few days later it was back to Blackpool for a theme night of ‘Allan Taylor songs’ at the Clarence. A night of great music performed in many different styles – we were treated almost like celebrities and closed the night with our take on ‘Back Again’ and an as-yet-unreleased ‘Back Home Again’ before we did, indeed, drive all the way ‘Back Home Again’ for a few hours shut-eye before work the next day.

The following weekend we drove down to Loftus for the Hiring Fair – although sorely tempted to take the Bose, we thought it would be more practical for everyone if we just played through the house PA… maybe we’ll take the Bose another time.

Next day it was a live appearance on local radio station Bishop FM where we squeezed in six songs (four self-penned and two ‘dralons’… loose covers).

And all through it there was the usual round of singers nights at local folk clubs, late nights, little sleep, some precious rehearsal time, recording a local songwriter friend… and finding time to do the day job too!

As you can see from the jiva MySpace profile there’s little prospect of things slowing down as requests for us to play make their way into our schedule.

31-Dec-2007 a series of lasts

A series of lasts for 2007 – last Taylor guitar, last night in charge at Ashington Folk Club, last website design, last performance… we’re busily planning 2008 and expect to be busier than ever.

Last Taylor Guitar Of 2007

On 16 October we mentioned the arrival of Baby Lucy – a Baby Taylor guitar, a free promotional thank you for our purchase of Jimmy’s 910CE-L7 Brazilian Rosewood guitar on 21 September… yes, you’ve guessed, we just had to have one to match for Val. So, on 12 December it was back to Guitar Guitar in Newcastle where we bought Jack. Slightly darker than Lucy, he’s every bit as cute, and produces a big sound for such a diminutive guitar.

Why ‘Jack’? And why ‘Lucy’ for our first Baby Taylor? Well… this dates back to our 2006 Songwriting Seminar in Germany with Allan Taylor. We were absolutely delighted and deeply moved when Arno, a fellow student (and now friend) sang ‘Jack And Lucy’, a lovely Hugh Moffatt song which he dedicated to jiva. That performance is one of our favourite moments on the DVD from the seminar. We’ve often thought about adding the song to our repertoire, but we’ve not yet managed to add the jiva touch… here’s hoping.

Last Night ‘in charge’ At Ashington Folk Club

20 December was our last night in charge at Ashington Folk Club – the full review on their website includes photos and soundclips. We’re normally too busy MC-ing, photographing, PA-ing and recording to find a slot to perform at Ashington, but there’d been many requests for an extended spot, so we happily obliged. We closed the night, finishing the 2007 Ashington season and rounding off our four-year stewardship of the club with 25 minutes of the gentle jiva blend:

  • Sonny – song of the moment for us, our arrangement is derived from Mary Black’s excellent take on the Ron Hynes song
  • Louise – a Paul Siebel song requested by Derek Greenacre
  • Back Home To You – a relatively new Allan Taylor song he’s not yet released on CD
  • Silent Night – what better way to close the set than with the Bothal Suite filled with harmonies? To quote Mike Jessop… ‘Unbeatable’.

Amid the cheers and clapping there were shouts for one more song, so we duly obliged by encoring with:

One more tear, one more smile
Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
Keep this in your memory
One more song to sing

Goodnight, and thank you all.

Last Website Design Of 2007

Earlier in the year we’d been approached regarding a website for the Chillingham Folk Club in Newcastle. Once we got the go ahead it only took jiva design a few days to produce some drafts for comment/approval. Our initial design was readily accepted and the site was published on Christmas Eve. Our portfolio of music-related sites is growing:

We’ve also busied ourselves with MySpace profiles for Allan Taylor, Ashington Folk Club, Cramlington Folk Club and (of course) jiva as well as a website for a local writer and a shop in Hexham.

So get in touch with us, and soon you could have your own custom-built presence on the internet.

Last Performance Of 2007

28 December was our last performance of the year – we went down to the Foggy Furze in Hartlepool for a relaxed sing around (with snacks laid on by the club members – thanks to everyone there, very much appreciated). We played:

  • An Acquaintance Of Mine – beautiful Anthony John Clarke song
  • Silent Night – again, loads of harmonies from everyone there
  • Best Friends – a jiva composition whose first public airing was at the Foggy Furze when we did a guest spot for them in August this year
  • Sonny – our own arrangement of the Ron Hynes classic
  • One More Song – we dedicated this jiva song to the Foggy Furze, probably the friendliest club we’ve ever played at

Our last song of 2007 was also the last Foggy Furze song of 2007 – thanks to Ian and Co for being such good friends. We look forward to seeing you again in 2008.

16-Nov-2007 technology and much more

Allan Taylor concert, Edirol R-09 digital recorder, new song mp3 added to the website – all in the space of 2 days. Yes, we’ve had a very busy time of it.

10:00 on the morning of November 15 saw us visiting Soundware in Osborne Road, Newcastle. We were there to pick up a neat piece of technology (“another new  gadget” sighs Val) which should give us the ability to capture song ideas easily without the fuss of wires and microphones and mixers and computers. It’s a pocket-sized digital recorder… Edirol R-09 (by Roland). It records to a flash card using either external or internal microphones, and can be plugged into the computer via USB to transfer the files.

Later that day Allan Taylor called in for a visit before going on to Ashington Folk Club for the evening concert. He played our collection of Taylors – a real treat for us – and we experimented a little with our new toy. After a bite to eat it was off to Ashington in convoy to set up the gear and sound check.

The concert was great! After setting up his own sound Allan made sure the gear was adjusted perfectly for the support act (jiva of course! – who else could it be?). This left us plenty of time to welcome people and be our usual, genial selves as hosts for the evening. At 8:30 prompt we kicked off the night with 4 songs – Val playing the Taylor 855 12-string and Jimmy the Taylor 910CE-L7 6-string. The sound was magical – thanks, Allan. Then, special guest for the evening, Allan Taylor did 2 wonderful sets mixing old and new (as yet unrecorded/unreleased) songs… delivered with interesting anecdotes and superb guitar playing complementing his rich voice. All too soon it was 11:00 pm and the show was over… a wonderful night – there could be no better person to have as the last guest under jiva’s stewardship of the folk club. (Read the full review of the concert on the Ashington Folk Club website.)

Then it was home to wind down with a light snack and some really good French wine courtesy of Allan. Not many hours, and not much sleep, later the alarm clocks announced it was 04:00 am – it was an early start for Allan as he had a 170 mile drive to catch a ferry to Ireland for some gigs over there. Jimmy and Val then grabbed some more shut-eye.

During the afternoon of November 16 we experimented some more with our new gadget… we tried using the internal mics and an external one that Jimmy had used years before with a digital video camcorder. The results were very encouraging – so much so that we’ve added to the website an mp3 of a song we recorded with the Edirol. No fancy tricks, no post processing… the recording is literally the two of us singing/playing to the external mic attached to our new gadget. We won’t tell you which song it is – you’ll have to visit our Songs page to find it!

Needless to say, we are very happy with the new ‘toy’ – we’ve already recorded some new ideas which will hopefully lead to new songs in the jiva performance repertoire.