We have had the pleasure of meeting Genevieve Tudor a few times now and, after kindly playing a couple of tracks from our new album ‘Sisters & Brothers’ on her Sunday Folk programme for BBC Radio Shropshire earlier in the year, and knowing we were in the region, she had generously invited us to join her for an interview and to play a couple of tracks live.
Chatting on the previous day’s drive up to Altrincham and knowing that we would be seeing Genevieve in the relatively early evening, Rob and I had mused on whether we might, therefore, be able to fit in a trip to the famous Raven Folk Club in Chester on our way back to Altrincham that evening. Working out the travel times, this indeed looked feasible and Rob contacted club organiser, Nick Mitchell, to ask if we might call in and Nick said the club would be delighted to have us come along to their singaround evening.
Free until 5.00pm, Rob and I decided to take the opportunity to work on a couple of the tunes that we were intending to perform at a music festival in Chongqing in China in late October. So, after breakfasting near the (magnificent) Altrincham Sunday food and craft market, we returned to the hotel to quietly tinkle and trill away in a Premier Inn bedroom for an hour or so, working out suitable tune arrangements.
Around midday, we set off towards Shrewsbury with a plan to find somewhere for a good Sunday lunch. And we found one too - at the Mainwaring Arms near Whitmore, just off the M6. So, ‘volunteering for that Captain Mainwaring’, we spent a relaxing 90 minutes over an excellent Sunday lunch that would set us up for the rest of the day.
Then, it was back in the car, a fuel stop in Market Drayton and on to Shrewsbury, where we arrived at the BBC Radio Shropshire studios in plenty of time for our 5.00pm appointment.
A few minutes before the allotted time, we rang the doorbell and were greeted by Genevieve herself. We then had a quick cuppa before going into the studio and recording live versions of The Sirens’ Call and The Black Widows. This was followed by a brief interview with Genevieve before bidding her goodbye. Many thanks to Genevieve for her enduring support for our music. This is greatly appreciated by us.
Being back on the road for 6.15pm meant that we were going to be able to drive the hour to Chester and be there in plenty of time for the 8.30pm opening of the Raven Folk Club. It was a pleasant cross-country drive, skirting Wrexham and finishing with finding a parking spot just inside the Roman walls of Chester and immediately outside The Bear and Billet pub which hosts the Raven Folk Club. Amazing.
Given the club’s start time, our early arrival afforded us the chance to have a wander around the glorious city centre of Chester, and glorious it is too. It seems there had been a major Pride event on there earlier in the day and, it’s fair to say, wandering around, there was evidence that perhaps drink had been taken. It must have been one hell of a party.
After an hour’s strolling, we made it back to the car and took the instruments we needed and made it up through the two flights of stairs to the top floor of the Bear and Billet, which is a wonderful pub throughout.
The club room was already busy with a buzz of expectation. The welcome for us was very warm from both the organisers Nick and Chris and from other musicians there to perform. By 8.30pm, the room was jam packed and I can report that the quality of the performances was extremely high throughout the evening. The Raven Folk Club is blessed with a great deal of talent.
Rob and I did a couple of numbers in the first half of the evening (The Sirens’ Call and The Black Widows) and, incredibly kindly, Nick then asked if we would do a further two numbers to finish the evening off, which we were delighted to do (performing the An Dro tune set and ending the evening with Sisters & Brothers). To be asked to finish the evening was a great honour and thanks to Nick, Chris, Dave and all at the Raven Folk Club for looking after us so well. We sincerely hope to make a return there one day.
Elated by a great day of music making, we then turned for our temporary base in Altrincham, which we reached shortly after midnight.