It’s a six hour round-trip to Leicester from Scarborough, and, when you do that after work and have to manage your adrenaline in between, that’s a big ask of a middle-age man, even one with my capacity for The Road.
Thing is though, when it’s Grace Petrie asking, and the venue is her very own Fire In Your Heart Folk Club, there’s no way on earth I even think twice.
And what a lovely place. This should be a template for a whole new generation of Folk Clubs, the contemporary co-existing just fine with the Traditional and all being welcomed, an audience willing to be involved and make noise way beyond their number, an exchange of ideas, of songs, of email addresses, of handshakes and hugs. There needs to be a FIYH in every town. Seriously. We NEED places like this and we need them to thrive.
Such an amazing set of musicians for company too. A floor show rammed with talent from Grace herself, Marc Block, Paul Carbuncle through to the incredible Hannah James. Utterly mesmerising.
And Ms Petrie did me the honour of singing harmony on ‘The Future Needs Us Now’, which anyone who knows me will realise is something very special to me indeed, and the minutes we spent rehearsing that before doors, coupled with the performance itself will put a skip in my step for a long, long time.
So please support this club, and in fact ALL grassroots music venues, because without them people like me, and Grace, and Paul, and Marc, and Hannah don’t get the chance to cut our teeth and ultimately one of two things will happen; either we surrender to a cultural hegemony and have all music created behind closed doors and brought to you by The Establishment, or music dies all together. In many ways they are both the same thing.
This morning though Cloud Nine is a long way down from here, because I got to sing with Grace Petrie.
It’s a six hour round-trip to Leicester from Scarborough.
It was worth every second.