The first Wednesday being the 1st of December this month, last night's Nuneaton Folk Club evening caught a few out. And although no one had any stuffing and there were no turkeys on stage, there was still a faint Festive tinge to proceedings. Aptly the headline band for the month of the Winter Solstice were Greenman Rising, on home turf like our (fragmented) House Band Nunc.
Nunc had been reduced to a trio. With guitarist John Kearney and singer Flossy McDougal sidelined because of medical issues, Jon Geoff and Paul flew the flag. Paul's song "Mr Moonshine" started proceedings, Vigilante Man followed and Paul took the lead vocal again with a Doc Watson song "Sitting On Top of The World." We had a running order and a set list which we'd torn up and re-written several times beforehand.
Right on schedule, Tyburn (Jan Richardson and Hedley) followed us up there. They are a Warwickshire outfit and no strangers to NFC. A loner floor spot gave them more of a chance to air some more of their interesting arrangements such as "Little Wing"
Sam Shemmell delayed by traffic, arrived just before proceedings began. After the briefest of soundchecks he was thrown straight on ( Though not in a literal sense. We'd had Sam doing a floor spot at our previous venue but for some of our audience his massively distinctive voice took them by surprise. With vocal projection like that he doesn't really need a P.A. He filled the room. His arrangement of "Caledonia" was particularly imaginative, showing the Dougie McClean song in a whole new light.
The men (and women) of GMR put a lot of time into production and rehearsal. Exemplified with a very thorough Sound check beforehand and arrangements and adjustments still being made into the second half. The vocal range is frankly, astonishing. When playing fully in synch they make an impressive sound. The array of instruments is at times dazzling. At one stage three separate forms of woodwind were being played by separate musicians. With melodeon, bazouki, two fiddles ,two guitars and of course Steve Bentley's compulsive drumming.
Several favourites from their 2017 album Devils and Doxies were aired. (Many of which we've played on Anker Folk). Bedlam Boys, Winter Winds and The Bonny Ship The Diamond for example. Many of us have been looking forward to a new GMR album release for quite a while now. 2022 apparently, so not long to wait. Until then, get to see them when you can. They are spectacular and entertaining. Or as one excited audience member started whooping at the end of numbers towards the end of the second half, " Get In!"
Our thanks go out again to Ross on Sound, Aaron behind the bar and to Rich Burlingham for ensuring the facilities were as safe and clean as possible and for continuing to supply thirsty Folkies with a supply of Church End Real Ale from just up the road. Boston Fat Boy on this occasion which was divine.
Thanks also to Kevin Hargraves, John B.Smith and Jon Harrington for the photos reproduced here.