Our first outing of 2020 saw MC Jonathan Klein preside over an evening of variety and quality. He commenced proceedings with Buddy Holley’s “Everyday” and then performed one of his own songs, the brilliant “Even When the Moon is New”. He finished his set with “Beautiful Zelda” by the recently departed Neil Innes before introducing Peter Makin to the audience. Peter sang “Fields of Athenry” by Peter St John, Sting’s “Fields of Gold” and Dylan’s “Times They Are a-Changin’”.

Next up were The Mary Parry Trio. Mary & Tony Parry and Joe Gillespie on lap steel guitar performed “Sing To Me” by Molly Ventor, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams and “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair” a late-1920’s blues song written by George Brooks and made famous by Bessie Smith.

Rachel Keeler sang her first song a-capella; “Jenny of Oldstones” was written by the songwriting team of Ramin Djawadi, George Raymond, Richard Martin, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, recorded by Florence and the Machine and featured in the TV series “Game of Thrones”. Her next song featured Jim Brown on guitar; “Love at the Five and Dime” by Nanci Griffith. Then Jim switched to banjo to accompany Rachel on the traditional “Wildwood Flower”.

Robbie Jessep brought along his Brook guitar and played “She Moved Through The Fair” and then two of his own tunes; “Sunrise Over Easterbrook” and “Sunday Morning in January”. He finished his set with his instrumental version of “Fields of Gold”.

After the break and raffle we had our featured artist: And we were in for a real treat! Damian Clarke is a well loved and established solo performer and he has team up with Cliff Easterbrook, a.k.a. ‘The Travelling Talesman’ and former member of ‘The Morrigan”. The duo is called “Humstrung” and they offer something quite original but based firmly in the tradition of folk. They played “The Outlandish Knight”, with Damian on Hurdy Gurdy and Cliff on his custom ‘Kif Wood’ bass, shaped like some ancient Eastern instrument! “She Walks In Beauty” is based on a poem by Byron and put to music by Damian and again featured Hurdy Gurdy and Bass. “Ach Bitte Winter”, sang in Bavarian (!) had Cliff on Table-top Harp and “The Parlour Dance” featured two Hammered Dulcimers! Their final number was the traditional “Bring Us In The Good Ale” with Cliff on Bodhran then Bass. Fab!

Nomad’ took on the difficult task of following ‘Humstrung’. Al Slipper (guitar), Heather Slipper (fiddle) and Jim Brown (banjo) performed Kate Wolf’s “The Great Divide” and then joined by Steve West on “Roseville Fair” by Bill Staines and “Tear My Still House Down”, a traditional bluegrass song.

Jon Ellis performed a selection of Irish tunes on his tin whistle with some of the musicians joining in.

And finally, to finish the evening, ‘The Hobos’. Aforementioned Al, Heather, Jim and Steve performed Sean McCarthy’s “Step It Out Mary”, “Carolina Star” by Tony Rice and “Smuggler’s Road” written by local legends Rod Sones and Steve Adams.

Next time at the White Hart, Wednesday 5th February, another ‘Open Floor”.

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