Coming into a very folky week

Last week was all about upcoming gigs, and this week is more of the same.
Once again I’m looking at a few smaller things happening. There are more than a few big events about to arrive, but I figure they can look after themselves.

Last week it was The Lonely Heartstring Band, a quintet from Boston coming to The Barrel Room on Wharf Street on Wednesday, January 31. They mark the start of a week that lovers of eclectic folk and other related music won’t want to miss. There are so many gigs piling up at the beginning of February that we are very much spoiled for choice.

Let me guide you through a busy time.

We’ll start with the free stuff. That Friday night (February 2), Josh Durning is playing guitar at Croucher Basecamp on The Strand. Croucher Basecamp used to be called Brew Craft Beer Pub and I assume has given up trying to get noticed amongst all the other bars with “Brew” or “Brewing” in their name. In these crafty beer times it’s hard to distinguish yourself.

Anyhoo, Josh plays at 5pm - an acoustic guitar and an instrumental mix of old country, blues and jazz.

He’s a helluva fine guitarist and well worth seeing.

And there’s another dose of music a couple of days later on Sunday, February 4 with two gigs. And, again, they’re free.

Get righteous
Still at Croucher Basecamp, The Self-Righteous Brothers are playing from 2-5pm. They comprise Derek Jacombs (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Nigel Masters (upright bass) from blues ’n’ roots outfit Kokomo and deliver a folk, blues, country mix from through the years including a bunch of reworked Kokomo songs.

From there you can easily wander around the corner because back at The Barrel Room at 6pm you’ll find a young man reputed to be “the UK’s Finest Clawhammer Banjo Player”. That must be about the year’s most obscure tag-line, but if you get online and check out the amazing Dan Walsh I think you might just consider – possibly for the first time ever – going to see a solo banjo player in concert.

Dan Walsh is a member of the award-winning Urban Folk Quartet; he’s played with Imelda May, Joss Stone and the Levellers, was nominated as BBC Folk Musician of The Year last year and he’s headlining the Auckland Folk Festival.

Dan’s new album – his fourth – is called Verging on the Perpendicular, and sees him touring in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and now New Zealand. His unique style, the heart of which is British, Irish and American folk music, is delivered with funky grooves and a dramatic take on clawhammer-style banjo. To get this for free calls for a big chorus of: “We don’t know how lucky we are, boys!”

Shed music
But if solo banjo ain’t your thing, something really exciting is happening later in the week at Rosie’s Shed in Te Puna – a genuine shed on an avocado orchard and a very pleasant place for a concert.

On Thursday, February 8, the remarkable Craig Denham is passing through town. Craig used to play keyboards, accordion and more with Beyondsemble, a dazzling Auckland outfit mixing folk, gypsy jazz and all sorts of musical styles. He’s currently living in Prague and is returning with a trio he calls Back Of Beyond.

Craig says of the band: “Some of you may know Nathan Torvic. He toured the North Island with Beyondsemble on mandolin. Nathan plays pretty much any instrument you can put in his hand. His partner Siobhan Sweeney is a fine singer and songwriter and she also plays guitar.”

Incidentally, if it’s of any help, he described the musical style as being “singer-songwriter to bluegrass to Balkan to Bollywood to accordion rap and beyond.”

I’m a big fan of Craig and, despite the vagueness about what these guys will actually play, I’d go and hear him pretty much anywhere. Specifically in this case, at 7pm in Rosie’s Shed at 205 Wairoa Road. There will be a licensed bar and admission is $20.

People can get in touch with Rosie to reserve seats on: 07 552 6291 or via:


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