ROBERT VINCENT Is playing at Saint Mary’s in Billericay High Street on Saturday 14 May.  At the 2016 UK Americana Awards, Robert won the Bob Harris emerging artist award – and is sure to have a great future ahead of him.  Robert played in my garden in 2014 – when no-one had heard of him!!  A cracking up and coming local band, The 45’s,  who play a mixture of classic funk/soul and pop will be in support (don’t be put off by the fact that Ben and Annabel (along with Ben and Gary) play in this – they are very good!).  Tickets are available from ‘we got tickets’ and links can be found here This gig is attracting a lot of interest from across Essex/London so be sure not to miss out by leaving it too late. Proceeds from this gig will be shared between Saint Mary’s and Communitas Care (working in Uganda).

ROOTS AND FOLK MINI FEST This is a development of my annual ‘Gig in the Garden’ and takes place on Saturday 25 June.  I have three fantastic acts in store as we welcome back the equally fabulous Tinderbox and Rob Halligan and introduce my new colleague Dan Pierce.  Tickets are priced at a very competitive adults £8 (gate £10) 13-17 yrs £4 (gate £5) & under 12’s free!   I have an upper limit of 200 and so if you are planning to come along be sure to book your tickets ASAP – and save a couple of pounds in the meantime. More details can be found here

BRENTWOOD FESTIVAL Takes place from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 July.  Not sure if any of you have attended this in the past – we have and had a great time, thoroughly enjoyed The Human League last year! I remember when it was a beer festival with music and now it’s a music festival with beer!  This year has a 1980’s feel with Level 42, The Boomtown Rats, ABC and Tony Hadley amongst many others.  We’ve got our tickets for the Sunday and we’d love to share our dancing space with you!  More details can be found here

BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST Or at least the John Lees version are playing at the Cadogan Hall on 11 November.  I’ve got my tickets and one to cross off from my bucket list!

DEACON BLUE are playing the Royal Festival Hall on 16 November.  Still waiting to hear if Ricky Ross will play in Billericay.

NEW MUSIC Like many of you, I’m always interested in what’s new and I have a few recommendations for you:

  • Paul Carrack: Soul Shadows. I’ve had this one a while, but a 2016 release.  PC never disappoints with his take on soul, rock and blues.  A few standouts on this.
  • Bonnie Raitt: Dig In Deep. Another one I’ve had for a while but the recognisable sound of Bonnie still continues to deliver.
  • The Boxer Rebellion: Ocean by Ocean. This under the radar indie band (with Billericay’s own Piers Hewitt on drums) have just released their fifth album (sixth if you include the Live in Tennessee) to much critical acclaim.  If you like The National you’ll enjoy this.
  • Charles Kelley: The Driver. One third of Lady Antebellum has released his first solo album.  Great voice and some great songs.
  • Mavis Staples, Livin’ On A High Note. What can you say about this living legend?  Written and produced by Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and another classic.  Be sure to watch Mavis! On Sky Arts (SkyGo catch up) if you’ve not seen it yet.  This is the first feature documentary on Mavis and her family group, The Staple Singers with some wonderful sound bites from her contemporaries.

Don’t forget that we have a couple of excellent Blues Clubs in Billericay the New Crawdaddy Blues Club who are based at Billericay Town Football Club and meet on Friday evenings and Blues at the Farm who meet on Saturdays at 2.00 pm at Barleylands Social Club.  They both have some excellent acts appearing and it’s worth keeping an eye on their websites or signing up for their emails.

Do let me know of any gigs in your part of the world that might be of some interest and please pass on this email to anyone you know who might be interested.

Be blessed and keep on keeping music live!