Review - Sam Carter - Downend Folk Club

October 06 2015

Downend Folk Club was a little less crowded than usual, due to the unfortunate clash with the Rugby World Cup first game – England vs Fiji. England won, we were reliably informed. (A special brew from our supporters, GWB, ‘Flyin’ Try,’ did not tempt the rugby crowd from their sport). Nevertheless, a good crowd gathered to welcome Sam Carter and Said The Maiden.

Sam Carter

September 18, 2015
Supported by Said the Maiden

Downend Folk Club was a little less crowded than usual, due to the unfortunate clash with the Rugby World Cup first game – England vs Fiji. England won, we were reliably informed. (A special brew from our supporters, GWB, ‘Flyin’ Try,’ did not tempt the rugby crowd from their sport). Nevertheless, a good crowd gathered to welcome Sam Carter and Said The Maiden.
The evening did not get off to the best of starts as the vocal harmony trio Said The Maiden got stuck in traffic on the M4, and didn’t arrive until 7.45pm, much to their disappointment as well as ours.  They made it on stage 5 minutes later and despite not having had a sound check, and Mike’s warnings of the consequences of this, played a fantastic half hour set, to much applause and cries of ‘More’, but time was against us all.  They left their set list in the car, but it didn’t matter - they didn’t complain and the sound was great. Quite an achievement after a day’s work and a 3 ½ hour drive.  They even stuck around for the rest of the evening before heading back.  No wonder they were nominees for the Bristol Folk Festival Isambard award in 2014.
They started with a rousing a cappella version of The Derbyshire Ram, and covered mainly  ‘sad pretty love songs’ including  great versions of ‘Jolene’ and ‘Silver Dagger’, however, they ended their set with a self-penned song (sea shanty) called ‘Polly can you swim’  in which we were encouraged to sing along to the chorus.  We do love a good sing.
Their debut album ‘A Curious Tale’ was on sale and of course we bought a copy!  We hope to see them again at Downend Folk Club for a headline slot.  Visit their website:
After a short break, Ant welcomed Sam Carter to the stage.  BBC Folk Horizon award for Best Newcomer in 2010, and member of False Lights (along with our patron Jim Moray) Sam played an acoustic solo set especially for us including a number of songs from his new album, and some from his second CD, ‘The No Testament’ and 2009’s ‘Keepsakes’.  His guitar playing is superb – according to Wikipedia, former BBC Radio Two folk show presenter Mike Harding wrote that Carter was “one of the most gifted acoustic guitarists of his generation.”  He interspersed his playing with short stories about each song, some of them very personal, like ‘Here in the Ground’ about the effect of his older sister’s death at the age of 3 on his family.  The ‘Lumpy’s lullaby’ was written for his surviving sister’s first child, but turned out to be less of a lullaby and more of a great singalong child’s song – and guess what?  Downend Folk Club obliged with the singing.  He warned us ‘Beware the fury of the patient man’ before singing ‘Taunting the Dog’ – the story of a good old row.  The first happy song was ‘Our Kind of Loving’.  He mixed traditional with self-penned songs to include ‘The Wife of Usher’s Well’,  a version of which is also included in the False Lights first CD ‘Salvor’.  Jim Moray joined Sam on stage for one song, ‘The Indian’s Petition’.  There was another chance for audience participation with the final song of the set, ‘Jack Hall’, a hanging song, which got everyone involved! The evening ended with an encore, of ‘The No Testament’, a capella bluesy gospel, with the audience providing a hummed and clapped backing.  Sam had explained his interest in ‘Sacred Harp’ music, which we had not heard of before.  Very impressive, can’t wait to see him solo again .
All his solo CDs were for sale, and the first False Lights debut too.  We were restrained and didn’t buy them all.
For more information, Sam has a website:
It’s well worth taking a look especially if you missed the gig – it will make you wish you had been around to see him live.

Bobby and Keith Oliver


Next at Downend Folk Club

Ewan McLennan
(support from Nibs Van Der Spuy)

Frenchay Village Hall, Friday October 16, 2015 Doors open 7.30pm

Downend Folk Club are proud to present Ewan McLennan, who visits the club on Friday 15th October. Singer and guitarist Ewan has quickly established himself as a story teller of the finest quality. Recording his first album in 2010, Ewan was no stranger to music, he just needed to find his sound.
London-born, Edinburgh-raised, Ewan started off playing the piano, graduating to guitar, where he excelled. Recording for the famous Fellside label and the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award followed in 2011, and the scene was set for the establishment of our of the finest acts to grace the UK folk scene.
More awards (from Spiral Earth and the Alistair Hulett Memorial Prize for Political Songwriting and more albums followed, as well as an appearance on the Transatlantic Sessions. Singing and performing both traditional and contemporary songs, Ewan plays with passion and finesse for audiences small and large.
Ewan McLennan has realised his potential on a wonderful album of traditional folk.’ The Telegraph
Ewan’s most recent album is Stories Still Untold, a volume which further cements what Ewan is all about. Expect songs from this record as well as Ewan’s others, old favourites and new songs which will delight and enthrall.
‘A gorgeous, lilting voice. So moving.’ MOJO
We can’t wait to see him at Downend, where he’ll be supported by the sensational fusion guitarist Nibs Van Der Spuy. Blending a range of styles, Nibs’ music has echoes of many different approaches, sounds and techniques.
Those attending the gig are encouraged to bring their own glass, to enable to club to cut down on waste at the bar.
The event will be held at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 16th October 2015. Doors open at 7.30pm and there will be a full bar serving GWB real ale, cider, wine and a range of soft drinks, as well as a raffle.
Tickets are £9 in advance, £10 on the door, and are available from Melanie’s Kitchen, Bristol Ticket Shop and Members tickets are £8 and are available from the website or direct from Ant Miles.
 For further information, please contact Ant Miles on 07837881941 or email