Wednesday 3 January
Hannah Johnson & The Broken Hearts
Hannah Johnson & The Broken Hearts
Regular “Fredheads” will remember three great shows that we’ve enjoyed over the years at Grateful Fred’s with the wonderful “Toy Hearts”, led by sisters Hannah and Sophia Johnson.
Well the “Toy Hearts” are no more as the sisters now have solo projects and Hannah’s new band is the excellent “Hannah Johnson & The Broken Hearts”.
Hannah grew up in an incredibly musical home and was singing as soon as she could. But she began her artistic career working in theatre and television as a child, participating in an unabridged version of a midsummer night’s dream where she played Puck aged 11, working with the esteemed Philip Glass, being part of the central television actors workshop and acting in national children’s TV shows. She also initially studied clarinet, but switched to guitar in her teens as it became apparent she couldn’t use the clarinet to back up her vocals – she did a mean ‘Stranger on the Shore’ though! After dabbling with the acting world for a number of years, Hannah settled on singing as her chosen medium, as she felt had grown ‘tired of being someone else on stage’ and she craved a more authentic way to express herself, and the genre of country music with its humility, simplicity and ability face emotionally complex topics, became her artistic home.
Hannah spent almost 15 years leading her family band The Toy Hearts (who currently on hiatus while the front women scratch their itches to release solo records), touring extensively in the UK, Europe and the USA. Hannah’s composition The Captain remains the biggest hit for her family band, as a song that is a testament to both her songwriting and her fierce independence – nobody except Hannah is the captain of Hannah! She is an Alumni of the prestigious IBMA Leadership Bluegrass program and has previously worked representing British bluegrass music in both America and Europe.
The band are superb musicians and it will be great to welcome Hannah back to Grateful Fred's.
Support will be from a wonderful singer-songwriter:
Rachael Jean Harris
Derek King, of Liverpool Acoustic described Rachael thus…
“On hearing the first few acoustic chords from Rachael Jean Harris, her delicate and precise jazz-like progressions, you are at once transported back to Joni Mitchell’s mid-1970’s Hissing of Summer Lawns phase. But when you hear Harris’s soaring vocal it is evident that she is so much more than a Joni Mitchell mimic (though she would surely not deny her roots).
Her songs are beguiling and break all the rules it seems, the structures are hard to pin down and her vocal phrases meander captivatingly, constantly wandering where they seem really to have no right to go”.
Tickets at just £11 are available from: www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/hannah-johnson-broken-hearts/
Wednesday 7 February
Red Tail Ring
Red Tail Ring
Old time roots…new time sounds…
That’s how Red Tail Ring describe themselves.
Here’s how others describe them:
“Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp of Red Tail Ring create lush, intricate arrangements of original folk music and traditional ballads with banjo, fiddle, guitar, and close harmonies. “The very best of the 21st century’s minimalist and highly original folk music . . . a peerless duo.” – American Roots
Red Tail Ring will be over here in the UK to perform at the legendary “Celtic Connections” in Glasgow and Grateful Fred has been lucky enough to arrange for them to play for the “Fredheads” here at The Atkinson.
The Michigan-based band is fresh off their fourth full-length studio release, Fall Away Blues. Featuring new songwriting fused with old-time and country blues themes, the album tackles topical subjects such as gun violence and environmentalism as well as age-old questions of place and love. Red Tail Ring “doesn’t just pay homage to vintage folk and roots music: The Kalamazoo duo breathes new life into it, channeling the power and charm of seminal material into its own original songs.
Over seven years of touring, Red Tail Ring has performed their brand of acoustic roots all over the United States, and have travelled to play in Denmark, Germany and Sweden, and has also appeared at some of the most notable festivals and venues that the US has to offer, such as The Ark, Club Passim, Caffe Lena, the Indiana Fiddlers Gathering, Wheatland Music Festival, and Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival.
Support for Red Tail Ring will be from Leeds-based musician:
With a sound rooted in the haze of the English folk revival, Henry Parker takes up a style crafted by players such as Bert Jansch and Nick Drake in the 1960’s and early 70’s. His open tuned acoustic creates a sound that would fit the ‘Folk-Baroque’ label, a term used to describe those musicians who followed the path laid down by the great originator Davy Graham. His songs and tunes arrive either worked from his own hand, or are borrowed and developed from the traditional British folk cannon. Those that have seen him perform on a hollow-body electric guitar, understand the influence and impression that modern jazz has made on his music.
Tennessee Waltz is an acoustic country music duo from the Wirral playing an infectious mix of original, classic and contemporary rockers and thoughtful intimate ballads. With their trademark vocal harmonies Jimmy Rae (vocals and guitar) and Sarah-Lou Fletcher (vocals, mandolin and percussion) have delighted us at Grateful Freds on several occasions in recent months, both as a duo (Tennessee Waltz) and a trio (Jimmy Rae & the Moonshine Girls). Drawing on original material from Jimmy’s two well received albums to date, Tennessee Waltz are guaranteed to warm your heart and set your toes a-tapping.
Tickets at just £11 are available from: www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/red-tail-ring/
Wednesday 7 March
Two years ago we welcomed Bronwynne Brent to Grateful Fred’s at The Atkinson for the first time. She performed such a great show that night we asked her straight away to come back but it’s taken us this long to be able to secure a date!
Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, American roots song- writer BRONWYNNE BRENT has the kind of stop-in-your-tracks voice that sounds like Southern sunshine. Though her new album,STARDUST, was recorded in Seattle, it’s the kind of album that could only come out of the South.
There’s a hint of Delta blues behind the ache in her songs, a glimpse of honky-tonk twang, an echo of riverboat can-cans, a whiff of Morricone, and an atmosphere of the darker side of country songwriting. Harkening back to the glory days of Lee Hazlewood and Gram Parsons, Brent’s songs tap into the dark undercurrent of country that starts with old Appalachian murder ballads and continues to today’s current crop of psychedelic country songwriters.
Like a Juke Joint Nancy Sinatra, Bronwynne Brent unites all the best elements of Southern American roots music, and ties these many different influences into a sound that’s comforting and refreshing.
Supporting Bronwynne will be "Grateful Fred favourites":
Scaredycats, featuring one of Grateful Fred’s favourite songwriters, Jim Pearson, appeared early in 2017 and as they now have a brand new debut album on release we asked them to come back and play songs from the new album.
They are one of the most original bands playing around the North West and we’re sure you’ll love their new material.
Tickets at just £11 are available from: www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/bronwynne-brent/
Wednesday 4 April
After a blinding performance at Grateful Fred’s in 2016 and following sell-out appearances around Europe and the USA we are delighted to have managed to bring the brilliant Connla back.
Hailing from the cities of Armagh and Derry and are made up of Ciara McCafferty (vocals), Ciaran Carlin (Flute/Whistles) and Paul Starrett (Guitar) Emer Mallon (Harp) and Conor Mallon (Uilleann Pipes/Whistles).
Labelled as the Hottest New Group out of Northern Ireland, (Chicago Irish American News) Connla have been quickly making an impact on the folk/traditional scene.
Since the release of their EP in April 2015, and album “River Waiting” in July 2016 they have received fantastic reviews at home and internationally. They have already gathered a big following in the UK, Ireland, Europe and the USA.
Songlines magazine made Connla their “must-see act” for the tour of the UK and said “A band this young shouldn’t be this good”.
Their sensitive and innovative arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs and tunes, have helped them create a sound which is very identifiable as Connla.
To hear Connla in full flight is a sound and sight not to be missed.
Supporting Connla will be:
Two Black Sheep
Amy and Ian of “Two Black Sheep” played for us in 2017 with their wonderful 4 piece string quartet but this time they are playing as just themselves giving us the chance to hear the great songs in a stripped back style of acoustic guitar and violin.
Both Amy and Ian are gifted musicians and songwriters and in their “acoustic” pairing at Grateful Fred’s we’ll be able to enjoy their songs in the style they were first written.
Tickets at just £11 are available from: https://www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/connla/
Rachel Baiman and Molly Tuttle (The Goodbye Girls) will be co-headlining at Grateful Fred's where they will also join one another for their respective sets, making both sets a duo performance.
If you haven’t heard the music of Molly Tuttle, rest assured, you will love it. The newest artist to sign on to the prestigious Compass Records roster, she’s the first woman in the 27-year history of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards to be nominated for Guitar Player of the Year, the only instrumental category that had not yet nominated a woman. And, more importantly, she won!
Molly is blazing a trail Stateside and will be showcasing songs from her debut, solo EP, Rise. The seven-song collection relies on a rock-solid bluegrass foundation as Molly breaks free without breaking ties, singing and exploring what her six-string acoustic guitar can do.
Appearances at top-tier festivals including RockyGrass Festival and on programs such as A Prairie Home Companion have expanded her audience, along with almost nonstop touring. Press response has been glowing: a Flatpicking Guitar Magazine cover was followed by praise from The Bluegrass Situation, No Depression, American Songwriterand others. Mostly recently, she’s grinning somewhat slyly on Acoustic Guitar magazine’sApril 2017 cover.
Molly will be co-headlining with Rachel Baiman, who some Fredheads will remember playing previously at the Grateful Fred Cafe' Sessions in July 2016 as part of "10 String Symphony".
Rachel will be showcasing songs form her debut solo album, Shame,and now that her album has been released in the UK, the reviews have been pouring in.
Supporting Molly and Rachel will be:
Jenny and Calum, of Limerance, will be no strangers to Fredheads after they played a wonderful set in July of 2017 supporting The Danberrys.
Their mix of great, original songs combined with their beautiful, close harmonies made them one of the stand out new artists that have played at Grateful Fred's.
Luckily we managed to persuade them to come back and play for us again. Luckily because they are in such demand now throughout the UK that we would have missed out if we hadn't' asked then there and then to return.
If you didn't' see them last year then we can promise you that you will love them.
Tickets for this great night of music are just £11 from: www.theatkinson.co.uk/whats-on/regular-events/grateful-freds-at-the-atkinson/
Details any time soon!