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BarlowCree at Rumney Folk Club

We weren't sure what to expect when we set off last Friday (15th October) to visit Rumney Folk Club.  The club meets monthly at the St Augustines Church Hall in Rumney, Cardiff, for an open mic night.  We arrived early, as recommended, in order to try and get our names down for a slot to play.  Others had the same idea and we only just scraped in, getting the 11th slot out of 12.

What a treat this little club is!  The atmosphere was warm and cosy, with tables, candles, subdued lighting and background music.  The bar had some decent ale the folk running things were enthusiastic and welcoming.  The organisers worked hard to make the evening run smoothly whilst retaining a comforting sense of wartime do-it-yourself-ness!  The range of music was diverse and the audience were encouraging of all, regardless of ability or experience.  It was particularly good to see a number of teenagers throwing their hats into the ring and having a go.

When our turn came, we felt a tangible sense of having made a real discovery.  There was time for two songs only as more players registered after us which necessitated additional slots being shoe-horned into the schedule.  Thus was the spirit of the club - it was all about the music!  We did a couple of our old favourites - Boondocks and The Quay - to a receptive and affirming audience of around 75.

We'd like to extend our thanks to Elaine, the Talgarth crew and everyone who made the evening a success - we'll certainly be back for more next month (19th November), and the months after that...


New BarlowCree Songs on MySpace...

To listen to songs recorded with the BBC at Shrewsbury Folk Festival, click here.


BBC Shropshire Feature BarlowCree...

Having heard the news of BC winning the Open Mic contest at Shrewsbury (see below), the BBC featured us on the Genevieve Tudor show on Sunday afternoon.  The photo on the BBC Shropshire webpage was taken during a one hour Saturday morning recording session on the BBC bus at the festival. 

Click here for more on the BBC...

Click here for YouTube videos of BC performing on the second stage at Shrewsbury...



BarlowCree Win the Open Mic at Shrewsbury Folk Festival...

We've just landed back in Cardiff after a great weekend at Shrewsbury; it's always a good festival but this one was a bit special. 

Having arrived we decided to pitch in and have a go at the Open Mic competition.  More than anything, it was a good opportunity to air some of our new stuff live and to play using a decent sound system.  That said, we were chuffed to win the heat and go through to the final - any excuse to play!

Because our heat was the first one, we had the opening slot in the final; so we played and settled back to watch the others.  The Bailey Sisters, Kaleidoscope and Tree, all put on a really good show and the judges retired to consider their decision.  Thinking we'd exhausted our appeal for the day, talk turned to beer and junk food - we'd put off eating 'til after the final and it was now well and truly time for some nosh and lubrication.

The prize for winning was a half hour live session on the festival's second stage.  Given that we were a good deal less "trad" than the other acts that followed us, we were surprised and absolutely thrilled to be announced the winners!  Before we could ring home with the news we were approached by a fella who introduced himself as the stage manager for the evening and were given instructions about when we would be needed for sound-checking etc.

We barely had time to give ourselves a thumb-wash and a change of T-shirt before we made our way over to the big tent.  The nerves were zinging a bit, so first stop was the loo - "The Artistes' Loos!"  They deserve a special mention in themselves - they were so posh it was almost offensive to do anything in them.  But we did.  Lots.

The stewards and back stage crew were fantastic and couldn't do enough to be welcoming, friendly and helpful.  Ally on the sound desk ran us through the checks and we had just 15 minutes to decide the set and steady the nerves.  We performed a mix of our own stuff and some covers; here's the set list:

  • Teachers (words by Leonard Cohen)
  • The Quay
  • The Feeling Thief
  • Gideon Brown (by Frank Dwyer)
  • All is well
  • Cousin Jack (by Steve Knightley)
  • Boondocks (by Little Big Town)

Before the show we managed to get a message to Steve Knightley (composer of Cousin Jack) asking him if he minded if we performed it - he's one of our biggest influences and it seemed the courteous thing to do as he was on site.  He said he would be delighted.  Thanks Steve!

All of a sudden we heard the MC, Jim MacDonald, announcing us and we were on!  What a great experience to play on such a big stage.  The audience seemed up for it and were very responsive throughout.

After 15 out of our allotted 30 minutes, we were already two thirds of the way through the set.  So we did what all true professionals do and ... told the audience we were panicking a bit.  They laughed - God bless 'em.  We asked our friend Rod to nip 'round the back to the green room and get the lyrics for a song we wrote a couple of weeks ago - All Is Well.  We'd never performed it before so we wanted the words handy as a security blanket.  Rod got his own round of applause for his trouble - thanks mate.  Liam told his "Paul the Hermit Crab" story which went down a storm and we were back on track with the time.

How lovely to hear 300 plus people singing the refrain from All Is Well back to us!  We felt quite privileged to be so well received. We'd like to thank all the Shrewsbury folk, particularly Sean (who put us through in the heat) and to Chris, Colin and other judges for deciding in our favour and giving us the break - thanks fellas.  Special thanks to Rod and Fras (the Balding Middle-Aged Groupies!), for managing to be both very encouraging and at the time time not taking it too seriously.  They helped us to stay relaxed and to enjoy the experience to the full.  We had a cracking weekend!


New BC Songs Aired at Private Gig...

BC played a private birthday party on 6th February and used the opportunity to give two new songs their first run out.

Teacher of the Heart is an adaptation of a Leonard Cohen poem; it's a pacey foot-tapper that contrasts the pathos of, for example, Secrets in the Dark.  The Feeling Thief is an ode to the powers of materialism and self-interest that distract us from what matters in the world and thereby steal some of our humanity...

Here's the set list:

  • The Feeling Thief
  • The Quay
  • Secrets in the Dark
  • Teacher of the Heart

The lyrics are available on the right hand side of the page...