Every Silver Lining, warbles Alison Krauss breathily, has to have a cloud. That must be true, but only the same truth that every lost fiver must have a finder, and somewhere, for every broken heart, there’s a tube of glue. Not being much for resolutions, at New Year or any other time, there must be a reason for me deciding to (always) look on the bright side of life.

I wonder what it is?

Be  welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…

The weather thwarted our live playing aspirations this week. Medically, you see, I have been diagnosed as a Wuss, so the thought of driving back over an hour from Hartlepool in freezing fog and getting home at what me Granny used to call “Yon Time”, made us stay indoors on the appointed evening. However we fully intend to get out and about as soon as possible; there y’go, the bright side again – what goes on I wonder?

However we did get up to Netherton Village Hall on Saturday night to play at Jack’s wonderful club. For those not in the know, not in the North East or not of this world; Netherton is a small village in upper Coquetdale, where it is beautiful (but not in the dark) and the concrete village hall hides a lovely wood clad chamber which is home to Jack Wilkinson’s Folk Club. The place has a wonderful ‘down home’ feel, accentuated by the lack of bar, so everyone brings a hamper. There are some great local musicians, however, the club also attracts artists of national and international renown, doubtless beguiled by the famous Wilkinson Twinkle. Honoured with an extended closing spot, FG delivered half an hour of the newer arrangements, to, it seems, general satisfaction. We left with an invitation to return, perchance on more formal arrangements. Excellent.

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We managed to get a practice in this week with our esteemed Nugget on bass, as we prepare for our guest night gig at The Croxdale Folk Club at The Daleside Arms Croxdale on the Tuesday 28th Feb.[1] It was nice to play with Steve again, and it’s a little sad that this gig will be the last of Trio formation for the immediate and foreseeable future. However the gig will be good, the choons rousing and harmonicified and we will go forward from the point as a new start. Blimey, there I go again – must get Carol to check and see if I have been sneaking more of the Positive Pills than the local Shaman prescribed.

In Stanley, we still have Shaman. Granted they wear ties and work out of the Health Centre[2], but the sick, halt and lame of Stanley don’t feel mended unless the blood of a virgin rat and some moonlight is involved. Prescription counters round here are more like an Offal House come Friday; careful you don’t slip on those entrails.

In between gigging and rehearsal, we turned our creative energies (such as they may be) to rehearsing new duo songs and arrangements of the old stuff – some quite different – and of course developing our new project…

…you know the old conundrum; which came first, the Chicken or the Egg. Well; apart from being obvious,[3] in this instance I refer to our Help for Heroes Charity CD project. Our People are talking to their People, and if they get a window, they’ll do a conference call, run a few ideas up the flagpole and see who salutes.

The problem is that we need to get permission to use their badging. To get the badging we need the artwork and to produce the art work I have in mind I need the badging. Chicken or egg?

Still no matter, we will work it out.

Lummee, more positivisim; this is getting serious.

So we decided to get down to some recording and try to get a representative sample of one of the songs down.[4] Upon the simple application of a bottle of electricity and with a sound like the Starship Enterprise booting up[5] the studio came to life, and we began.

The CD will contain three songs – our World War One trilogy, and we began with ‘Far Greater Thing’. Recording went as usual: down blind alleys, up cul-de sacs, and sometimes the wrong direction down a one way tune. However we ended up with something we are quite pleased with. We have been tarred with the label ‘Prog Folk’ – a label I like a lot – and maybe this recording nods to the direction I’d like to take our music (at least in the studio, but in some ways, live too). Sound FX, two guitars, one mandolin, one bass, one or two voices, two or three keyboard tracks, a nice story, and some great fun doing it. Is this the future for FG?

Hope so, ‘cos it’s great fun – and that’s why I’m on an up.

Onward and upward Mes Braves.

If you’d like to hear the results of our labours:


The story is of one of the unfortunates that did not make it back home, and that’s why we are doing the charity CD.

And so, as the virgin performer on the stage of destiny reaches a peak of nerves and the concert chairman reaches for the mop of fate, I notice it is the end of this blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] As plugs go, I’ll grant you, not subtle.

[2] ..and in our case is two foot six and falsetto – honestly, you feel better just looking at the guy.

[3] The Chicken came first or there could not have been an egg. Ah-ha! I hear you say; then where did that chicken come from? It came from the egg, obviously. Please do at least try to keep up.

[4] Ahhh; I begin to see where this is going. (hope so, I’m @&%$$£ writing it)

[5] Sit is the dark, slowly chant “whooooooooom” from low E up to Middle C while waving a joss stick round your cheeky bits. Sod all to do with the Starship Enterprise, but takes your mind off the pain.


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