Edge Journal 2006.
is our complete road journal for 2006. We had a fantastic year playing
53 gigs all over our regular stomping ground of North Lancashire
and Cumbria. We made big inroads on recording and producing our
up and coming album Borrowdale Johnny.
On The Lake: 28th December. A spirited last gig of 2006
led to a memorable finish to the year's operations: Lisa and Bernard's
wedding crowd were well up for the dancing, the songs and the crack:Another
cracking night in this most intimate of our regular Lakeland venues.
Newlands Adventure Centre: 27th December.
This wet and cold winter night saw
us winding up the remote Northern valley of Newlands to arrive at
the thankfully warm and cozy adventure centre for Ben and Jen's
wedding. A sprightly crowd set the 'ballroom' alight with some top
dancing, especially Vanessa who was reeling most of the night! I
suspect we'll see more of this crowd at some point...
Ulverston: Furness Traditions Christmas
Party: 21st December.We played a headline spot at this
wondefully festive night celebrating the rich diversity of folk
music in the Furness Peninsula: Choirs, duos, brass bands, mummers
players, and the Furness Tradtions youth band, all leading to a
colourful bill. Were really enjoyed getting the crowd going with
a totally acoustic, unplugged set where we could draw out all the
subtlety of our music: Brass breaks, bowed double bass, big vocal
harmonys. A really satisfying night to be a part of! For more info.
on Furness Traditions, click
Glenridding: Inn On The Lake: 9th December.
'Limbered up' after the Eskdale experience the night before (see
below) we turn in a relaxed, spirited performance for Nick and Amy's
wedding party at The Inn On The Lake. This is always another intimate
ceilidh with a small crowd, a great little dance floor, and plenty
of mixture to the night with the band throwing in Lakeland clog
dancing, Irish folk-rock and Lakeland ballads as well as the ceilidh
dances. Thanks, Nick and Amy, have a fun time in New York!
Eskdale Gatehouse: 8th December.
We return to this fabulous West Lakes venue to play a Christmas
party ceilidh for the staff of the resident Outward Bound Centre.
The Gatehouse is a classic country house with a beautifully wooden-pannelled
library where we play. Next door is an awesome stained-glass window
of the Lakeland pioneer climber Hereford, sadly lost in Word War
One. As ever, a very lively, rowdy, traditional Lakeland ceilidh
with plenty of post-gig shenanigans especially as the whole band
were staying over. Rick woke the whole band up at 4 a.m. in the
morning with a raucous rendition 'Rudolf The Red-nosed Reindeer'
on his Ukulele with a bunch of revelers returning from the party
to the accommodation block.. Several of these started drunkenly
hammering on our bedroom door. Eventually Rick came to bed (5 a.m.)
but then kept all the girls awake with his rapturous snoring.
Bless him the mad party animal he is!
Netherwood Hotel: 2nd
December was a humdinger of a ceilidh. Not often
do wedding gigs begin with the bride and groom doing a 50's rock
n' roll dance routine but so it began with Mathew and Angela, and
their night proceeded in the same vein: A full-on bunch of dancers
firing up the full-on band and everyone going for broke: One super
dance night. I was so hyped up I couldn't get to sleep that morning
buzzing about this gig, and had to drink a 'little' red wine to
get at all sleepy! Top marks to Rickster for wearing a full suit
to this gig: definitely man of the match!
School: Bentham: 25th November is
somewhat of a misnomer! One would expect Sedbergh School to actually
be in Sedbergh, not in BENTHAM!
Well, silly old Edge, the first time we played this now annual gig,
the band drove to Sedbergh, found that we were
actually in the wrong town and so hot-tailed it South to Bentham,
amazingly to finish our set-up and sound check just as
the first audience members started trickling through the doors!
Now on our third visit, immune to such ruxions of time and space,
things worked like clockwork; the great crowd of kids dancing with
mums and dads, and a set of dances perfectly tailored by us to suit,
the smashing and copious ammounts of food, the ever so energetic
atmosphere. A great school ceilidh!
Theatre By The Lake: Keswick: 19th November.
Despite the truly appalling weather, this proved to be an excellent
little concert with a warm and appreciative crowd. As we play so
many dance nights, it was a welcome change to play a concert to
a seated audience and play our Lakeland-roots based material in
a 'listening' context. This meant we could showcase some of the
subtler material from our forthcoming album Borrowdale Johnny, including
the big brooding ballad 'Beggar Boy of the North'. Great to see
our good friend Dave Camlin turn in a blinding set, too: Especially
his classic song 'Bells of Nemo'. Haunting stuff! Our biggest thanks
go to all the staff of the Theatre By The Lake who worked so hard
to make this such a successful show.The stage crew were simply teriffic!
Read the gig promo here
Camlin writes: Hi Mike,Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed
myself last night as well – great to see Striding Edge
again – lovely sound! You’re a very tight little
unit these days – everyone lending their own uniqueness
to the overall blend. Really nice to hear some of the Abbeytown
manuscript live! Would love to do more with you – nice
to have a Cumbrian bill! Dave
'Edge returned to Cumberland to Great Salkled
Village Hall: November 18th. Bev and Nick's wedding was
a full tilt dance night, set alight by charachters like Rachel from
The South, apparently starved of folk music in their native locality,
and all to keen to engage with the up-for-it Northern dance vibe.
We delivered this in full measure, and the crowd responded in kind,
and the dancing wound up to a fever pitch. As I predicted at the
beginning of the night, the sweat ran from the walls of this little
hall as the dancers kept pace with the fastest 'Road To Alston'
we've ever played. Wey! Hey! We loved this night, yes indeed.
It was our great pleasure to have Juliette Hext once again guesting
on drums for this gig: gutsy blues singer but also a cool drummer.
With Juliette on board, I call this 'girl power' version of Striding
Edge, especially as the closer we get to the border, the fierier
Carolyn's border pipe playing gets!
host Beverley writes: Mike and all - Just to
say a big thank you for a fantastic night. My guests were
danced off their feet and we all really enjoyed it. Cheers!
November got off to a cracking start with a brilliantly
lively gig up on the North Pennine moors: Acorn Bank, Temple
Sowerby, November 4th. Angus (Cumbria) and Corrinne (Nashville)
are young Fine Art students in London, smitten by young love and
the mad desire to marry...'ahhhh, young love!'. The totally up-for-the-dancing
crowd of fellow arts students were are joy to play to, and flung
themselves ragged around the dance floor to Striding Edge at our
roots-rockiest. Made me feel oh such a little nostalgic for the
heady times when I was a fine art student myself. Their were many
mad sights at this ceilidh; Tennessee dance 'steppers' sparring
with students on the dance floor, and local crag-rat Ian almost
bringing the night to a premature halt by swinging madly around
the main tent pole of the marquee mid-dance, and in doing so pulling
it temporarily from it's socket! Tut! tut! trust a Cumbrian crag-rat
to lower the tone! We loved this mad, crazy night, oh
has been a classic month for Striding
Edge, playing a great round of the NW region's village and civic
halls to a variety of social groups, all of whoum share a passion
for dancing, good food and good beer! I'll talk you through the
28th October: Worden Park Arts Centre, Leyland
saw us return to this cozy Lancashire venue to play for Penny's
birthday party, and a big gathering of friends and familly from
all over the country. A smashing crowd who were all well up for
the dancing made this ceilidh a memorable way of rounding off the
month's gigs. Happy birthday, Penny! Hers sister Katherine writes:
Thank you for making
it such a great night. Gutted I didn’t have more chance
to join in with the dancing. Everyone has been saying how
much fun they had. My 6 year old made a special card for her
Grandma and wrote “Can we do wot we did agin next year”.
Please pass our thanks to all the band. Hope
you had all had a good trip back up to Cumbria.
Best wishes, Katherine
22nd October: Portinscale Village Hall
is one of our regular gigs, playing for the Keswick Marina
crowd: all hard-core sailors, so we had to open our set with our
sea-shanty 'Mary Ann Mandall', about the last ship that was built
on the Ulverston ship canal in 1862. There followed a rip-roaring
night of simply wild ceilidh dancing to this warm and friendly crowd
of people, many of whoum seem like old friends after the three sucessive
years that we have played this gig. We've already pencilled in a
date for a return booking in 2007!
20th October: Aughton Village Hall. Another
delightfull gig at the small Lancashire hamlet of Aughton: Surely
one of the most difficult places to find in the North Of England,
as the whole of the area North East of Lancaster is a complex mass
of narrow lanes and unsignposted crossroads...nevertherless, well
worth the adventure: The band assembled and played for a great,
enthusiastic crowd who packed the floor for every dance. Our thanks
go to Geoff Wren, for making such a classic rural village event
happen. Geoff flattered us at the end of the night by calling us
"the Best Band in the North Of England", but after such
a great night I could almost believe this myself! Maybe "best
kept secret of the North", just like the venue...took me a
disproportionate ammount of time to get home, once more getting
lost and confused in that mass of untitled lanes leading north..there's
a philosophic Northern ballad to be wirtten about that, for sure!
14th October: Aldingham Village Hall.
I sneakilly like doing gigs this close to my house as I can also
make full use of my Saturdays! It being a lovely day, I spent it
in Langdale climbing Lakeland Rock, (including the classic Langdale
extreme, 'Man of Straw', for you rock-jocks out there) so I got
to the gig with slightly aching shoulders but enthusiasm notheless
undimmed! For Tammy and John's wedding we were joined once again
by Juliet Hext on drums. Juliet is a hell of a blues singer but
also great on the skins; very nice to have her on board again. A
good, steady, heady ceilidh which saw the steam rise off many a
mad square set or two. Rickster stayed over at mine and we drank
a dram of Laphroaig which was a very pleasant way of rounding off
a long vaired and satisfying day!
8th October: Great Strickland Village Hall.
This great gig saw us return to the wide, stark sweeping moorlands
of Shap which always seems like some kind of spiritual home for
our music: Especially when in synchronicity with such a kicking
crowd as for this gig. A roasting hog, a whole village baabies
to grans dancing, Edge on full throttle. Grin-inducing!
6th October: Edge headlined the CAMERA
beer Festival at Whitehaven Civic Hall: This was a
great opportunity to play three good long sets of material sweeping
over the full scope of our music, and due to the nature of the event
and the crowd, as Ben would say, we were given the unspoken 'permission
to ROCK'. This night was slightly blighted
by Ben and Rick's epic breakdown shenanigans; completisits can read
all about that on Rickster's blog on our MY
space page and check out some new tracks at the same time!
5th October: I was at Chetwynde
School in Barrow: 'calling' a ceilidh for about 30 German
exchange students and local pupils, while the school ceilidh band
played their first ever ceilidh; a steep learning curve for them,
but under my direction they held down the grooves well and a hoofing
great nights frenetic dancing was had by all!
here we are in September. As Ben said 'here we are, signing up for
the new term'!
23rd September: Priest Hutton Village Hall:
A large, lofty but nevertheless very tonefull hall and not too far
for any of us to travel! Must play here again! Playing for Sue and
Andy's 25th Wedding Anniversary was great fun. So many dancers on
the floor having such a cracking time with a succession of our most
up tempo dances. (Now that's fast!!!!)
See you again, you guys, we hope!! Sue writes:
Just to say a big thank you for such a rip roaring time you
and the band provided at our 'do' last Saturday. We have been
overwhelmed by the positive comments made by our friends who
attended the evening. A number of people wanted to know more
about the band, so there may be some more bookings for you!!!
All the best, Sue Wilcock
The Merewood Hotel in Windermere, 16th September
saw a one-off GUUURL POWER version of Striding Edge featuring
Juliet Hext on drums and Jeannie Sutherland on fiddle. A brilliant
crew to play the night with. Thanks Juliet and Jeannie for helping
us out and taking the crowd by storm. Keira and Andrew wrote to
Mike and the Band,
Andrew and I would just like to thank you for such a fantastic
evening at the Merewood Hotel on the 16th September. We really
enjoyed the ceilidh and we really really enjoyed seeing so many
people up dancing, especially the ones that never do. Everyone
keeps saying how much fun they had.
Thank you again,
Keira and Andrew Booth
Otley: 9th September. By 'Eck,
some years since we've played in Otley,(or should I say Otleh!)
Good to be back up on the gristone wilds of the Chevin playing to
a wonerfully well oiled crowd of dancers which posed a couple challenging
moments for our dance-callers, but non the less fun for all that!
Fylde Folk Festival: 1st September
September 1st saw us storm Fylde Folk Festival
with a couple of blistering gigs: Our concert set in the afternoon
saw us showcase material from the forthcoming Borrowdale
Johnny album to a full house and warm reception. Great
to meet Clive Pownceby, the compere,
again, and hear that all's well at The Bothy Folk Club
in Southport. We'd love to do a gig for you sometime, Clive!
In the evening, it was our great pleasure to headline
the ceilidh with old friend and folk ledgend Pete Coe
doing the calling. A real honour to play with Pete on this night,
as this exact weekend was his 35th anniversary
as a pro. musician: In that time he has given us about as fine an
example as one can have of an a singer/songwriter/dance player/dance
caller, championing Northern styles. A simply stunning performer:
I cant wait for the re-releases of Pete's first two solo albums
in the autumn, which are absolute classics: see our links page for
a link to Pete's site.
the hectic pace of July, August was generally a time to relax, unwind
and eat snails in the South of France. However, the last week of the
month saw us kick-started into life with a frenetic spurt of action
towards completing our epic folky concept album Borrowdale
Johnny. Days were spent at Supertonic Studio in Morecambe
obsessing over the final mixes with 'Red-eye Rickster', our indefatigable
producer and bassist, putting in sterling effort. Whilst over in Barrow-In-Furness
Steve Wharton, our man on visuals, was putting all the artwork together:
Grand, dark and toweringly powerfull it looks, too, at this stage.
We can't wait 'till it's relese this autumn...Yes, well keep you posted:
keep checking the index page for news.
was a very busy month for us on the road, and a
really enjoyable and varied one it was too.
Highlights were many: Playing at Cleator
Moor Civic Hall on July 6th was a blast. This was a gig
for the children of St. Patrick's School in Cleator
Moor, where Mike had been working for a year as artist in residence,
along with Ulverstonians Les Ord and Debbie Kermode and Steve Wharton
on visuals. This night saw some blinding performances by the children
playing traditional instruments, clog-dancing, singing, acting in
mummers plays and much more:Striding Edge acted as the 'house band'
and the final song 'Prickle Eye Bush' saw the front of the stage
practically besieged by a wild mass of children singing this anthem
for release from imprisonment and oppression: I suppose that sums
up life in school under the SATS regime at present. Thanks kids,
you were brilliant. What an uplifting end to the year, great to
see Cleator Moor come alive with the tradition once more...
Another great gig was playing for Mike's old art
teacher Sheila Fell out 'in the sticks' at Whinfell North
of Kendal near Shap. What a combination for a Ceilidh: remote Lakeland
barn with super sprung wooden floor: dim lights : 'up for it' crowd:
and 'Edge going full steam ahead. Whoooah! this is what Edge were
Lancaster University was one that
tested our versatility to the full: A small international crowd
who we shared with Crook Morris. Eventually we abandoned our stage
and ended up strumming acoustically in the middle of the floor while
the dancers circled us.
A new venue to us was Tully House
in Carlisle: A great wedding for a smashing Canadian
crowd who really got into the ceildih groove. Similarly satisfying
gigs at Longridge, Cockermouth , Watermillock and Muncaster completed
a very enjoyable month.
been really busy on the road this past few months, and loving these
summer gigs..bring 'em on...!
We were really looking forward to Friday
23rd/Saturday 24th June: Friday saw delicious weather and
a blinding azure sky, playing for Helen and Martin's wedding up
in Borrowdale. Some more hectic dance floor action (grass floor,
actually) Marquees at this time of year with the sides rolled up
spells MIDGES and I was delighted to discover that
bottle of Jungle formula lurking at the
bottom of my kit bag from last year! We focused on new dance numbers
on this gig, which was good practice for Dent Folk Festival
the following night: Apprehensive as we were about following the
Peatbog Faries, this gig caught light from the moment we started
playing and a huge crowd were filling the dance floor for every
number. A greatly thrilling late night ceilidh: do hope we can play
this one again! Thanks, Alex.
Friday 16th/Saturday 17th had an
international flavour, both involving a rousing reception from Dutch
crowds! Funny co-incidence, that! On the Friday, we
played in Arkenholme Village Hall near Lancaster: an international
event involving all nations at some time or other mingling on the
ceilidh dance floor. Especially the Dutch!! The
big burly macho South African rugby player guys weren't so enamoured..and
so to Saturday to Glenridding for Harald (Dutch!) and Nicola's (English!)
wedding..More Dutch on the dance floor stripping the willow, galloping
and grooving like old hands in no time. Lovely, lovely crowd, thanks
Nikki and Harald. When are we doing our tour of Holland??
Wow, Grasmere village hall was a blast on the 20th
May, fabulous crowd who danced full tilt for the 2.5 hours
we were on stage: Great to play for such a big dance crazy crowd
in central Lakeland's finest ceilidh house: the very fine Grasmere
village Hall. Cheers to Lucy and all the gang who made this a memorable
night. Just the kind of night Striding Edge band was invented for!
The following Saturday (after our Whit break) 10th
June followed on in a similar vein:Coniston Village Hall
and another tremendous no-holds-barred night for Lotty and Steve's
wedding. Very hot and sultry but that didn't put any one off dancing
to the max.
We plowed on with more recording this month for
our epic second album: More sessions in Rick's recording studio
in sunny Morecambe. (That is, once we'd cleaned the cat poo out
of the studio sink: Don't ask!) This album is brewing up incredibly
well, we're really delighted with what we're hearing' hope we can
get it out by the early autumn. We'll keep
you posted, hopefully put up some sample MP3s for it, and obviously
let you know when you can order.
March saw a flurry of gigs around Furness area.
First up was Kath Irwin's amazing birthday party at Barrow
Football Club on the 11th. This was a fantastic night of
all round live entertainment. We weren't sure quite how to follow
the sheer excellence of singer-songwriter Jim Woodland, so we just
played like the clappers and a healthy crowd got up and threw themselves
ragged around the dance floor for nearly two hours: This was great,
great gig: much as we like doing ceilidhs, it's really good to sometimes
just let the music just go and flow and let the crowd do their crazy
thing ...Thanks, Kath, great night, glad you love our music so much.
Husband Dave was lavish in his extravagance for his wife's birthday,
so much so that he scorched, yes scorched a big black patch in the
football pitch with a bunch of fireworks that he let off in the
middle..tut, tut! This was also a great fun night, 'cos we played
with an 'extended family' of players who included Danny Fox on jembe,
Wal and Young Scotty (Carolyn's fiddle apprentice) on fiddles: a
mighty sound indeed!
Bardsea Mill on the 18th was packed
to the gunnels with dance enthusiasts, the second set especially
really motored. Nice to strut our stuff with Paddy on bass on this
occasion: long time, no see, Paddy! Barrow Cricket Club
on the 24th turned into more of a concert than a ceilidh, giving
us a chance to play a good long set of upbeat songs. Very well received
Off to the Inn On The Lake on the
25th for a ceilidh crowd of incredible zest and
energy: Wow, what a bunch of dancers who shook the house and danced
like their lives depended on it, and hollered and shouted themselves
hoarse for more at the end of the night. Our kinda bunch!!!
A series of cracking village hall gigs followed:
Glenridding on the 1st, Ennerdale Kirkland
on the 8th, and Greenod on the 22nd. We love village
halls: great spaces that are perfect (designed for?) ceilidhs: the
great unsung venues of England!
Back to The Cragwood, Windermere,
on the 29th: Nice, warm, friendly gig: good way to end the month.
uplifting start to this year's gigging, with our now customary January
Burns nights in Lancaster: both Lancaster Town Hall (for Lancaster
Hospice) and the Grammar school were packed-out, cooking gigs, great
to see so many people back to start the year with some of the longest
strip-the-willow sets we have ever seen!
The Eden Fell runners hosted us once more in Askham
Village Hall, Ullswater for another fine night of firey traditional
Lakeland dancing in which the sweat customarily drips of the walls
(They're a fit bunch those hardy people of the northern Fells!)
A great support slot from The Zubes: Pete Leeson and the boys: Our
thanks to them and all the lovely runners of Eden.
Sooo many good gigs to look froward to this year:
Phew! phone and e-mail lines have been hot this last few weeks!
Thanks for everyone whose contacted us and booked us, we're looking
forward to lighting up the night with your crowd and some passionate
dancing wherever the road takes us.
We're off all over't North: Heswall, Otley, Longridge,
Carlisle, and our traditional bastion of the central Lakleand gigs.
Our Vauxhall Astras are oiled up and ready!
PUBLIC GIGS: exciting news, we're
playing the late night ceilidh at Dent Folk festival this year on
June 24th: Always a brilliant festival with a top crowd.
September 2nd we're playing at Fylde Folk Festival,
and our old mate and Northern Folk one man institution Pete Coe
is 'calling' for us, which will be a great experience. Always absolutely
loved Pete's songs/dances/dance playing. He's the boss!