Appearing next at the Willows  
All performances start at 8:30pm
January 24  -  Zoe Mulford & Tom Kitching

"American songwriter, folk singer, and guitar/banjo player Zoe Mulford teams up with English fiddler/mandolinist Tom Kitching to bring together the best of two worlds. Zoe’s beautifully crafted songs and sparkling vocals draw on the traditional music of Appalachia and the British Isles to make sense of the modern world. Tom, known for his work with the BBC Folk-award nominated band Pilgrims' Way, adds spirited instrumentals that are deeply rooted in the English folk dance tradition. They are touring together in support of Zoe's new album, "Small Brown Birds."

"Small Brown Birds is beautifully put together, filled with performances that seem unpretentious but powerful, grounded in respect for tradition and very much needed in our time. . . ."

John Patterson - WXPI/The Song Parlor, Williamsport, PA

Photo credit: Rebekah Jane Photography

february 7  -  Cassie & Maggie MacDonald

Cassie and Maggie

Nova Scotian sisters Cassie and Maggie have been lighting up the world with their unique blend of traditional and contemporary Celtic instrumentals and vocals. Appearing on stages across North America, the UK, and Europe the sisters have enchanted audiences far and wide with lively fiddle, piano and guitar arrangements, stunning sibling vocal harmonies in both English and Gaelic, all complemented by their intricate and percussive stepdancing style. 

"2016 Live Ireland Radio’s “VOCALISTS OF THE YEAR” “NEW GROUP OF THE YEAR”, Chicago Irish-American Newspaper’s EMERGING ARTIST RECORDING OF THE YEAR winners, Galaxie Radio Rising Stars, Independent Music Award "World Song of the Year" nominees, multiple Canadian Folk Music Award, East Coast Music Award and Music Nova Scotia Award nominees, Nova Scotian sisters Cassie & Maggie "are among the top musical acts in demand on the Irish/American/Canadian scene"- Irish Music Magazine 

february 21  -  kitty macfarlane

Kitty Macfarlane is a Somerset-based singer and songwriter. Her lyrics combine honest snapshots of everyday humanity with the bigger questions that have connected minds and voices for centuries, driven by her own fingerpicked guitar. As well as the release of her debut EP 'Tide & Time’, gaining her first national airplay on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe, and Tom Robinson's show on BBC 6Music, 2016 saw Kitty complete an

extensive national support tour with award-winning duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman.

Other highlights range from appearing as a theme-tune on Radio 4 to making the semi-final of the BBC Young Folk Award in 2015. Kitty has also recently been awarded a creative bursary from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) for a songwriting project of her own devising.

march 14  -  John Conolly

John Conolly has been a presence on the British folk scene since the folk revival in the early '60s, and indeed was among the founders of the Grimsby Folk Song club, which opened its doors in 1964.

Many of his early songs, written in conjunction with his old friend and songwriting partner Bill Meek, tell heartwarming stories of the lives and labours of the East Coast fishing community, and these songs in particular have earned John a welcome at Folk and Maritime Festivals worldwide.

More recently, John has broadened the subject-matter of his writing - he has written tender love songs, hard-hitting political protests,and outrageously funny ditties which he describes as his "Saucy Postcard Collection".

A typical John Conolly performance will include a finely-judged mixture of these genres for, above all, John likes to entertain, and to send an audience home happy!

Many of John's songs have been covered by well known national and international acts like Roy Bailey, the Dubliners, Liam Clancy, Malinky, The McCalmans, Stormalong John and George Hamilton IV, to name but a few!

march 21  -  Tannara


Owen Sinclair (Acoustic Guitar/Electric Guitar/Vocals), Becca Skeoch (Harp), Joseph Peach (Accordion) and Robbie Greig (Fiddle).

Converging from across the country, we’re all entangled within Scotland’s rich web of traditions. 

What we play is best described as contemporary Scottish folk music: Considered, complex, arrangements that surround original tunes, modern tunes and traditional ballads. 

Collective experience makes gives our musical approach a unique flavour. Despite the material’s modernity, it’s hardwired in spirit to the tradition, of which our music is a continuation.

At no point is the music pretty and delicate. When we play, there’s a raw energy that brings booming sets of tunes and songs together with moments of knot-in-stomach beauty. It’s four big personalities bouncing off each other to create big sounds. 

The resulting, electrifying live act saw Tannara nominated for the “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” award at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards.

Our debut album, “Trig”,  was produced by Rachel Newton, and launched in the summer of 2016. It’s available from: Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3 and a number of online and physical independent record stores throughout Scotland. 

One of Scotland’s brightest new up and coming bands”.

Stonehaven folk festival

april 4  -  The Dovetail Trio

Presenting England's traditional songs with a bold and fresh approach, The Dovetail Trio explores familiar narratives and modern themes with infectious energy and a passion for musical heritage.

The new collaboration effortlessly combines the distinctive voices and acclaimed instrumental talents of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Jamie Roberts, BBC Performing Arts Award winner Rosie Hood, and Newcastle Folk Degree alumnus Matt Quinn.

Their debut album Wing of Evening was released on 4th September 2015 on RootBeat Records. The album features a number of unusual versions of traditional English songs alongside an American folk story, a traditional Scottish whaling song, and even a French/Canadian tune set. Tight vocal harmonies and skilled musicianship make this an exciting debut album.

april 18  -  Allan Taylor

Allan Taylor is one of the last of the travelling troubadours who came through the social and artistic revolution of the nineteen sixties and carved out a career as a solo singer-songwriter. Born in Brighton, England in 1945 he experienced the Beatnik times, the Skiffle days, the Mods and Rockers and the early Hippy days, all played out on Brighton Beach. At the age of twenty one he left home and became part of the vibrant folk music of London, playing all of the major folk clubs of the time (for example, the famous Troubadour Club) and then to Greenwich Village, New York, playing legendary clubs such as Gerde’s, The Gaslight, The Bitter End, The Mercer Arts Center. He embraced the issues, images and emotions of his time and used these experiences as the basis of his songs. Signed to the international record company United Artists and recording in London, Nashville and Los Angeles his albums were released world-wide. By the mid-seventies he returned to Europe to live and then started on the second part of his career, having now established his modus operandi – collecting the stories for his songs in the bars and cafes of Europe and throughout the rest of the world.

For more than forty-five years Allan Taylor has travelled the world performing at festivals, concert halls and clubs. He is considered to be one of the foremost singer-songwriters and guitarists in his genre, with more than one hundred recorded versions of his songs by Artists in ten different languages. One song in particular, “It’s good to see you” was a hit in many countries, and to date, there are eighty cover versions of this song. Looking back as well as forward, few people can convey with such eloquence their life experiences. His songs are written from a lifetime of travelling; always the observer passing through, each song is a vignette of life, like a story told over a drink in a bar. He writes his songs in cafes, bars and hotel rooms throughout the world, songs for the lost and lonely, for the unsung heroes of life, for those marginalized by society – they all find a place in his songs. Each song has an integrity that tells you it comes from something real; characters come to life as people you know and places become as familiar as if you had been there.

Allan is considered to be one of the music scene’s great guitarists, creating during his stage performance a distinctive rich and mellow sound, and with a voice that speaks of a life-time of travel he can make each song a vignette of life, like a story told over a drink in a bar. His songs have an integrity that tell you they come from something real, where characters come to life as people you know and places become as familiar as if you had been there. When this happens, you know it’s an Allan Taylor concert.

Allan Taylor is also a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy and Music, having written his thesis for the Queen’s University of Belfast.

april 25  -  Briege Murphy

Briege Murphy is a South Armagh singer-songwriter. Her debut disc, 1995’s The Longest Road, contained the haunting Cloghinne Winds, which has since been memorably covered by Niamh Parsons, and her second CD, The Sea And Other Songs, was named one of the Folk Roots albums of its year. Briege’s reputation was consolidated by subsequent albums The Elm Wood (2002) and From Now On (2004), the latter finding her revisiting her roots on a series of cover versions of songs she grew up with, combining her love of Irish traditional and American folk.

Critics have variously likened Briege to a Nanci Griffith or Mary Chapin Carpenter with an Irish outlook, and listening to songs like on her latest CD, The Best Part Of The Day, it’s easy to hear why, for she “makes and keeps good memories” for us to share, with a winning combination of gentle inspiration and heartfelt and sentiment-filled (though not over-sentimental) expression. The complicated emotional side-effects of desire are unashamedly explored in Where Did It Start? while Shannon Stopover, Shep And Philomena and The Girl From Belsele have the feel of authentic Americana songwriting. On the other hand, Briege’s undoubted affection for traditional song comes across most vividly, perhaps, in the plaintive love song The Magpie, which both musically and lyrically references many a traditional element, and the grim, if stirring narrative of Lappin, based on historical events.

from a review (not entire) by David Kidman - Living Tradition

may 9  -  Andy May Trio

Three award-winning musicians from Newcastle – Northumbrian piper Andy May (Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies, Baltic Crossing), guitarist Ian Stephenson (Kan, Baltic Crossing) and fiddler Sophy Ball (422, Bottle Bank Band) – come together as the Andy May Trio to play high energy instrumental folk, inspired by the music of their native North East.

A typical performance might include traditional tunes from Northumberland, newly-composed material by all members of the band and an introduction to the pipes, all delivered with a warmth and humour which is sure to draw in both folk aficionados and newcomers alike for a dazzling show filled with virtuosity and energy.

All three members are also experienced teachers and workshop leaders. Andy and Ian both teach on the folk music degree course at Newcastle University, Sophy is a professional folk music teacher throughout Northumberland, and Ian was Director of this year’s Folkworks Summer School in Durham.

There’s a certain connection only heard between musicians after many years’ playing together; after more than a decade’s music making together in various guises the tight interplay and sense of fun between these three friends is sure to delight.

may 23  -  Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock

The 2015 tour revisiting the Gregson & Collister catalogue was a resounding success. So much so that Clive and Liz decided to keep the train rolling, play more duo shows and record a CD of brand new Gregsongs.

"Underwater Dancing" is the result and will be released on September 29th, 2017. The CD will be available at gigs, via Amazon and record stores etc and the download version will be available from iTunes etc.

The first single from the album is "Me & You"... here's a link to the Nigel Dick directed video for the song. We have also filmed live acoustic videos for a handful of songs from the album so look out for those too.

There will be tours to support this release in October 2017 and May 2018. Shows will be posted on the tour dates page as they are confirmed. The duo are really looking forward to hitting the road again to play your brand new favourites... hope to see you at one of the shows!

june 6  -  Tom McConville with Andy Watt

Tom McConville was born on Tyneside and brought up in a pub on the famous Scotswood Road with clientele drawn from the Irish and Scottish communities. This is where he first experienced traditional singing and fiddle music; the Hornpipes of James Hill amongst his first influences. 50 years on Tom McConville is widely acknowledged as THE authority on the music of James Hill and produced the first CD devoted entirely to Hill’s compositions.

Tom’s musical journey started in the North East folk clubs in the early 70s. Newcastle’s thriving Irish scene provided the opportunity, with his first band, to support Sean McGuire, John Doonan, The Fureys, Boys of the Lough and even a lock-in with The Dubliners. Tom still credits the legendary Sean McGuire, the fiddle genius from Belfast, for teaching him his bowing techniques.

Turning professional in 1974 he joined Bob Fox in a duo then folk/rock band Magna Carta to play all over Europe. A memorable partnership with Kieron Halpin produced two award winning albums and top billing at The Cambridge Folk Festival.

His next group Dab Hand made several visits to the USA where Tom met with another of his hero fiddlers, Byron Berline. After a spell with Syncopace and a partnership with guitarist Chris Newman, Tom spent the next 11 years recording & touring with Northumbrian piper Pauline Cato.

Every new venture brought great success and immense respect from his peers and public alike. Throughout his many collaborations he has continued his solo show at venues large and small. “A sandpaper-dry wit, eye-watering skill on the fiddle, great vocals... you just can't help feeling that a performance by Tom is like visiting an old friend” is how one folk club organiser describes him.

He brings with him an exciting young guitarist and mandolinist orginally from Perthshire but now based

in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Andy Watt is a recent graduate of Newcastle University's Folk & Traditional Music degree course.

february 28  -  harbottle & jonas

David Harbottle & Freya Jonas are a folk duo based in the wilderness of Totnes. They paint pictures with their words and share stories of folk auld and new. They are hardworking songsmiths that place an emphasis on musical independence, originality and breathe new life into Traditional English Folk songs.

The Duo have gigged widely in Ireland, Italy and have appeared on Irish and Italian Radio & Television respectively.

'I still can't believe how good they are'. - FolkRise

'Phenomenal. Another talented Totnes band.' – BBC Introducing Devon

'You blew me away' - Keith Finnegan

' Great..a really unique sound' - Seth Lakeman

'Really enjoying this' - Jon Boden (Bellowhead)

'Gorgeous vocals that come intimately to the forefront; the harmonies complimenting each other beautifully whilst each voice individually grabs and ravels you in, forcing you to listen intently' - For Folk's Sake (extract from EP review)

'Your music is great. The harmonies in "When We Wake in the Morning" are spot on and you can't go wrong with the banjo. I really like your flavor, it's very Sufjan Stevens with a little Belle and Sebastian.' - RumbleFish