Christchurch Folk Music Club
The Squirrelly Bills & Gary Elford
25th March 2018
Like the phoenix rising from the ashes this night shone with the changed billing. Due to unforeseen circumstances The Squirrelly Bills stepped up from their support act role and covere3d the first half of the night with Gary Elford taking over after the interval for the remainder of the night. The Squirrelly Bills, Abie Horrocks and Liam Mc Kenny are not new to the stage. They first appeared on the Folk Club stage at an open mic, have been support artists for the Tess White and Jonathan Le Cocq concert and part of a Finger Picking Delights night. They ventured out to the North Island last year performing at the Wellington Blue Grass Society in November 2017.
Their eclectic mix of tunes, ballads, Celtic and toe tappers with that true fundamental sound cultivated in the Appalachian region of the genre that has its foundations developed from years of traditional jamming from immigrants to the area. This was a true hour of entertainment which, offered diversity. Liam demonstrated his ability to master a range of stringed instruments, guitar, banjo and fiddle, as well as his ability to sing and remember words.
Abie made the banjo look effortless; her calm manner exuded confidence, even if she wasn’t. The only recommendation would be for Abie to sing closer to the mic, as sometimes we had to really concentrate to hear Abie’s singing, which was our loss as the harmonising between these two was beautiful to listen to. Set two after the break started with Gary Elford instantly engaging with the audience and generating laughter.
From this initial response to Gary’s infectious stage craft I knew we were in for a great night and we weren’t disappointed. Following a recent six week tour of the North Island Gary was well practiced and able to draw on this experience to offer us a very professional set. Gary explained that he had set himself the goal of performing only South Island crafted songs on the tour, something he ably achieved as we know there is a wealth of talent based on this island.
Songs by Vic McDonald and Martin Curtis were to the fore, and the sense that creativity reigns was super supported as Gary shared his own well written and dynamically executed poems, with the simple hat props Gary’s persona changed to add to the variety of the night. Yes, we laughed however there were also moments of true appreciation for Gary’s impressive recital skills as he accomplished the performance of ‘The Man from Snowy River’ and ‘The Man from Ironbark’ without falter.
Awe inspiring, thanks Gary. It is this professionalism that is without a doubt the reason why Gary has been asked to perform as a guest artist at the ‘Bards, Ballads & Bulldust’ at Naseby in May this year.
by Judi Smitheram, Secretary
The night opened with the returned to her home city after seven years proving her guitar and singing skills in the Wellington folk scene, was Monique Aiken Monique presented confidently bringing us her own songs eloquently crafted delivered with vocal...read more
A special concert to celebrate the important contribution that the women of folk have achieved. Music permeates our hearts carrying a strong message that has both challenged for change and acknowledged achievements to coincide with the Suffrage 125...read more
A cèilidh is a traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering, where dance and music is the binding factor. The dancers were certainly bound in joy for the dance and the Monday Night Session Band brought music that was dance-able and enjoyable. The delight...read more
What a night we shared at the Folk Club on Sunday! From the moment the first few bars hit the air the audience was captivated by The Muddy Mama Blues Band. Lead singer Judi Smitheram showed great form, revelling in the mighty musicianship of her five-piece...read more
Christchurch Folk Club attracted performers from Scotland, USA, those recently moved from the North Island and some well voiced locals brought colour and artistry to the stage. As always a great night of diversity and original talent. by Judi Smitheram...read more
A soft, acoustic approach for a night filled with the creativity of Matty's original songs to the fore and shining. There was contrast throughout the night. The night opened with the tones of the David Gray sound-alike Matty crooning his songs with a depth...read more
Back of Beyond generously gave a funky, folk, good fusion feel when they played at the Folk Club on Sunday 4th March 2018. With Craig Denham on accordion, piano, vocals and percussion, along with Nathan Torvik on guitar, vocals, bass and mandolin, and...read more
Tracy Kolenchuk has made a pictorial record of the Folk Club's 4oth Birthday, and it is shared here:...read more
An audience member commented that it was impossible to sit still with this fabulous music playing, they just had to stand up and dance. This summarises the night, music that offered toe tapping danceable grooves. Just back for a tour in USA the tight and...read more
I was pleased I went to Christchurch Folk Music Club on a cold Sunday night. 'Too Many Chiefs' are very good musicians. I enjoyed all their unique songs as each band member performed their own work. If you are like me and enjoy memorable lyrics go and see...read more
29 July 2018, A soft, acoustic approach for a night filled with the creativity of Matty's original songs to the fore and shining. There was contrast throughout the night. The night opened with the tones of the David Gray sound-alike Matty...read more
Christchurch's newest Celtic-Bluegrass Band, Bottlelake Junction wowed the audience with some awe inspiring music by three musicians individually accomplished and together they were dynamic. This trio emerged from the Canterbury Folk Festival...read more
18th February 2018, Fresh from a nomination for BBC Folk Awards Musician of the Year and off the back of the busiest world tour of a successful career, Dan Walsh returned for a third trip to New Zealand, and his third to the Folk Club, to...read more
We heard him here first on 21st January 2018. On his way to the Auckland Folk Festival Alan Reid from Scotland of Battlefield Battle claim, shared his wealth of experience with us in the beautiful Addington Haven. Nearly fifty years of...read more
Alistair Brown has been singing the old songs, and new songs written by people who like the old songs, since he was fifteen years old. He began his career helping out in the folk clubs of his native Scotland during the folk revival of the 60s,...read more
13 March, 2018 Joel features on the cover of the current ‘Hear Ye’, maybe not as prestigious as the cover of the “Rolling Stone” however a real kudos statement for our club. Joel certainly met the challenge with his performance on Sunday night....read more
A night when two Otago raised lads brought their well-founded and honed skills to a Christchurch stage, amidst a room filled with anticipation and a full audience. If there was expectation in the air for a fantastic night of entertainment,...read more
27th May 2018 The Port Hillbillies concert marked the end of a joyous union of four talents that met majorly through Christchurch Folk Club connections. Kris Brown on guitar has taken the opportunity of a ‘dream job’ and will be returning to...read more
22nd April 2018 A night where the music soared with eagles wafted on the up draughts of some great music generated by a flock of Ferris family and or Ferris family friends. The evening promised and delivered a show with lots of variety, colour,...read more
June 2018 There is an interwoven thread of connections between Adam McGrath and the Christchurch Folk Club spanning many years. He has previously performed at both the Folk Club and the Canterbury Folk Festival, and we hope to have him or The...read more