Thursday, 8 November 2018

Skinner & T'witch getting hitched

Congratulations to Steve Skinner and Sandra Twitchett, who are tying the knot on New Year's Eve. As duo Skinner & T'witch, their songs are often played on Folk At Five. Steve has written The Wedding Song for T'witch to celebrate their marriage, and their wedding day will see the song will be played four times in different arrangements. Sue Pope and Barry Pope from A Merrie Noyse Minstrel's are playing recorders, crumhorn, and rauchpfeife on the recording, which will feature, several times no doubt, on Folk At Five on Argyll FM and after the live shows on

Thursday, 18 October 2018

One to add to the playlists

Thirteen tracks of danceability, that's the album 'Livin In The Country Lane' from L J Coon. If you're collecting tracks for a forthcoming party, or need rhythmic records to brighten up the day, check it out!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A pulsating partnership with great sax

On today's Folk At Five I played 'Comfortably Numb', nigh on nine minutes of audio bliss from the Red Dirt Skinners' scintillating new album 'Under Utopian Skies'. It's one of those musical works, or perhaps it's the duo's performance, that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Oh, that sax! Oh, those harmonies! All nine tracks have now entertained listeners to the show. And there will be repeats upon repeats.

With this masterpiece, the musical and life partnership of Rob and Sarah Skinner has surely excelled with their harmonies, arrangements and oh-so-delicious sax counterpoints. If you're looking for music to sooth the ripples and raise the spirits, you need look no further, but you may need to wait until 28 September 2018, the album's release date.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

If you love folk music, you'll love this!

Dave Milton's debut album, Songs From The Bell Man, is one of those that gets an immediate 5-star rating in my pre-show playlist. Produced by Ange Hardy, herself often played on Folk At Five, the ten songs convey warmth, history and heritage with their accomplished vocalisation and arrangement. The "Bell Man" phrase comes from Davids other job as Watchet's Town Crier. (Years ago I had a brief go as a Town Crier myself, so it strikes a chord). Catch up on all tracks played at

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Sarah McQuaid on tour, USA & UK, Autumn/Fall 2018.

Often heard on my Folk At Five shows, there is now a good chance Sarah can be seen live at a venue near you!


Sep 7 Ann Arbor, MI: Green Wood Coffee House Series
Sep 8 Dayton, OH: Yellow Cab Tavern
Sep 9 Fort Wayne, IN: Allen County Public Library
Sep 10 Moline, IL: Moline Public Library
Sep 13 Hayward, WI: The Park Center
Sep 14 Mequon, WI: Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Series
Sep 15 Lombard, IL: Maple Street Concerts
Sep 16 Grayslake, IL: Lake County Folk Club
Sep 19 Rock Springs, WY: White Mountain Library
Sep 20 Ridgway, CO: Sherbino Theater
Sep 22 Oak Park, CA: Russ & Julie’s House Concerts
Sep 23 Altadena, CA: Red Umbrella Concert Series
Sep 26 Alpine, TX: Alpine Public Library
Sep 27 Fort Stockton, TX: Fort Stockton Public Library
Sep 28 Amarillo, TX: HPPR Living Room Concerts
Sep 29 Ravenna, TX: Harmony House Concerts
Sep 30 Austin, TX: Open Ears Concerts
Oct 1 Benbrook, TX: Benbrook Public Library
Oct 2 Mason, TX: M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library
Oct 4 Memphis, TN: House Concerts Chez Chase
Oct 5 Hattiesburg, MS: The Back Door Coffeehouse
Oct 7 Atlanta, GA: House Concert
Oct 8 Beaufort, SC: Folk at the Cannery
Oct 10 Blacksburg, SC: Blacksburg Library
Oct 10 Asheville, NC: Isis Music Hall
Oct 11 Rocky Mount, VA: Franklin County Public Library
Oct 13 Northborough, MA: Northborough Free Library
Oct 13 Pomfret, CT: The Vanilla Bean Cafe
Oct 14 Waterford, NY: Waterford Public Library
Oct 15 Plymouth, MA: Plymouth Public Library
Oct 16 West Brookfield, MA: Merriam-Gilbert Public Library
Oct 17 Somerville, MA: House Concert
Oct 18 Lexington, MA: Cary Memorial Library
Oct 19 Princeton, NJ: Princeton Folk Music Society
Oct 20 Keene, NH: Keene Public Library
Oct 21 Woods Hole, MA: Woods Hole Folk Music Society

Oct 29 Helston: The Blue Anchor 
   (Open singaround/session, not concert!
   All welcome to join in!)

Nov 1 Launceston: No. 8 Cafe & Deli
Nov 2 Trowbridge: The Village Pump @The Lamb
Nov 3 Stroud: Minchinhampton Market House
Nov 4 Barnstaple: ThePlough @StAnne’s
Nov 6 Northampton: Great kNight Folk Club
Nov 7 Pontyclun: Llantrisant Folk Club
Nov 8 Carmarthen: The Parrot
Nov 9 Shrewsbury: Snailbeach Village Hall
Nov 10 Doncaster: Cast
Nov 12 Surbiton: House Concert
Nov 13 Newport Harbour: Quay Arts
Nov 14 Southampton: The Chapel Sessions
Nov 15 Redbourn Folk Club
Nov 16 Newbury: ACE Space
Nov 17 West Kirby Arts Centre
Nov 18 Southport: Bothy Folk Club
Nov 19 Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre
Nov 22 St Margaret’s Hope: Cromarty Hall
Nov 23 Hoy: Gable End Theatre
Nov 25 Edinburgh: Assembly Roxy
Nov 28 Carlisle: Old Fire Station
Nov 29 Rothbury Roots
Nov 30 Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
Dec 1 Bovey Tracey: South Devon Music
Dec 2 Truro: Old Bakery Studios

Future tour plans include:

Dec 20 Helston: The Blue Anchor 
   (Open singaround/session, not concert!
   All welcome to join in!)

Jan 10 Penzance: The Acorn

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Automatic cross-posting to Facebook?

Looks like the facility that I used to rely on has ceased to function. However, my daily playlists are posted both on Google's blogger and Twitter, and the recorded shows on Mixcloud, with all the links gathered together at

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Pesky SMS text vocalised over landline?

Could be from BT's 08456021111 facility, which has curfew times. To vary times or turn off totally, use 08005875252, options 1 then 5.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

New music submissions - an apology

It's always pleasing and refreshing to receive new music for audition and potential playlisting. For years, now decades, the web site Contact Form and email sytems have been reliable methods of contact. Electronic transmission of music files, via Dropbox or Google Drive, has joined the posted CD as a reliable way of receiving tracks.

In the outward direction, after each radio show, I have used 'blogs, Twitter and other social media to publish playlists, and Mixcloud as a 'listen again' hub for streaming.

What I didn't realise until today, is that some folk had attempted to contact me using 'Messenger'. They must have wondered why I ignored them, but the truth is I didn't know until recently that 'Messenger' is not the same thing as 'SMS text messaging'. Now I know it is a part of Facebook, which I monitor only occasionally, normally to check that 'blog posts are reflected correctly. I can only apologise for my ignorance.

For the avoidance of doubt and to ensure the speediest contact, it would be great if folk could make initial contact by email if they have the address, or by using the Contact Form at if they don't.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

21 years later

It was in 1997 that I first met Tree of Life Computers whilst looking for a local I.T. company to support various activities I was involved in. They did not disappoint, and 21 years later it was great to chat with Tim Dickson on my Folk At Five show on Argyll FM. Thanks Tim.

Friday, 11 May 2018

"Secret nuclear deal?" ask Greenpeace

For longer than for any other campaigning organisation, I've been a Greenpeace supporter, and feel compelled to reproduced here their latest email in full:

Everyone knew it’d come to this.

After years of delays and ballooning budgets, the next wave of new nuclear plants is in serious trouble.

Nuclear companies - led by Hitachi - are now demanding government support to keep their projects from collapsing. [1]

Instead of laughing them out of Westminster, the government is meeting these companies behind closed doors - and won’t say what they’re discussing. [2]

But some information is leaking out, and it doesn’t look good. Japanese newspapers claim that Theresa May has promised to back Hitachi’s construction loans for the Wylfa nuclear plant. [3]

This could mean that if something goes wrong, we'd have to step in and pay the bill.

That’s no way to run a country. Will you ask your MP to speak out against these secret nuclear deals?
Let’s be real: funding new nuclear plants is a terrible idea, secretly or otherwise.

The first plant is still ten years away from producing a spark of power [4] - that’s too late to help us meet our climate targets. Meanwhile, offshore wind and other renewable power is cheap, quicker to build and increasingly easy to store for when we need it. [5]

Your MP has a good record of speaking out against nuclear power, but people on both sides of the debate can see the problem with ministers negotiating a huge deal like this in secret.

So right now we have a chance to shine some light on this. Here’s the plan.

The minister in charge of nuclear negotiations is Greg Clark. He’s done some good things in the past, but he’s getting this one badly wrong.

Sometimes it's easy for ministers to ignore public pressure, but they can be influenced by other politicians.

If dozens of MPs tell Greg Clark that they’re worried about the secrecy surrounding this deal, it’ll be much harder for him to keep the details hidden. Will you ask your MP to speak out?

We don’t need to flood anyone’s inbox today though. Unique, well-written messages are the best way to get an MP’s attention, so make sure you’ve got a bit of time and headspace for this before you jump in.
If you’ve been involved in our campaign to stop the Hinkley nuclear plant I don’t have to tell you about the government’s love for wildly expensive nuclear deals.

But what these companies want is actually even worse. With Hinkley, we’d only pay for the power it actually generates, even if that power is ten years late and way overpriced.

If our government starts backing these new projects, we’re all bought in - and could end up footing the bill if things go wrong.

And the risks are very real. Hitachi has a sketchy track record with nuclear projects [6] - and the technology they’re using is pretty unreliable. [7] There’s a reason investors are backing away!

If these talks carry on in secret, there’s a good chance we could get locked into a bad deal that we can’t back out of. Let’s get our MPs speaking out on this now, before it’s too late. Hit the button to start your message.
Thanks for taking time to help build a better world.



1. Hitachi seeks to clear clouds over Horizon - The Times

2. Could we be about to see a wave of public money for new nuclear? - Unearthed

3. Hitachi's U.K. nuclear project to get guarantees from government - media - Reuters (via Mainichi)

4. Has nuclear been stuffed by the Hinkley turkey? - The Times

5. How we can use wind power when there's no wind - Greenpeace

6. Briefing: Hitachi’s nuclear safety breaches - Greenpeace

7. Briefing: The failings of the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor - Prof. Steve Thomas, University of Greenwich

Friday, 4 May 2018

Shure cartridge production ending

Reloop RMP-4 - Top View
At one time, it would have been alarming to find a stalwart manufacturer abandoning the market for record-playing essentials. Now, however, I struggle to recall the last time I dug out my vinyl discs with the thought of playing them. Occasionally I refer to the labels for the information they hold, but most tracks that I need or want are easily available as high-quality digital files. It would be a rare request indeed that would lead me to connect up my turntable and actually spin a disc. So perhaps it's no surprise that Shure have announced they are ceasing production of cartridges.

The death of vinyl as a medium for audio has often been proclaimed, but in some circles it is undergoing yet another revival. It seems that folk like to handle, see and hear vinyl in preference to CD or digital audio files. Not me. I disliked the finicky nature of vinyl discs even when they were the only alternative to the rather inconvenient magnetic tape. CDs seemed wonderful creations when they first appeared. Now they are surpassed by high-quality lossless digital files, which can be played along with CDs in quality equipment like the Reloop RMP-4 pictured. (Vinyl addicts will like the large jogwheel which, although it doesn't spin like a turntable, does provide the ability to manipulate playback in a similar manner.) Other digital audio players are available. :-)

Shure cites difficulties with their suppliers of parts for cartridges as key to their decision, saying that suppliers are "struggling to keep up with demand and maintain the quality standards Shure requires." Most likely, the difficulties arise from the fact that the overall cartridge market is shrinking, even if Shure's own sales have remained steady over the last decade or so.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Listen Again To Folk At Five and Teatime Shows

Enjoy again the 2018 editions of my Teatime and Folk At Five shows broadcast on Argyll FM and hosted online by Mixcloud. The peak-time shows inform about Argyll businesses and events with great folk and popular music. Playlists are eclectic and unique.