Wickham Festival News

The Often Herd

The Often Herd transcend the traditional boundaries of bluegrass music. Although they might resemble an American string band, complete with driving energy, tight vocal harmonies and dazzling instrumental interplay, their vibrant, transatlantic sound is deeply coloured by their surroundings; the striking natural and industrial landscapes of Northern England. This unique approach won them the title of “Best European Bluegrass Band 2018” at the prestigious La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France.

Rupert Hughes (guitar) and Evan Davies (mandolin), write songs steeped in personal experience whilst drawing from a wide pool of influences ranging from old-time to psychedelia. American-born fiddler Niles Krieger and jazz bassist Sam Quintana add fiery instrumental skills to the mix, launching the band’s arrangements into the stratosphere. Together, their sound is both boldly contemporary and soothingly familiar, taking time-honoured traditions to new places with a fresh perspective. Flock to the herd, you won’t be disappointed.

Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle

The superstar trio of Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle will be appearing on Saturday 3rd August 2024.  Steeped in Irish and Scottish traditional music, the trio overflow with instrumental and vocal riches, playing varying blends of flute, fiddle, guitar, uilleann pipes, whistles, bouzouki and harmonium.

All three musicians have won global acclaim.  John Doyle (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandola) is an Irish music linchpin and a founder member of acclaimed group Solas.  John McCusker (fiddle, whistles, harmonium) has played recently produced albums for Eddi Reader, Heidi Talbot and Kris Drever. Mike McGoldrick (flute, whistles, Uileann pipes, bodhran, clarinet, congas) is a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner, founding member of Lúnasa, and current member of Capercaillie.

Amonst them, they’ve shared stages and recording studios with everyone from Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler to Paul Weller, Joan Baez and Linda Thompson.

“One of the UK’s most gifted and versatile musicians in any genre, John McCusker is equally in demand as a multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer”.
The Guardian

“It takes a lifetime of playing to sound as effortless as these guys”
The Herald

“One of the greatest flute players in the world”
BBC Music

Jim Malcolm & Beth Malcolm

Both Jim Malcolm and his daughter Beth are making seperate appearences in the Friday, and on Saturday we’ll be welcoming them to the stage as a duo.  Jim, once the lead singer of the band Old Blind Dogs, will be entertaining us with his infectious humor, deft songwriting and guitar playing.

Beth Malcolm is a singer-songwriter and keyboard player from Perth. Beth’s music is folk-inspired, and she sings a mix of traditional Scots songs, with her own writing. Beth was named BBC MG ALBA Scots Singer of the Year in 2022.

The Johnny Quinn Macs

The Johnny Quinn Macs are a trio comprising John McSherry, Brendan Quinn and Francis McIlduff.

John McSherry is a major figure in Irish/Celtic music, hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of Uilleann Piping in the world today – “a true master” according to Irish Music Magazine. He won two All-Ireland piping championships at the age of fourteen and was the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Oireachtas Piping Competition in 1988, going on to represent Ireland at the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival that year as a result.

A founder member of top trad bands Lúnasa, Tamalin, Donal Lunny’s ground-breaking supergroup Coolfin, At First Light, and Ulaid, John has produced an array of critically acclaimed and innovative albums, both solo and collaborative, including his most recent solo album, ‘The Seven Suns’. His piping has featured on many film and TV soundtracks including, ‘There You’ll Find me’, ‘Waking Ned Devine’ and ‘This Is My Father’ and he has twice been the recipient of an IMA award: Best New Irish Album (2010) and Best Uilleann Piper’ (2009), as well as being nominated for ‘Musician of the Year’ at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. He is also co-author of the book ‘The Wheels of the World’ – 300 years of Uilleann Pipers which was released in the Autumn of 2015.

John has performed all over the world on many great stages from the Royal Albert Hall to Glastonbury Festival and is widely admired on the Irish traditional scene as an offstage character and an onstage magician. He is a prolific composer, producer, arranger and an established studio session musician of world class renown, recording and performing with a myriad of artists including Clannad, Sinéad O’Connor, Rod Stewart, Nanci Griffiths, Gary Kemp, The Corrs, and in projects bringing together top musicians including the highly acclaimed Irish Sea Sessions concerts and albums, produced in Liverpool 2011-2013 and touring to London’s Southbank, to Belfast and Derry.

John continues to push the boundaries of Irish music with his pioneering transatlantic post-rock band, the olllam, featuring Tyler Duncan, Joe Dart, Michael Shimmin, Sean O’Meara and Joe Hettinga, and the characteristic “dualling pipes” approach is also at the forefront of the John McSherry Trio, his latest project, featuring Francis McIlduff on uilleann pipes, whistles and bodhran; and Brendan Quinn on guitar, vocals and stomp. The trio made their debut at West Belfast Festival 2022 and appeared at the 2023 Lorient Inter Celtic Festival. The trio’s album ‘Féile Live’ was recorded at Red Box Studios in Belfast and launched at Ennis Tradfest in November 2023, followed by a tour of dates in England and Wales, supported by Culture Ireland.

Jerry Douglas

Dobro master and 16-time GRAMMY winner Jerry Douglas is to the resonator guitar what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar, elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in countless ways. Additionally, Douglas is a freewheeling, forward-thinking recording and touring artist whose output incorporates elements of country, bluegrass, rock, jazz, blues, and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.

Called “Dobro’s matchless contemporary master” by The New York Times, three-time CMA Musician of the Year award recipient Jerry Douglas is one of the most innovative recording artists in music as a solo artist, band leader for The Jerry Douglas Band and his GRAMMY winning bluegrass band The Earls of Leicester, as well as a member of groundbreaking ensembles including Alison Krauss & Union Station, J.D. Crowe & the New South, The Country Gentlemen, Boone Creek, and Strength In Numbers. His distinctive sound graces more than 1500 albums with artists such as Garth Brooks, George Jones, Paul Simon, Little Big Town, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, Ray Charles, Dierks Bentley, Sierra Ferrell, Tommy Emmanuel, and many others.

In addition to touring, Douglas has co-produced and performed on a series of platinum albums. He has produced albums for Alison Krauss, The Del McCoury Band, Maura O’Connell, The Whites, Steep Canyon Rangers, John Hiatt, and recently Molly Tuttle. He is co-music director of the acclaimed BBC Scotland TV series Transatlantic Sessions. In 2004, Douglas was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts with an American Heritage Fellowship, and he served as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Artist In Residence” in 2008. 

As Jerry Douglas continues his incalculable influence on country, Americana, bluegrass and their many related genres, he forges ahead as a true pioneer in American music.

Curtis Stigers

Curtis Stigers has had several top ten hits as a long-haired, blue-eyed soul singer and he’s written and sung an Emmy nominated TV theme song. He’s recorded a track for one of the biggest-selling pop albums of all time and he’s released nine critically-acclaimed, award-winning jazz albums. He’s played for presidents and princes and he’s appeared in two Seth MacFarlane movies about a foul-mouthed cuddly bear called Ted. He’s recorded thirteen studio albums and a live album singing Sinatra songs with the world-famous Danish Radio Big Band. He’s toured with symphony orchestras, written songs with Carole King and duetted with Al Green, Shawn Colvin and Tom Jones.

For the past 30 years, the singer, songwriter, saxophonist and guitarist has been making records that confound those who try to categorize his music or put him in a box.

Curtis Stigers’s new album This Life is the answer to that question. It’s a celebration of three decades of musical exploration, evolution and growth. It’s a look back at 13 albums, thousands of concert performances and millions of miles on the road. “We created most of these arrangements onstage, during soundchecks and concerts,” says Stigers. “My songs have changed and grown as they’ve gotten older, just like I have.”

Curtis Stigers burst onto the recording scene in 1991 with his eponymous debut album, which sold 1.5 million copies and spawned several self-penned, pop/soul-flavored hit singles, including “You’re All That Matters To Me,” “Never Saw A Miracle” and the worldwide top-ten hit, “I Wonder Why.” The 25-year-old NYC-based musician then toured the world in support of the album, opening shows for the likes of Elton John, Prince, Eric Clapton, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart and Bonnie Raitt, and made multiple appearances on the TV show circuit, including The Tonight ShowDavid LettermanArsenio and The Today Show.

“Inspired marriage of visceral clout and intellectual savvy.”
New York Times

“I cannot think of another vocalist who creates such an exuberant combination of bebop artistry and raw emotion.”
London Sunday Times

“When Curtis Stigers came on stage on Wednesday night, it felt as if someone had upped the wattage in the bulbs.”
Wall Street Journal

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is a singer-songwriter and keyboard player from Perth. Beth’s music is folk-inspired, and she sings a mix of traditional Scots songs, with her own writing. Beth was named BBC MG ALBA Scots Singer of the Year in 2022.

Thanks to a sustained indoctrination from kin, Beth has been performing since she was old enough to stand on stage. After a brief hiatus from folk music in her teenage years, (read Girls Aloud), Beth fell in love with the old songs and music she had grown up with. She found a home, singing regular floor spots at the Glasgow Star Folk club. Beth has been singing, arranging, playing and writing ever since.

Beth had a ‘breakout’ moment when she won a coveted ‘Danny’ award at Celtic Connections 2019. Beth’s love of music is not confined to folk, and she has collaborated with a number of Scotland’s finest outfits including Fat-Suit, Adam Holmes and Lewis McLaughlin. In 2022, Beth featured on ‘Gaelictronica’ sensation Niteworks’ album with hit track ‘John Riley’. Well suited to Beth’s love for reimagining traditional song, she has performed with Niteworks at several shows including the Glasgow Royal Concert hall with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Since being named BBC Scots Singer of the Year, Beth released her debut album ‘Kissed and Cried’ in Spring, 2023 which received a 5 star review from The Scostman: “Beth Malcolm brings passionate commitment to whatever she sings, her own compositions or otherwise… Judging by this debut, a glowing future beckons.”

Now officially in her ‘mid life crisis’ era, Beth has written her next album, ‘FOLKMOSIS’. Working with producer and musician Dorian Cloudsley, she plans to turn her ‘musical coming of age’ story into a show. FOLKMOSIS is woven together, track by track, by song and spoken word. It explores what is means to belong, the heartaches and hilarities of life in the big bad world, and celebrates the connections we have to land and language through our shared music. This story reminds audiences that music will always be there to bring us home when we feel a little lost.

Rachel Hair & Ron Juppy

“An electrifying duo” (Fatea) Rachel Hair and Ron Jappy twin Scotland’s oldest instrument, the clarsach (Scottish harp), with and one of it’s newest instruments, the acoustic guitar. Performing an exquisite mix of Scottish traditional music they balance virtuosity with emotion, with captivating results.

Influenced by Hair’s upbringing in the Highland village of Ullapool, and Jappy’s North-East roots, together they showcase their passion for traditional music with a repertoire rich in melodies old and new. With crisp strathspeys and heartfelt airs, to virtuosic reels and driving jigs, Rachel and Ron have combined their influences to embrace the rich cultural tradition of Scotland.

Originally paired for a 2 and half week tour of Europe, their musical chemistry was apparent from the outset and they have since gone on to tour the US, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Their latest album Élan (released in 2023) was described as an energising, inspiring and precious delight.” (Folk Radio).

Hair stands at the forefront in todays Celtic harp revival and is unique in placing it at the helm of her music, performing, teaching and promoting it worldwide. Ron is in constant demand as one of Scotland’s leading accompanists and educators in Traditional music. 

Together they are a “brilliantly simpactico duo” (fRoots magazine) performing as one and as they tailor each performance to the needs of their audience, no corner will go untouched by their rootsy charm.

Sarah Smout

Sarah is a cellist-singer and environmental activist, creating music and poetry deeply rooted in nature and place. Her music has been played on BBC Radio 2, BBC Look North, and has been used for campaigns by Greenpeace, COP26 and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Prior to her solo career, she toured and recorded internationally with renowned artists such as Michael Chapman, Bridget St John, The Mediaeval Baebes, Gren Bartley, The Magpies and many more. This led her to appear at many mainstream and folk festivals across the globe such as Primavera Sound, Shambala, Greenbelt, Cambridge, Green Man, Larmer Tree, and Folk Alliance International.

Yearning for adventure, and a tour that could go at a slower and more environmentally friendly pace, she embarked on a month-long odyssey to Iceland, travelling by boat via Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes. These experiences have inspired an entrancing and transportive solo show called Eyjar (Old Norse for ‘islands’) which explores our connections to place, the different lenses through which we view the land, and what that means for our relationship with
nature. Sarah’s performances are imbued with visceral story-telling, bristling with atmosphere created with live-looped cello, haunting melodies and deeply felt lyrics that are never too far from the sea. Eyjar forms the backbone of the 2023 tour together with exceptional new material.

Recent live highlights include a sold out show at RNCM supporting Sam Lee for Manchester Folk Festival, Timber Festival, and Just So Festival. 2023 saw her return to the stage with a sell out show at Hay Festival.
In 2022, Sarah made ‘Rooted’, a live recording and film that weaves together experiences of her journey to Iceland with a strong connection to her homeland of the Yorkshire Dales. It is a film about drawing strength from all that we have around us, performed in the ancient hamlet of Hubberholme. Rooted was officially selected to take part in Kendal Mountain Festival’s international film competition and was premiered at Skipton Plaza Cinema as part of Hinterlands Festival.

2023 saw Sarah embark on her first solo tour, and a variety of environmentally themed projects.

Jim Moray

Should you care to look back over the past two decades of British folk music, one musician in particular stands out for having a singular, idiosyncratic vision that has rarely wavered in style and substance. Jim Moray may have garnered initial attention for his digitally-driven approach to traditional music, but reflecting on his seven albums and numerous production credits it’s clear that imagination and invention are the real cornerstones of his work. The cinematic vision of albums such as Skulk (2012), Upcetera (2016), and his game-changing debut Sweet England (2003) show just how far the old songs can be taken. His arrangements of traditional songs such as ‘Gilderoy’, ‘Horkstow Grange’ and ‘Fair Margaret and Sweet William’ are regarded as amongst the classics of the folk genre, while his treatment of the ballad ‘Lord Douglas’ has become a must-learn for fingerstyle guitarists.

As Moray embarks on his third decade as a professional musician, he can count career-defining performances at Glastonbury, The Royal Albert Hall, and WOMAD, and has caught the attention of those in the know along the way. “I love this singer of old ballads”, enthused none other than Iggy Pop, no stranger to songs of love, life and loss. 20 years in the business also means that his influence is being felt among a younger generation of folk musicians, especially those who explore the wider canon and ways in which traditional music can be stretched. Frankie Archer recently spoke about how Moray’s work on Low Culture (2008) blew her mind. “It showed me for the first time what UK folk music could be”.

Never satisfied with staying still, the artist is still moving after shaking the folk world to its foundations twenty years ago. And in a genre where musicians reach their peak the older they get, there’s a sense that he has only just begun.

RURA

RURA are a multi award-winning act and one of Scotland’s most popular folk-based bands. The quartet’s compellingly fiery, rugged yet refined and progressive instrumentals on fiddle, Highland pipes, flute, guitar, keyboards and bodhran has placed them firmly at the forefront of 21st century Scottish folk, and a a mainstage highlight at the world’s leading folk music festivals for over 10 years, touring across Europe, Canada, Asia Australia and New Zealand.

“One of the most exciting bands on the Scottish folk scene” *****
Songlines

RURA returned to stages across the UK and Europe in 2023 with their hotly anticipated fourth studio album Dusk Moon. By far their most collaborative record to date, Dusk Moon is a continuation of the creative journey RURA embarked upon in 2018 with producer Euan Burton, with the release of their critically acclaimed album In Praise of Home. Inspired by a deep sense of reflection and hope, Dusk Moon sees the band’s progressive, emotive and powerful sound continue to develop, connecting with fans and music lovers around the globe. Renowned for cinematic arrangements that draw from people and landscape throughout Scotland, their spellbinding live show is not to be missed.

“RURA are one of the most dynamic bands in Celtic music, at the very leading edge of Scotland’s traditional revival”
Irish Music Magazine

Jack Smedley, Steven Blake, David Foley and Adam Brown’s entrancing performances have been a main stage highlight of many of the world’s leading folk festivals – including Cambridge, Tønder, Woodford, Winnipeg, World Music Shanghai, Edmonton and HebCelt, amongst countless others across more than 20 countries. Television audiences alongside have been in their millions, including BBC1’s Hogmanay Live, broadcast live to the world over New Year 2016/2017 from Glasgow’s iconic Old Fruitmarket – where they returned to record their five-star live album in 2020, marking their 10th anniversary.

“The perfect soundtrack to a Scottish summer”
The Skinny

“Genuinely stirring stuff… there’s something very exciting about RURA”
Fatea

Katherine Priddy

Since emerging with her debut EP ‘Wolf’, UK singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy has quickly become one of the most exciting names on the British music scene. Priddy’s haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style have already seen her sell out a headline tour, perform at prestigious festivals around the UK and abroad, including Glastonbury where she featured on their BBC 2 coverage, and support a number of world class artists including Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III and Vashti Bunyan, as well as a recent show with Guy Garvey at The Roundhouse. She also recently featured on a Double LP of Nick Drake covers released by Chrysalis Records with other artists such as Self Esteem, Aldous Harding and John Grant.

Her debut album, ‘The Eternal Rocks Beneath’, was released in June 2021 to great acclaim. The album singles received 200+ plays across national radio including BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 2 and reached No.1 in the Official UK Folk Charts. Now, early 2024 sees the release of Priddy’s eagerly-awaited second album, The Pendulum Swing, on February 16th, via Cooking Vinyl. The LP explores themes of home, family, love and memory, as Priddy seeks to move forwards whilst acknowledging and honouring all that has gone before.

“The Birmingham folk artist’s exceptional voice shines through on a confident, expansive second album….. a rich, thoughtful creation” ****
The Observer

Her live performances are engaging, moving and amusing by turn, delivering original songs with emotional maturity, depth and particularly noteworthy lyrics. Despite the delicate nuances of her sound, Katherine Priddy is not a fragile wallflower, but a determined young woman making her mark.

New album The Pendulum Swing, out 16 February 2024

This new album has already been getting great reviews.  Click here to read the below Sunday Mail article on PressReader.

There are further reviews on The Guardian and KLOF Magazine.

Honey and The Bear

Honey & the Bear were a tour de force on the UK Folk Festival circuit in 2022. The British folk and roots duo combine delicately interweaving vocal harmonies with emotive and evocative songwriting. With a diverse range of sounds and textures, and rhythms that flow from the fast and furious to gentle ballads, their live performances are spirited and dynamic. Conjuring stories in song, they tell tales of Suffolk folklore, courageous people they admire and their passion for nature which has been enchanting audiences up and down the country.

The multi-instrumentalist pair, comprised of songwriters Jon Hart (guitar, bass, bouzouki) and Lucy Hart (guitar, ukulele, bass, banjo, mandolin & percussion), are often joined on-stage by band guests Evan Carson (percussion) and Toby Shaer (Fiddle/Flutes/Whistles) who also feature on both Honey & The Bear studio albums. Together they have played at many revered venues and festivals across the UK as well as travelled across the channel for their first European tour. They supported Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys on two UK tours and opened for The Shires at world renowned Snape Malting’s Concert Hall. They returned to Snape Maltings under their own steam just two years later to perform a sold out show.

2020 and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic saw the duo grounded and all gigs cancelled, but their music prevailed in the form of Sunday night facebook livestreams of which they performed thirty-two throughout the year 2020. After challenging themselves to write a new song for the first 12 weeks of the livestream, they successfully managed to produce a second album. ‘Journey Through the Roke’ was released on 23rd April 2021. The album features many talented musicians including Toby Shaer (whistles, harmonium, flute, fiddle, bass), Evan Carson (drums, bodhran, percussion), Archie Churchill Moss of Moore Moss Rutter (melodeon) and Graham Coe of The Jellyman’s Daughter (cello). Journey through the Roke received airplay by Mark Radcliffe on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show.

Their debut studio album ‘Made In The Aker’ (released July 2019) was followed by a UK tour as a four piece band in October 2019. The album was well received by both their ever growing fan base and the critics.

Born and raised in Suffolk, Lucy learned violin and drums at school, sung in the Suffolk Jubilee choir and started songwriting at age 15. She taught herself guitar whilst at university in Canterbury, and began performing her creations not long afterwards. At 27, she released her debut band album ’Step Right On’, songs from which you now hear her perform with Jon.

Jon, a Yorkshire boy, raised in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, has been performing his own songs since his teens. A self taught guitarist, his love of driving guitar riffs is a core aspect of his song writing process. He has released three band albums, the latest of which was entitled ‘Level with me’, featuring ‘wristburner’ which is a gig favourite.

“Lucy and Jon’s vocals are gentle, rich and mellifluous throughout… This is an accomplished album from a masterly duo”
Nygel Packett, Folk London Magazine

“Dexterously played with beautifully crafted arrangements around a perfect pairing of voices delivering personal fine songs this is a stunning album.”
Marc Higgins – FATEA

“This album is one of the clearest recordings I’ve heard in a decade, holding its head above the roke and into the sunlight on every track”
Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine

“The vocals of Lucy are as beautiful as ever….and she is now one of this country’s best folk singers”
Stephen Foster, Radio Caroline & EADT

Ranagri

Ranagri are Jordan Murray, Eleanor Dunsdon, Eliza Marshall, Dónal Rogers and they have forged a new and contemporary sound on the folk scene, winning audiences at home and internationally, an energetic festival band yet equally at home with their more intimate writing and thought provoking lyrics. They are as happy to make you dance as they are to make you smile or shed a tear, passionately delving into current world topics, playing with politics, and creating uplifting music to lyrics with great depth.

Their recent release – ‘Tradition II’ – is the sequel to their acclaimed album ‘Tradition’ – exploring traditional folk songs – deconstructing and reconstructing – trying to eek out alternative meaning whilst adding the unique Ranagri flavours; harp, flutes, guitars, dulcimer, percussion all woven together with lead vocals and harmonies.

Festival performances include Cambridge, Towersey and Montelago, venues as diverse as Birmingham Symphony Hall to Topic Folk Club, all of which are loved in equal measure. Recent headline slots include Lyme Folk Weekend and Baafest and this Autumn they tour throughout Germany, followed by a new collaboration with pop legend Tony Christie.

“Voices and instruments combine to astound the listener with some of the most attention-grabbing music I’ve heard in a long time”
FRUK 2022

Muireann Bradley

She was THE star on Jools Holland’s New Year’s Eve Hootenanny. Now 17-year-old Irish country blues sensation Muireann Bradley is coming to Wickham on Friday 2nd August.  This debut appearance on the BBC has been already been watched nearly 500K times on YouTube!

With only 4 UK dates announced, 2 of which are UK Festivals (Green Man being the other), we’re dead chuffed to have Muireann coming to Wickham. With so many other festivals trying to book, her we are delighted she has chosen Wickham and can not wait to welcome her to the our stage this summer!

Muireann Bradley is a 17 year old finger picking guitarist & singer who grew up in the hills overlooking the Finn Valley outside the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal, Ireland. Muireann performs primarily Country, Ragtime & Piedmont style blues from the 1920s & 1930s.

Her influences include Rev Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Cotten, and Memphis Minnie to name just a few. She delights in interpreting & performing the music of these early blues masters, always putting her own unique stamp on the tunes.

Muireann grew up surrounded by guitars & old blues & began playing at the age of nine when she convinced her father to buy her first guitar and teach her. She worked hard and learned to finger pick in various old blues styles. However as she got older she began to invest more time in the sports of boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which she trained and competed in successfully from a young age. This led to the guitar and music beginning to take something of a back seat. Then in March 2020 when the first COVID lock downs happened all contact sports were shut down. Muireann felt lost for a while but she soon rediscovered her love for the guitar and the old Blues that she had grown up with. She was now listening and practicing with a new intensity and focus. She decided to start posting videos on You Tube, the first of which was her rendition of Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues”. It received a lot of attention, and has now had 80,000+ views. She was then contacted by Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square Records in San Francisco who suggested she record an album. Muireann was very keen to hear herself on record but as it turned out the recording of the album would be delayed and interrupted numerous times by the ongoing pandemic, allergies, orthodontics and just generally growing up! The songs and instrumentals were all recorded live in the studio in one or two takes in an attempt to make the process as similar as possible to that of the original classic country blues artists of the 1920s and 30s. These recordings would become the album “I kept these old blues” which is due for release in early December on vinyl, CD and cassette as well as being available on all the digital platforms.

Muireann recently went down a storm performing on the Marquee stage at the 46th Ballyshannon folk & traditional festival as the 2023 solo showcase winner.

The great Arlen Roth has described her as “a natural!”, Jorma Kaukonen said that kid is really good and I don’t mean really good for a kid, I mean REALLY GOOD, while Stefan Grossman said “ A wonderful player, I can now retire, the torch has been passed”.

She released her first album, I Kept These Old Blues, in December. Head over to Amazon or Apple to purchase this great release before seeing her live this August!  She can also be found on Spotify here.

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    We're sorry to report that London Irish band Neck will no longer be appearing at Wickham following the sad death of their frontman Leeson O'Keeffe from pancreatic cancer. 😢

    Steve Harley was an audience favourite at Wickham Festival, and a delight to work with. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

    Steve Harley: Cockney Rebel singer dies at 73

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-68590846

    The Saw Doctors would like to say a Big Thanks to everybody who has bought or streamed ‘All We Love’ today —the new single is Number 3 in Ireland and No. 23 in the UK. Here’s the link to buy or stream ‘All We Love’   
    https://orcd.co/allwelove

    Wonderfully evocative and typically catchy song from our old friends @sawdoctors ready for #StPatricksDay
    Would love to hear them do this at #wickhamfesival one day. Great stuff!

    Our new line-up inc. Curtis Stigers with a few more artists inc. Jerry Douglas to add. We hope to unveil last confirmed artists inc. one more headliner soon. Day & Tier 4 Weekend tickets selling fast. Save £50 on every 4-day weekend ticket. Book now. http://www.wickhamfestival.co.uk