25th May 2012: Mike Whellans and Sara Grey, with Kieron Means

Another double-header for May’s St Boswells Live! taking place on Friday 25th May, 2012. The theme this month is definitely the roots of music, with a mixture of traditional songs, stories, country and blues all wrapped up in a lovely sonic package.

Once you have heard Sara Grey you will never forget her. She has a certain quality of voice that compels you to give her your undivided attention. Her voice is both powerful and sweet with a distinctive and lovely tremolo. It is a voice well suited to native American ballads and ballads of Ireland and Scotland.

It is not Sara’s lovely voice alone that makes her one of the most popular singers on the folk scene, on many of her songs Sara accompanies herself by frailing a five string banjo and, when playing tunes, it is obvious why she is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the old-time style. As well as singing and playing superbly Sara is a fine story teller specialising in stories from New England where she grew up and learned many of her stories from her father.

Kieron Means is a singer primarily of traditional songs but also of contemporary songs and guitar player of great merit. He has a great rapport with an audience and has an exceptional professionalism for a young performer. His voice is as smooth as silk, rich and mellow and he sings to his audience not in spite of them.

Kieron is the son of the traditional singer Sara Grey and music journalist Andrew Means, one time writer for Melody Maker. He was born in the United States and grew up in Britain gaining a great love of the music of both traditions as well as the contemporary scene. He has become a performer of traditional songs from the US and from the UK and many of the contemporary songs he sings he has written himself.

Mike Whellans is the real thing, a keeper of the one-man blues band flame that burned so passionately in the work of this highly specialized form’s masters, including Doctor Isaiah Ross, Jesse Fuller and Whellans’ great British forerunner, Tony ‘Duster’ Bennett.

Like all true bluesmen and women, when Whellans sings and plays, he means it. He can set a scene of darkness and foreboding as the Boogie Man lurks, play twelve-string guitar in the grand driving blues tradition to propel his Winding Track, and sing of hugging his baby’s deserted pillow so that you really feel his loss.

If you’re already familiar with Whellans, you’ll know to expect a fired up and ready one man blues band explosion. But if this is your introduction, prepare to hear a talent who’s not only his own man as a singer, guitarist and ace blues harpist, he’s his own rhythm section, too.

Tickets are priced at £10 (full), £5 (under-16s) and just £25 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 under-16s). Doors at St Boswells Village Hall open at 7.30pm with the show starting at 8pm.

Advanced single tickets are available from We Got Tickets (click link to purchase in new window) or St Boswells Post Office.


27th APRIL 2012: Plug and Play – Have You Got What It Takes?

We are one year old! Yes, in April 2011 we had our first ever St Boswells Live! and to celebrate 12 months of the club we are getting right back to the heart of the club and making a huge effort to encourage raw talent from around the Borders. April 27th 2012 sees our first dedicated night for young musicians; called “Plug and Play” it will be an edge-of-your-seats, no soundchecks (hence the name) experience, where we guarantee some really special moments both for audience and performers.

The spark for this was from Peebles / Innerleithen band, Cake and Grief Counselling who wanted to know if there was any chance of playing at St Boswells Live! as they had struggled to get gigs in the local area. It became clear that there was plenty of other talent around so we hit on the idea of a night solely for under-18s, giving a rare opportunity to play to an audience who want to listen, and alongside lots of other musicians in the same boat.

So, Noah Brown, Isaac Pringle, Luke Macdonald and Henry Pullan’s band make up the first act on the list, to which we have also added Seven Brunettes and a Ginger, an eight-piece (obviously) who come from all over the central Borders, and Rebecca and Katherine Caswell a duo of singer-guitarists from Oxton.

But we need more performers. If you are a member of a band, group or just on your own and would like to experience something really inspiring (plus getting a free ticket) then please send a short biography, a photo and an example of your music – it can be a YouTube link, a web page, a sound file or something else entirely – to keith@stboswellslive.com, and we will get back to you. Entries close on Friday 20th April.

To round off the evening we have secured rising local stars Where’s George? to play a set, and give everyone else a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the music. You can find out more about them by going to their Facebook page.

Tickets are priced at just £5, available from WeGotTickets.

MARCH 30th, 2012: An Evening of Sublime Traditional Music

With the memories of a wonderful February show still fresh in our minds, we are delighted to be continuing the double-header theme with four hugely talented musicians, all hailing from close to home. If you are a lover of traditional Scottish music, with the raw energy of youth thrown in then you will love what we have to offer on Friday 30th March.

Rachel Newton (harp & voice) and Lillias Kinsman-Blake (flute) first met while studying on the BMus in Folk and Traditional music at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Their music draws on influences from the Highlands of Scotland to the Borders and beyond, incorporating both Gaelic and English songs with traditional and contemporary melodies.

Rachel Newton was born in Edinburgh, where she first began learning the harp with Charlotte Petersen at Tollcross Primary School’s Gaelic Unit. Rachel later went on to study with Isobel Mieras at the City of Edinburgh Music school and then with Corrina Hewat on the Folk and Traditional Music Degree at Newcastle University. Since graduating, Rachel has co-founded the highly successful folk band The Shee as well as playing as harpist in the Emily Portman Trio. 


Lillias Kinsman-Blake lives in Smailholm in the Borders. She is a flute player and founder member of The Shee and has gained a reputation as a versatile musician performing both within the traditional music scene and for theatre, storytelling and classically inspired projects including Blair Douglas’ Gaelic Mass: ‘An Aifreann Ghàidhlig le Blàr Dùghlas’ and Alistair Anderson’s ‘Steel Skies’. Lillias founded the traditional music education company Focal Music Ltd, tutored for Newcastle University, Folkworks and The Sage Gateshead and has worked with the Scottish youth music project: Love Music Festival.

We have no doubt that you will fall in love with their music just as we have.

Mooney & Keatinge are a duo who are deeply rooted in the Scottish Borders. Moving beyond the traditional fiddle and accordian partnership, they blend the acoustic with the electronic to create an inventive and captivating soundscape.

Hawick-based fiddle player Shona Mooney is one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians. Since winning the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2006, she has appeared at international festivals such as Tønder (Denmark), gone on tour with Scottish Folk orchestra, The Unusual Suspects, The Shee, Borders Fiddles and recorded her debut album, ‘Heartsease (viola tricolour)’. Shona also works for the Scottish Borders Council in Arts Development as the Traditional and World Music Development Worker. She travels around the region organising projects within the schools and the community.

Christopher Keatinge has been playing the button accordion for 15 years now, under the tutorage of Ian Lowthian. In 2005 Chris won the Rotarty Club’s Young Musician of the Year, and was a 2006 finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year. Since then Christopher has performed across Scotland with the TMSA Young Trad Tour 2006, as part of Harris Playfair’s Coel Mor at the Aberdeen International Festival and most recently as part of the Border Tunesmiths, a collaborative project and concert of 9 Borders musicians.

Tickets are priced at £10 adult, £5 under-16s and just £25 for a family of five. They are available from St Boswells Post Office or via WeGotTickets.

Doors open at 7.30pm, Open Mic starts at 8pm – please call 01835 822692 if you would like to perform.

February 24, 2012 Show Information : Circus Envy and Torino

Doors open at 7.30pm with the music starting at 8pm. Please bring your own drinks and snacks.

Advance tickets are available from St Boswells Post Office or from the Border Events Box Office (subject to a £1.50 total booking fee).

Tickets are priced at £8, with under-16s at £4 and family tickets (2+3) at just £20.

St Boswells Live! tickets for the March 2012 show (Rachel & Lillias + Mooney & Keatinge) are available at the door at a 20% discount; this is the first place you will be able to buy them before they go on general sale.

This month’s show has been kindly sponsored by The Jedburgh Press.

Circus Envy + Torino on February 24th

The next St Boswells Live! show on Friday 24th February is a double-headliner featuring two very different bands, one from Hull and one from Galashiels.

Circus Envy are an alternative-folk band based in East Yorkshire. Featuring a line-up of primarily acoustic instruments, they add a traditional sensibility to their intricately crafted harmony-led modern songs with use of bouzouki, mandolin and cajon.

High profile performances alongside artists such as Jim Moray, Megson, Belshazzer’s Feast, Iain Matthews and Jackie Leven have cemented the band’s reputation as a live act.

The band’s 2011 album, “Secrets”, was released to critical acclaim, and received significant airplay, including from Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2 and resulted in Circus Envy being featured on the front cover of R2 Magazine. The year ended with a Christmas performance at the Ropery Hall, Barton-upon-Humber which sold out before Halloween.

Formed in 2010 Torino hail from the Scottish borders – mostly around the Galashiels area. Notable music highlights from The borders over recent years have included Frightened Rabbit and Dawn of the Replicants. There is either something in the water or the fact there there is practically nothing to do that does not involve sheep that means that Torino formed from a group of people who had been involved in music in the area for many years with many connections finally got their act together and decided to write some songs.

Torino blend many influences from pop culture ranging from song complexity similar to Karnivool to lilting melody lines that would be happy on a Radiohead album. Torino are happiest however when creating the “Torino” sound.

St Boswells Live! are delighted to be able to always bring something different, but always wonderful to their venue, and February guarantees to be a very special show.

Tickets are priced at £8 adult, £4 under-16s and just £20 for a family of five. They are available from St Boswells Post Office, from Border Events e-ticketing, or by calling 01835 822692.

Doors open at 7.30pm, Open Mic starts at 8pm – please call if you would like to perform.

January 27, 2012 Show Information: Rory McLeod

Doors open at 7.30pm with the music starting at 8pm.

Tickets are available from St Boswells Post Office, and reservations can be made by calling Keith on 01835 822692. Tickets are priced at £10, with under-16s at £5 and family tickets (2+3) at just £25.

E-Tickets can be purchased from the Border Events Box Office (subject to a £1.50 total booking fee).

St Boswells Live! tickets for the February 2012 show (Circus Envy and Torino) are available at the door at a 25% discount; this is the first place you will be able to buy them before they go on general sale.

Rory McLeod Comes To St Boswells Live!

A very Happy New Year to everyone from St Boswells Live! After the stunning success of the Village Hooley both from an entertainment and a fundraising point of view, we are ready to face 2012 with a new energy and desire to bring even more great music to St Boswells.

Rory McLeod is our first headliner for the new year, and what an entertaining and interesting headliner he promises to be. Rory McLeod – ex-circus clown and fire eater. A one man soulband, poet and storyteller, singing his own unique upbeat dance stories. A modern travelling troubadour using tap shoes, acappella, harmonica, guitar, trombone, spoons, finger cymbals, bandorea, djembe and various percussion instruments!

Rory has travelled the globe for different reasons at different times, from Asia to the middle East from Gambia to Cuba, Central America, Australia, North America, Canada, Europe and other nooks and crannies of the earth.

In his travels, McLeod not only acquires new material and new life experiences, but he also brings his past and present along with him. As he puts it: “The more I go away, the more I feel rooted in my own traditions, in my own language, my own community where I’m from. It becomes stronger somehow in what I sing about.”

Rory is to be supported by someone who on another night could be a headliner. Hannah Scott has been writing music since her early teens but it was a year spent in Tuscany that inspired her to start performing more seriously. She has self-released an album and two EPs which showcase her lyrically intelligent songs and distinctive voice, attracting interest from industry and audiences alike.

In July 2011, Hannah reached the final of MOJO Magazine’s New Voice competition. She was invited to perform at London’s prestigious Gibson Guitar Studio where panellist and legendary BBC 6 DJ Tom Robinson described her performance as “clear, assured, melodic, memorable”.

National airplay and further gigs across the UK and Italy, including shows alongside Ed Sheeran and support slots with folk favourites Cara Dillon and Seth Lakeman, have helped Hannah to build a solid fanbase and her forthcoming album will be sure to achieve the wider recognition it deserves.

Rory McLeod and Hannah Scott perform on Friday 27th January, with doors opening at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available at St Boswells Post Office or on 01835 822692 priced £10 full price, £5 for under-16s and £25 for a family of two adults and up to 3 under-16s.

You Should Have Been There…

From The Southern Reporter, December 01, 2011

There are some nights that remain fresh in your memory for years to come and last Friday at St Boswells village hall will be one of them for me, writes Alan Kinghorn.

It wasn’t because the hall was cold enough to freeze a brass monkey or that there was only a small but select group of music lovers huddled together for warmth round candles and glowing heaters. No, the reason the night will remain with me is because of the sheer class of musical entertainment.

Not only were we treated to some great local talent, including a superb symphony on viola and a surprise late acoustic slot from Gala’s Craig Jeffrey, but the official support slot was led by Berwick’s own musical troubadour, Iain Petrie. His songs of love and loss filled the hall with magic and mystery, and then there was an added treat when he invited two friends to join him on backing vocals.

Anna Emmins (lead singer with eclectic soul band Electric Penelope) was joined by her Mammatones bandmate Lizzie Bell and the sound they all created was nothing short of heavenly. Mouths were dropping open all over the hall as their blend of ‘Andrews Sisters’ harmonies took Iain’s songs to new heights. All all this before the main act hit the stage.

Boo Hewerdine is a singer / songwriter of immense talent. If you have never heard of him, you will have heard his songs made famous by Eddi Reader – think of all her hits and Boo probably wrote them. He also wrote for KD lang and other luminaries in this country and the US.

From the off Boo did away with the mics and PA, and came down from the stage into the audience, where we all gathered around as if it was a living room (all be it a cold one). In that intimate setting he took us through his greatest hits alongside some new songs, with us joining in, and it was a magic that continued well into the evening, till all too soon it was over and we left satisfied.

If you were there then I am sure you will remember that evening with a large grin on your face. If you weren’t then you missed something very special and you had better get your tickets early for the next St Boswells Live event because it is sure to be worth every penny.

(And by the next one, we’ll have heating!)

Music Clips from St Boswells Live!

All big venues and festivals make digital recordings of performances, just for the record and in case they can be used some time in the future. St Boswells Live! also makes digital recordings because we love to hear the music again.

Below are a few tracks taken from the desk so you can hear the wonderful things we have listened to over the past few months.

Kathy Stewart and the Frequent Flyers @ St Boswells Live!

Bill Muir and Seoras Ashby @ St Boswells Live!

Archie Fisher @ St Boswells Live!

Angus Gunn @ St Boswells Live!

Mairearad and Anna @ St Boswells Live!

Craig Bevan @ St Boswells Live!

NOTE: All relevant rights are retained by the performers and their publishers – this is purely for non-commercial purposes.

November 25, 2011 Show Information: Boo Hewerdine

Doors open at 7.30pm with the music starting at 8pm.

Tickets are available from St Boswells Post Office, and reservations can be made by calling Keith on 01835 822692. Tickets are priced at £10, with under-12s at £5 and under-5s free.

St Boswells NEW YEAR HOOLEY TICKETS are available at the door; this is the first place you will be able to buy them before they go on general sale.