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It’s with heavy heart that I type out his blog post to let you know that the band is no more.
(For a quick reminder of some highlights, feel free to watch the 30 second video below!)
We split up just before Christmas and I’ve been putting off writing to let you know about it because it’s just so sad.
There was no dramatic ending, we all think the world of each other, and the final gig we did was at the wedding of Malc and I which was a very happy event!
A bluegrass wedding!
Life sometimes just gets in the way, and commitments meant we couldn’t give this band the time it needed to keep gigging.
A Brief History and Highlights
I won’t bore you with all the details, but back in 2009 Malc was looking to form a bluegrass band. He saw my advert on Gumtree as a singer, and along with Vince Purcell, the 3 of us then met Dan Edwards, and then Paul George our bassist.
In 2010 there was a new line up and Dan, Malc, myself and now Tim Slade on Bass were gigging regularly in and around Brighton and at the Bluegrass festivals up and down the country.
It would be remiss to also forget the fantastic line up of deputy bassists we had: Max Crawford who stepped in at the Cornish bluegrass festival, Nik Funke, who joined us in Reading when we supported the Coal Porters and the Dixie Beeliners, and Richard Driscoll who helped us out on plenty of occasions with local gigs.
I have had some of the best nights of my life playing and socialising with this band and there is a real sense of loss as I say goodbye to it (which is why it’s taken about 4 months!)
I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to play with these guys, and even find a husband. Despite living in Brighton since 2006, it wasn’t until I joined the band and met some amazing people, pubs, landlords and music enthusiasts that Brighton really opened up to me.
This band has a lot of people to thank for their support. From friends and family to local music organisers and supporters who have braved wind and rain to come and see us play. It would not have been nearly as much fun had it not been for the fun characters we met along the way.
If you ever came to see us, if you bought a CD, if you put money in the tip jar, if you gave us words of encouragement, if you clapped, if you drank with us and dreamed with us, thank you for being a part of this story.
Hello there Bluegrass fans, I thought I’d do a quick update of upcoming Bluegrass gigs that we’ll be playing in the next couple of months.
July 21st 2pm (ish) The Great Eastern Summer Fete, Brighton
Once again we’ll be at this lovely little pub for their annual summer fete which is usually a great get together. They have a number of bands on and we’ll be doing a short set. I’ve written before how The Great Eastern is one of our favourite pubs and we’re really looking forward to it!
August 1st – The Willows Folk Club
This will be the first time we’ve played at the Willows Folk club in Arundel but we’ve heard very complimentary things about the shows there run by an enthusiastic and dedicated Chris Davies. We met Chris when we played at the Blue coconut club in Pulborough and even though he was pretty booked up until 2013 he managed to find a spot to squeeze us in this summer – lovely chap!
This looks set to be a splendid summer festival and we’ll be playing alongside 2 fantastic bands: The Monster Ceilidh Band and Old Man Luedecke plus others. If you’re looking for some toe-tapping folk, roots and bluegrass music and are wondering what to do with yourself that weekend, you need wonder no more. Click the link above to be taken to the event page and to find out about tickets. Hope to see you there!
Saturday August 18th, 3pm-3:45 – Arundel Festival
It’s summer festivals galore for this little British bluegrass band with another gig lined up to open the Jubilee stage at the Arundel festival on the weekend of the 18th of August. We’re also hoping to have our CDs printed and on sale in time for this event, so stay tuned!
Thursday August 23rd, The Lamb Lewes
We love playing at The Lamb in Lewes. Landlord Alec is doing an amazing job turning this great little boozer into a regular showcase of eclectic music and it’s been going down a storm.
That’s all our gigs updated for the summer months, let’s hope for some sunshine, although according to Dan our guitarist apparently it’s going to rain until winter… which means all weather forecasters can just take the summer off presumably.
The Cornish Bluegrass festival is one of my favourite British bluegrass festivals around.
I’ll admit, I’m not much of a festival person – I’m too much in love with my creature comforts because it takes a heck of a lot of effort, electrical goods and products for me to tame my hair and look halfway normal.
Which is why I’m chuffed to bits that we’ve been asked back to play the Cornish Festival this September. Not only did we have a blast playing there last year, but it’s the best festival to bring your “not quite fans of bluegrass” friends along.
Dougal - one of our long-eared bluegrass fans from last year.
The facilities at the Hendra holiday park where the festival is held are excellent. Immaculate showers, comfortable caravans and spacious tent pitches.
There are 2 bars, and the music takes place in the main cabaret hall and the marquee tent outside.
There are a handful of stalls where you can look at instruments, music accessories and even jewellery, clothing and incense. Lovely!
The organisers of the festival are some of the most passionate and friendly people on the circuit and we were bowled over last year with how much they look after the bands. We were greeted with a goody bag for our caravan including festival staples such as bread, jam, milk and more! And each member of a band gets a special pin made just for that year of the festival.
Our goody bag!
Moss, Carolyn, Nigel and the rest of the smiling festival crew make it an absolute pleasure to attend each year.
And that’s before we’ve even looked at the line up of bands playing!
If you head down to Newquay this September, in addition to seeing us (come and say hello!), you’ll be treated to the following acts which I’m very excited about seeing:
Barcelona Bluegrass Band (Spain)
Bucket of Bees Revival (Ireland)
The Carrivick Sisters
Dana & Susan Robinson (USA)
Down & Out Bluegrass Band (Ireland)
Down County Boys
Leon Hunt n-tet
Mad Dog Mcrea
Slow Down Boys
Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys
The Wagon Tales
Whitetop Mountain Band
Boy oh boy! I think I’m almost more excited about this than our wedding 2 weeks later (just don’t tell Malc)
With my cheeky finger on the British Bluegrass pulse, there have been some development with the British Bluegrass Music Association…
The talented John Breese will be taking over as chairman when current chairman John Wirtz steps down in September 2012.
My good friend Mo Jackson (a fabulous maker of craft gifts as well as a talented designer, singer and banjo player) will be the new production manager at the British Bluegrass News.
And Gary Payne, who is in bands A Band Like Alice and Home Territory has been awarded the Jan Jerrold Award for contributing to Bluegrass music.You can always find Gary starting a jam session at the bluegrass festivals in Britain – go Gary!
First things first – tonight we’ll be playing some bluegrass music at The Great Eastern on Trafalgar Street tonight.
It’s been a long time since we were there and we’re excited to be playing at where I think was our first ever Brighton pub gig.
In fact – here’s a very crooked photo from that first gig nearly 3 years ago:
Bluegrass music at the Great Eastern, Brighton
The line up has changed a little since then, but no by a lot, and it feels like Tim’s been with us longer than 2 years.You can also see how we had to balance the speakers on tables and chairs… You’ve never seen a more nervous customer than when you set up your bluegrass instruments and plonk a speaker right near them.
Fortunately tonight we come prepared with speaker stands.
In other news I am looking into packaging the album and getting copies printed. If anyone can recommend a good duplication and printing service, that would be awesome.
New Bluegrass tunes for you tonight
We’re debuting some new tunes tonight for you which we’re really excited about so keep your eyes ears out for…
Long journey home
That’s what you get for loving me
Walking the dog
Can’t wait to see you there!
Other British Bluegrass News
The Orwell Bluegrass Festival kicks off the British Bluegrass festival season and it’s one of the festivals I’d love to go to but haven’t been yet – it’s pencilled in the calendar for next year.
There’s a cracking line up including:
New Essex Bluegrass Band (I love these guys!)
Lynne Butler & White Star Line
The Kent Carters
Down County Boys
A Band Like Alice
And a whole heap of other Bluegrass bands. The festival runs from Friday May 11th – Sunday May 13th and you can find out more here.
Well this is it, I’ve set myself the challenge of updating the website once a week, and letting you know more regularly about our upcoming bluegrass gigs in Brighton and the like.
To find out about booking us as a bluegrass support act in Brighton and East Sussex, you can use the contact page or the details listed below.
So what’s going on in the world of secondhand strings?
2012: quiet year for festival gigs, more local folk clubs
We’re just starting to pick up more dates for the coming months after a quiet period from recording the album. Playing the Cornish Bluegrass Festival last year was our last big Bluegrass gig, and since then we’ve stayed closer to home. We’d love to play the British bluegrass festivals again, and we’re still waiting to hear back so will have to wait and see!
It’s been a real joy to reconnect with some favourite local venues and debut at some new ones as well!
Some upcoming gigs we’re looking forward to include:
At the beginning of this month we played at The Blue Coconut Club in Pulborough, home to the resident band Way Out West, and run by the legendary Jimmy Lee.
This is probably one of the coolest venues I’ve ever been to. It’s off the beaten track in the woods and has been purpose built for artists and musicians. It’s an infamous venue for those who have been frequenting it for many years, and it’s just beginning to gather a new crowd, meaning exciting times ahead.
It was at this gig that I finally met Chris Davis in person who runs the Willows folk club. Chris has bundles of energy and is so passionate about music I think I read somewhere that he’s in about 7 bands… I struggle to organise myself in one!
Chris has now booked us for the Willows Folk Club on the 1st of August 2012 and we’d love to see you down there. I’m really looking forward to this gig, last time they had Bluegrass shows they had around 100 people through the door so it should be a really fun night!
The Great Eastern Bluegrass gig – Thursday May 10th
That’s right – we’re back to our old stomping ground of The Great Eastern pub at the bottom of Trafalgar Street in Brighton.
We used to play here a lot in the early days and we were missing the place! I’m even more excited about playing here because we’re coming equipped with speaker stands so we no longer have to balance speakers on tables. It should give us a lot more room and help us raise the volume in there!
We'll be cranking up the bluegrass volume with these!
Album recorded – now naming and design!
Finally the full album version has been recorded (watch this space if you already own the 6 track version as you’ll get the full one at a reduced rate).
The album took a lot of weekends, tea and biscuits to make and we’re in the final stages of getting it designed and printed before we can start bringing them to gigs for you to check out.
We do have a name that we’re toying with, but it’s very hard to come up with something that hasn’t been done before or that doesn’t sound incredibly cheesy. If you have any suggestions for naming our bluegrass album, we’d be open to them!
To book us for a gig
We are now taking bookings from June 2012. for a bluegrass support act, you can contact me on 0787-553-7636 or info(@)secondhandstringband.com.
For weddings and private parties you can also fill out the contact form and let us know the dates and time of your event and I’ll get right back to you with availability.
I’m going to sign off for now, but I shall see you next week when I’ll be writing the next blog post!
Phew! Just got back and settled after playing at the Cornish Bluegrass Festival down in Newquay this weekend.
It was the first time we played this festival and we were made to feel very welcome and were extremely spoiled and looked after by the organisers. Big thanks go to Carolyn, Nigel, Moss and the rest of the Cornish team who made our stay so enjoyable.
Relaxing after the gig - the ties were quick to come off bless 'em
There were some nerves goung round n the Friday night as we had the opening slot for the festival. A last minute practice had us warmed up but there were still butterflies as we waited behind the stage getting ready to go on.
Purple was the night's theme
The set went well and I think we managed to enjoy it whilst we were playing, instead of being petrified from start to finish. I thought the guys looked incredibly handsome in their suits and I was incredibly proud to be playing along side of them.
The crowd were just the best you could have – we didn’t realise it at the time because of the lights, but we were told there was standing room only by the end, so a big thank you goes to those who came in and stood up to hear us play!
They even had a photoshoot for us to do the next day
The rest of the weekend was just as fun. There were some top bands (including my personal faves The New Essex Bluegrass Band and Heather Bristow) and some newish acts that were really impressive such as Kidnap Alice, and of course the incredibly popular Flatts and Sharps. Dan and Max were all eyes and ears watching Steve Kaufman play and my dad picked out Stompin Dave Allen as one of of his “shit hot” acts.
Heather Bristow and the New Essex Bluegrass Band
All in all, a fantastic weekend – we just hope they’ll have us back!
We’re playing alongside acts including: Natalie McCool; who has been tipped for big things by Mark Radcliffe and Chris Martin from Coldplay, and indie-rock-pop-dance quartet Stealing Signs as well as a couple more acts to be confirmed.
We would love, love love, for our London fans to come out and support us for this one, and we have a limited amount of tickets available.
There's a spot on the dancefloor with your name on it...
We’ll be rocking a similar set that we played for the Water Tower Bucket Boys gig so expect it to be fast-paced and fun. And of course, we’ll be around all night to generally spoil and make a fuss and spend time with people who have come to see us.
Tickets are already selling, and at just £6.00 if you buy directly from us (or £6.50 if you buy online to cover PayPal fees) it’s an affordable treat for a Tuesday night out.