Feb 15 2018

Sam Baker, Sunday 11th February 2018

Sunday 11th February 2018, The Live Room, Saltaire. Probably the slickest and most polished Sam Baker show I have seen to date. Sam was accompanied by Grammy nominated master percussionist Mike Meadows (Willie Nelson, Shawn Colvin & many more bands). By the end of the show you could appreciate the Grammy nomination.

During the show Sam transported the rapt audience through a wide range of emotions with his own very sparse but oh so rich individual style of looking at the world and telling the stories he has seen there. The most intense point must have been the introduction to ‘Broken Fingers’, the story of the terrorist bomb exploding and killing a German family and severely injuring Sam on a train to Machu Picchu. I cannot recall another show in The Live Room creating a mood quite like that number created last night, the song details Sam’s remembrance of the young German boy who lost his life that day and contains the very harrowing lines (lyrics Sam Baker 2007)
‘Forget his face? Of course I don’t, Etched like a crystal vase, These broken fingers, some things don’t heal, I can’t wake up from a dream when the dream is real…’

Continuing the dream references he then performed ‘Angels’, dedicated to the 99% of the world’s population that are intrinsically ‘good’, again a wonderful line ‘Everyone is at the mercy of another’s dream’ (Sam Baker 2004).
However, the mood was by no means all sombre, Sam’s shows and songs always have a great deal of humour (‘Isn’t Love Great’), poignancy (‘Waves’) and interaction with the audience, last night was no exception, it was superbly paced both musically and emotionally. A wonderful night greatly enjoyed by a very attentive, appreciative and respectful audience.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Feb 15 2018

Red Tail Ring, Friday 2nd February 2018

Friday 2nd February 2018 The Live Room, Saltaire. Red Tail Ring on their first UK tour. Michigan based Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp wowing a delighted audience with some beautifully delicate close harmonies and superb minimalist intricate arrangements of original, folk and Americana ballads and tunes on fiddle, banjo and guitar.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly from BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

Jan 28 2018

Lucky Peterson, Friday 26th January 2018

Just about recovered from Friday night’s extraordinary night with Lucky Peterson. What an incredible night. It was like a bomb going off in Caroline Club, such was the energy created by him and his incredible international band. Guitarist, Kelyn Crapp from San Francisco, Parisian trumpeter, Nicolas Folmer and French-based, African-born drummer, Ahmad Compaoré helped Lucky generate enough power to light up a city. Add to that, a startling guest spot from Lucky’s wife, Tamara Peterson on vocals, it was one of those nights that will last forever in the memory.

We’ve had some great gigs here at The Live Room over the past five and a half years, but this one must surely be up there vying for the best ever. We heard a dizzying range of music from the funky jazz of Lucky’s mentor and subject of his current album, Jimmy Smith, through to some blistering blues with Lucky on slide guitar and on to powerhouse soul and funk of Wilson Pickett and The Temptations.

Stunning solos from all musicians were met with spontaneous rounds of applause from the packed crowd, none mores so than Lucky himself on his huge Hammond B3 and whirring Leslie speaker. There are some fine digital keyboards out there now, but none can match the genuine B3 for its huge sound – that growl and scream in the hands of a true master, who not only played some blistering runs but was also supplying all the bass via the foot pedals!

We should also mention that Lucky not only held the audience in the palm of his hand for the entire night, but that he has one of the greatest soul voices you’ll ever hear.

As we said: what an incredible night! We must do it again.

Jan 28 2018

The Outside Track, Sunday 14th January 2018

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 14th January , The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Saltaire. The Outside Track. The first gig of the year for both venue and band. The Outside Track are rightly regarded as one of the very best pan-Celtic bands . This was their first visit to The Live Room and their first get together as a band for 103 days. The band, comprised of the two Scottish founder members Scottish highlander Fiona Black on accordion and , Edinburgh born Ailie Robertson on harp. Also Breton Islander Mairi Rankin on fiddle, Co.Cork’s Teresa Horgan on flute, whistles and lead vocals and Finland dwelling , Perthshire born, Michael Ferrie on guitar.

A serious logistical nightmare for meeting up, practicing and recording but they really make it work well. From the very opening you would not have known they hadn’t played together for such a length of time. A brilliantly paced set, mingling Irish, Scottish, Canadian, French and English influences and much ,much more. It was always energetic and driving, no one, despite invitations, other than Mairi danced but there was some serious foot tapping and chair shuffling. They mixed energetic but at the same time sensitive instrumentals with songs.

Lead vocals on songs were mainly from the very versatile voice of Teresa Horgan which adjusted to the humorous and also sometimes poignant songs. In the instrumentals all instruments shared leads but intertwined beautifully with some high degrees of delicate interchange. A large part of the show comprised material from their last CD Light Up The Dark (LUTD).

The first 3 songs and tunes were from that CD opening with Set You Free. The aptly named Body Parts Set from Flash Company followed, so named as the translation from the French is Reel of the Cramped Arse Cheek and the Neckbelly Set. As they said the french title seemed more romantic! The remainder of the first set shot by including Brandy Wines from Ailie’s solo album and a new , as yet unrecorded set of tunes entitled The Queen of Rangoon Set, hopefully for their 5th album release this summer if logistics allow. If the rest of the new album is of that standard it will be a superb album. A humorous introduction to a sing along Mountain Road from Flash Company compared the song to speed dating in Ireland as there is a baby by the third verse. Great singing from both band and audience ended set 1.

Set 2 opened with more from LUTD. A lively set of tunes entitled The Drilling Set moved to a Lenny Gallant song Pete’s Dream about the decline of the East Canadian fishing industry. Changing the mood totally Teresa’s intro to The Wrong House Set comically told of attempting to find the correct house they were lodging in when all looked the same. A delicate harp and guitar intro leading to a full foot stomping crescendo. Mood change again with Nanci Griffith’s Trouble in the Fields, a beautiful and moving song , the definitive version of the song (in my opinion) must be Maura O’Connell’s version but Teresa did a wonderful cover. Upping the pace again more instrumentals including Panic! from Curious Things Given Wings and another step dance exhibition by Mairi before finishing the show with the Kathryn Roberts inspired Whitby Maid .

They weren’t going to get away without an encore and Le Voyage from Curious Wings finished the show brilliantly. Hopefully they will be back soon with a new album.

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly from BCB's IntoThe Buttercup

Jan 28 2018

Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, Friday 15th December 2017

Bit slow catching up with our blog posts, so sorry! Just a few photos, courtesy of Keith Belcher, of another brilliant show by Eugene and his band! What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas!

Jan 17 2018

Urgent: Amy & Luke Show Cancelled!

We’re very sorry to have to tell you that, owing to Amy falling ill, she has been advised by her doctor to pull out of the whole tour. As we had a similar situation last year and decided to continue with the show featuring Luke solo (he played an absolute blinder!), we decided that it would not be appropriate to repeat the process, so we made the decision to pull the show on this occasion.

We realise that this will be a big disappointment, especially to all those people who loved Luke last time, but we will definitely bring him back again, and hopefully with Amy too.

If you know anyone who has bought tickets for the show, please help us get the word out there that it is not going to happen. Refunds and ticket exchanges can be organised by replying to this email or direct to Hilary at

Dec 13 2017

Duke Special with support Dan Donnelly, Sunday 10th December 2017

Sunday 10th December 2017, The Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Saltaire. I’d been looking forward to this one since it was announced and I certainly was not disappointed. The very wonderful and unique Duke Special (aka Peter Wilson), Lisburn born, Belfast-based singer and musician making his debut appearance at the Live Room. Quite simply one of the best entertainers on the circuit.

His act can lean at times towards best music hall traditions. The concept of entertainment is never lost. It’s not uncommon to see parents with their children at Duke shows and tonight was no exception. Supported by Dan Donnelly, another Belfast singer and musician. Dan, armed with the most battered guitar still allowed on stage, gave a very humorous and entertaining start to what was a very memorable Live Room evening.

A sell out crowd braved the sub zero temperatures and snow flurries, with a few hardy souls standing at the back. This was the last night of the Hallow tour, promoting Duke’s new venture, an album featuring the poems of Michael Longley. I’m fairly certain we had every track from the CD throughout the evening. Anyone who hadn’t seen Duke Special before may have wondered what was going on when the dreadlocked, nattily becapped and now bearded Duke strode on stage, wound up an old gramophone to provide some accompaniment to his own keyboards and very rich, warm brogue singing Another Wren, the opening track from the CD.

Mixed amongst the songs from Hallow were many songs from Dukes extensive back catalogue. A varied catalogue would be an appropriate term, his interests over his 9 CDs involving many diverse projects with a Huckleberry Finn production scheduled for next year.

The middle of the show saw Dan join Duke on stage to conduct a raffle. Dan announcing the numbers in a ‘bingo caller on LSD’ fashion. Certainly not the bingo calling the Live Room is accustomed to. Friday night’s crowd in next door’s bar would definitely have been left confused! Each number draw preceded by a joint ‘keyboard roll’ from Duke and Dan.

Dan then stayed on stage for a couple of songs, leaving as Duke launched into ever popular requests for Brixton Leaves and Digging An Early Grave. I have to be honest and say I have heard far more audience participation in the past for Digging but it was a cold night.

Winding up the gramophone again, Duke played The Ice Cream Man, a tribute to a man murdered during the troubles in Northern Ireland in the 80s and read by Michael Longley, while he went into the audience distributing flowers.

Lena, the last track on the CD finished the set before Duke performed encores of crowd favourite Freewheel before a superb rendition of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

Duke has his own band of followers. Many of the Live Room audience were first timers to the venue but not first-time witnesses to this tour, some coming from far and wide to follow the tour. Ron and Hilary have been promoting Duke since 2002. Long may they continue to do so. He loved the venue, hopefully he will be back on his next tour.

Pre Show Interviews


Nov 28 2017

Chris Wood, Friday 24th November 2017

The third and very welcome visit of multi Folk Award winner Chris Wood. The show was, quite simply, as I expected, excellent. No real review from me just a couple of comments. We had a change of person intro as Sam Samociuk had asked to do the intro, giving Hilary a break!

There is a thought that song writers have their entire lives to write their first album and then 1 or 2 years each for any subsequent ones. Chris Wood’s writing, already in my opinion the best Britain has to offer, is still getting better. The new CD SO MUCH TO DEFEND is certainly a magnificent genuine folk offering with some of his best ever songs.

Generally audiences can be quite insistent on requesting old favourites which are familiar. I’ve noticed with Chris Wood audiences that many are more than eager to hear the new or unrecorded material; it’s been a while since I’ve heard ‘One In A Million’ requested. Even the ones they are familiar with often change in melody and delivery.

Last night saw a relatively rare performance of the very powerful ‘Masterpiece’, a song which featured in 2012’s BBC Olympics Ballads. We were treated to a new song about, amongst other things, old folk tearing around the tennis courts. Also a very beautifully delivered Jake Thackray cover ‘To Do With You’ brought resounding applause. A fabulous night from one of our very best.

Keith Belcher, 25th November

Nov 20 2017

Lady Maisery, Friday 17th November 2017

Formal dictionary definitions of the adjective ‘glorious’ include ‘having, worthy of, or bringing fame or admiration, having a striking beauty or splendour’. The informal being ‘very enjoyable’.

That just about summed up the sound and performance created by Lady Maisery last night in Saltaire, the sound being all the more enjoyable since the addition of ace sound engineer Neil Segrott as their touring sound technician. Now on his second tour with the band, his in depth knowledge of their music and how it should sound was used to great effect. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with their sound before Neil, but it is now enhanced.

Lady Maisery, for those not aware, are Rowan Rheingans on fiddles and bansitar, Hannah James on accordion and percussion (both feet and drum) and Hazel Askew on harp, concertina and bells. All three take lead vocals and merge their voices to create some absolutely sublime harmonies with an incredibly high standard of instrumentation constantly weaving its way throughout the vocals. Some songs are pure acapella; some songs are diddles or tune singing, an art which has nearly died out in England. A mixture of their own and traditional songs with some covers including a Todd Rundgren song Honest Work, discovered via Maddy Prior.

This was their second visit to Saltaire, the first being 5 May 2015. They opened with Katy Cruel from their 2013 second CD MAYDAY before Sing For The Morning, the opening song of the latest CD CYCLE. Continuing with The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood we heard the bansitar, a cross between a sitar and banjo, an instrument made by Rowans father, Hannah providing foot percussion and clapping. Prior to finishing set 1 with the beautiful London Lights, featuring Hazel on lead vocal, Hannah gave possibly the best Merch spiel I’ve heard. It certainly worked as the goods were virtually flying from the table.

Like set 1’s closing song, the opening song for Set 2, Poor Man’s Lamentation, with a far more upbeat sound than its title, was from the award-winning album SONGS OF SEPARATION, being one of the many projects that Lady Maisery are involved with. This brought rapturous applause. An acapella Diggers Song followed. They are very busy ladies, besides being Lady Maisery they are all involved in numerous projects. Many of the songs have deep political and ecological references.

This was not a one paced show, the content, style and delivery varied throughout. The consistency was the delightful, enchanting sound that had the audience listening as intently as I have seen a Live Room audience listen. I might add that Live Room audiences are generally great listeners.

And so the delights continued with an acapella encore of a wonderful apt parting song called Land On The Shore. The ladies joked that at the end of the tour they would check into a spa for some pampering. It would be fair to say that the audience had an ear pampering experience throughout the show. Neil recorded part of the show so hopefully at some point there may be a live album.

Next up at The Live Room on 24th November is the wonderful Chris Wood, making his 3rd visit, for me the very best Folk singer and songwriter in the British Isles. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB's Into The Buttercup

Nov 16 2017

Martin Simpson, Sunday 12th November 2017

Review by Graham Smout, photos by Peter Graves

Martin Simpson was spellbinding at The Live Room at Saltaire on Sunday evening. Playing a mixture of familiar and newly recorded numbers, Martin paid tribute to the fact that it was Remembrance Sunday by including poignant introductions and songs referencing tragic wartime conflicts across the globe, including the contributions and sacrifices made by members of his own family.

With all seats taken, the audience were treated to an extended set, with encore from Martin, which went on for so long that some would have missed the last bus home – had they been catching buses! The thing that strikes me about Martin is he never compromises in any way in his performance, which is first class entertainment from beginning to end. It was also heartwarming to overhear him talking enthusiastically at the end of the evening with fans about his guitars and styles of playing.

‘It was a great night. His songwriting is amazing’ – Biddy Unsworth