Appearing next at the Willows

Wed Sept 13th - 8.30pm -  Dave Gibb

HAILING from the village of Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway Dave describes himself as a

left-handed, balding, middle-aged songwriting folky from Scotland’s highest village.

A superb guitarist with a style that is as distinctive as it is effective, a voice that can carry traditional and contemporary songs and a songwriting ability that produces songs ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, he is an established performer throughout the acoustic/folk club, festival and concert scene.

Lyrically Dave is a storyteller and is determined to maintain the art of storytelling through song. Musically he draws on both traditional and contemporary sources, especially the finger picking styles of the heroes.

Wed Sept 27th - 8.30pm -  Maria Dunn & Shannon Johnson

Award nominated Canadian Songwriter Maria Dunn ( vocal, guitar, accordian) in duo with Shannon Johnson (violin) draws deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song. a true preserver of the spirit of folk music, she is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and her unvarnished songs about the lives of working men and women.

Melding North American roots music with her Scottish-Irish heritage, Maria celebrates the resilience and grace of "ordinary" people, past and present.

A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, past Juno and CFMA-nominee Maria Dunn is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and unvarnished songs about ordinary people. In 2016, she released her sixth independent album Gathering, songs of courage and struggle, local and global (produced by Shannon Johnson of Juno-winning band The McDades).

Edmonton-based, Maria tours internationally. Accolades for her songwriting include publication in Sing Out! and Penguin Eggs magazines and the Rise Again songbook (2015). Other artists have recorded (Niamh Parsons, Bob Bossin) or performed (Archie Fisher, Andy Irvine, Nathan Rogers) her songs.

Wed Nov 8th - 8.30pm -  Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have long established themselves as one of the UK folk scene’s most rewardingly enduring partnerships.

Twice recent winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo – 2016 & 2013 – the couple’s intimacy and strength of passion on stage have won them many fans and an enviable reputation as ‘Songwriters par excellence’- (fRoots),  whose greatly varied original songs cover such subjects as wicked mermaids, Norwegian legends, and a lonely whale.

Building upward from their last two highly praised albums ‘‘Tomorrow Will Follow Today’ & Hidden People’’ fans of folk and acoustic music can only wonder where this leading couple will choose to turn next.

With a story that includes over 20 years of music making with the likes of Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon, Levellers, Kate Rusby and Show of Hands, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have consolidated themselves as pillars of modern British folk.

Wed Nov 22nd - 8.30pm -  Ninebarrow

NINEBARROW are a multi-award-winning folk duo, who are impressing audiences across the country with their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition. Described by Mike Harding as sounding ‘damn fine’ and by Kate Rusby as ‘absolutely amazing’, Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere combine breath taking vocal harmonies and melodies, delivering original songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles. As well as crafting unique and engaging original material, Ninebarrow also take a wide-range of traditional folk songs and rework them in their own, distinctive way. Not only exceptional singers and musicians, Ninebarrow are also equally passionate about the stories behind their songs  - combining their music with history, folklore and storytelling. 

Wed Dec 6th - 8.30pm -  GreenMatthews 
with special guest Jude Rees

Wed Dec 20th - 8.30pm -  Bernard Wrigley

Bernard Wrigley (born 1948 in Bolton, Lancashire) is a singer, actor and comedian. He is sometimes known by the nickname "The Bolton Bullfrog".

Wrigley's career as a singer and storyteller began in the late 1960s, when a love of folk music led him to perform in folk clubs. Since then he has released over sixteen albums of traditional and original songs, stories and monologues. His main instruments are the guitar and concertina. He began acting around the same time and has made many appearances on stage, most famously in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot alongside Mike Harding at Bolton's Octagon Theatre, and Jim Cartwright's Road at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Wrigley has made many appearances in British TV programmes, including Phoenix Nights (where he was Dodgy Eric, who sold club owner Brian Potter a Das Boot fruit machine, a bucking bronco and an obscene bouncy castle), Emmerdale (as eccentric rocket inventor Barry Clegg) and Coronation Street (most recently as the Rev. Marvin Winstanley, the shady 'internet priest' whom Roy and Hayley approached to arrange their wedding - Wrigley's sixth character in the soap). His other credits include Last of the Summer Wine, Cold Feet, Coogan's Run, Dinnerladies, Victoria Wood With All The Trimmings and In with the Flynns. He also appeared as a union official in Brassed Off and as a school teacher in Rita, Sue and Bob Too. In 1978 he was a night school teacher in Alan Bennett's play Me—I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

On BBC Radio 4 he has acted in plays lasting from 15 to 90 minutes. BBC Radio Lancashire has broadcast many of his pre-recorded series, such as Wrigley's Ramblings and Home Brewed, and his readings of many stories written by Tommy Thompson.

As a writer he has released various combinations of his songs and monologues. In 2006 he produced a book of silly one-verse poems Shorts For All Occasions, which was followed in 2008 by The Longs & The Shorts Of It. - Don’t miss this opportunity to see him.

Acclaimed musicians Chris Green and Sophie Matthews (with special guest Jude Rees) present a festive romp through 600 years of Christmas music, songs and carols.


Beginning in the Middle Ages and ending in the 20th century, ‘A Brief History of Christmas’ is a whistle-stop tour of the origins of our midwinter festivities. Featuring long-forgotten songs and tales as well as some familiar and well-loved carols, ‘A Brief History of Christmas‘ is a show guaranteed to delight the hearts of young and old.

The show takes in 600 years of music – featuring music and songs played on archaic instruments such as cittern, shawm and rauschpfeife, as well as more familiar instruments such as guitar, flute, oboe and accordion. and all helped along by GreenMatthews‘ trademark wit and humour.

‘A Brief History of Christmas‘ is the perfect show for anyone looking to recapture the simple Yuletide delights of fellowship, laughter and good cheer.

A Brief History of Christmas. 
A festive romp through 600 years of Christmas music, songs and carols.

Wed Oct 11th - 8.30pm -  The James Brothers

The James Brothers are not really outlaws, neither are they brothers and only one of them is called James.

They come from the lands down under – Australia and New Zealand to be precise; lands in which the traditional songs and tunes of the British Isles have evolved their own unique characteristics, like musical marsupials. And it’s these songs and tunes, and several of their own making, that The James Brothers have united to play.

The James Brother who is called James is Sydney-born James Fagan – best known as one half of Nancy Kerr & James Fagan (musically and maritally), but also spotted playing guitar and bouzouki in The Cara Dillon Band, the live circus that is Bellowhead and with his parents and sister as The Fagans, where his folk career began (in a decade which has only just become fashionable).

The James Brother who isn’t called James is Jamie McClennan – a Kiwi who found himself in a duo with Scotland’s BBC-award-winning Emily Smith (whom he also married) having chosen not to follow his first bandmates to Ireland, where they formed the much celebrated Gráda. Jamie has been sighted on fiddle, whistle and guitar next to the likes of Sharon Shannon, Beth Nielson Chapman, Jerry Douglas and his mum.  He also likes to run barefoot, but that’s his own business.

While both men are quick to point out that their work with their wives is still the primary passion, The James Brothers allows them to be centre stage – playing the music of their roots and telling jokes without fear of being told off.

Performing sets fuelled by flat white coffee (the pair bonded over their shared taste in the Southern Hemisphere’s rival to the latte) that combine the virtuosity for which they’re renowned and the gusto and spontaneity of a pub session. Drawing from the folk, blues and bluegrass that inspired them, the Brothers’ repertoire includes such songs as The Voyage Of The Buffalo (an up-tempo NZ ballad written in the 1800s about a convict transporting timber ship), Poison Train (a song by Mick O’Rourke about the closure of Australia’s rural railways, that James learned from his father), along with self-penned tunes like I Wallaby Free (inspired by a true-life attempt to catch the bouncing beast; its title the best of a groan-inducing bunch suggested by a concert audience) and even a cover of Six Months In A Leaky Boat by Split Enz (the band’s founders, Tim and Neil Finn were teenage performers at Jamie’s dad’s folk club, before going on to form the multi-million selling Crowded House).

For Fagan and McClennan this is about bringing their distinct Antipodean-steeped folk to a new audience, with songs and tunes brought to life by a fraternal bond between two very silly, but captivatingly gifted musicians.

And that’s the James Brothers. “Two men. Two Voices. Two Instruments… No Sheilas”

Wed Oct 25th - 8.30pm -  The Mile Roses

Contemporary British folk music with a nod to Nashville.


Three piece touring collaboration for three respected solo songwriters Edwina Hayes, Kate Bramley and Simon Haworth.


Born out of a musical interest in both British folk and the transatlantic connections to new country and Americana, this trio are fast gaining a reputation across the UK folk scene.


Original songs and close harmonies, accompanied by guitars, bass, cittern, mandola, mandolin and fiddle.


From toe tapping folk to haunting ballads this trio have toured worldwide as independent musicians but obviously have an infectious enjoyment for this new collaboration that is guaranteed to leave audiences with a smile on their faces.