LAUREN HOUSLEY & BAND  I did say this would be one of the best gigs I will have promoted in Billericay and, judging by the many positive responses I received, I was proved to be right.  Lauren and the band thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the venue and the audience and they said it was the best they’d performed together as a band.  I saw them at the Brooklyn Bowl as part of the Bluesfest and they were brilliant there too.  The Brooklyn Bowl is a night club, and many people were talking as they were playing, however, everyone stopped when Lauren began singing Jolene and for the rest of the set, they had the crowd on their side.  I’m sure you’ve picked up from Lauren’s website that a new album is being released in February 2017. Many of you have been asking if I can book them again in 2017, I’m sure I can, but we’d need to use Emmanuel this time for the number of people who’d be interested or we’ll have to say no to some disappointed punters once we sell out Saint Marys – it’s such a great venue.

THE LAKE POETS We had an excellent House Gig with Marty Longstaff on 1 November – the 25 plus present thought so too.  He has a great voice and a rare song writing talent.  It was good to hear the stories behind the songs: “Some people get angry or sulk, I just write songs!”  I’m sure we’ll have him back. The fact that he is a Mackem and sings about my home town was a bonus.

EMILY MAGUIRE Makes a welcome return to Emmanuel on Saturday 3 December 2016 along with Christian Dunham (Bass Player extraordinaire and husband). Emily has always been warmly received when she’s played here in the past and is one our favourite artists – we’re guaranteed another outstanding evening!  Support will be a friend of mine, Chris Hutton, who is making a name for himself on the Essex acoustic scene.  Tickets can be purchased direct from WeGotTickets and more information can be found here

GIG SURVEY Thank you to the 31 of you, thus far, who have completed the survey seeking feedback about the gigs we’ve put on in recent years.  Comments have been really positive, but would love to have a few more people taking part, before I close the survey at the end of November.

ABC: The Lexicons of Love I and II Live I went to see ABC in concert a couple of weeks ago at the Royal Festival Hall.  You can read my review here

A REQUEST Does anyone have a CD or an MP3 copy of an album called ‘The Swallow’ by Keith James, first released in 1983?  I have this on cassette (remember those?) but don’t really have the equipment to play it nowadays and it’s a great album.  I’m not having any joy trying to locate this online!

WHAT AM I LISTENING TO? Like many of you, I’m always interested in what’s new and I have a few recommendations for you:

  • Elvis Presley and the Royal Philharmonic: The Wonder Of You.  Should I admit to this?  Some great songs with wonderful arrangements and Elvis is in fine voice.  A guilty pleasure.
  • Jack Savoretti: Sleep No More. The fifth album from from the poet turned folk star who writes brooding, passionate and bittersweet love songs. Written in Scars was one of my albums of 2015.
  • Field Music: Commontime. Another Mackem band with an interesting techno mix of funk and soul.  A cert for a Mercury Prize nomination, in my view!
  • Swing Out Sister: It’s Better To Travel & Kaleidoscope World.  Digging back into my 1980’s vibe – cutting edge at the time and songs that haven’t aged too much over the years.

FATEA MAGAZINE I’m not sure how many of you have heard of this magazine who are an indie magazine featuring music right across the acoustic spectrum.  They produce a quarterly Fatea Showcase Sessions featuring acts they’ve really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear. Click Here to get the latest session free

Other events which might be of interest to some of you …

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY Takes place this coming weekend on 13 November and we have a couple of events that might be of interest to those of you who live local to  Billericay.  at 9.15 we have a 40 min Act of Worship at Emmanuel, where Dan will be singing his song ‘Over and Over’ (remember that one about a Durham miner going to the Somme?) followed by an Act of Remembrance in the High Street at 10.50 am.  More information here Look out for my talk which will be on-line sometime on Sunday afternoon.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD We have a busy weekend coming up when we put together all the items collected for the shoeboxes on the morning of Saturday 19 November and have a Shoebox celebration service at 10.30 am on Sunday 20 November.  Thank you to those of you who have collected items already.  More information here

CHRISTMAS AT EMMANUEL Yes, I know it’s early but knowing what is coming up will enable you to put the dates in your diary.  More information here

PURPLE COMMUNITY FUND Emmanuel have been involved with the Purple Community Fund for a few years helping to support the most marginalised members of the community in the UK and Asia through training, education and social enterprise programmes and we’ve been collecting Ring Pulls from cans to send to them.  This is such a simple idea yet makes such a difference.  Can you help?  More information here

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 (The excellent Kyla Brox is playing here on 25 November) and Blues at Barleyland who meet on Saturdays at 2.00 pm at Barleylands Social Club (Bad Influence are playing on 19 November).  The Little Rabbit Barn in Colchester is also worth checking out!  They all have some excellent acts appearing and it’s worth keeping an eye on their websites or signing up for their emails.  There are also a number of Folk Clubs around Essex which are well worth a visit, too.

There are a few special events coming up at Emmanuel church, Billericay and you can find out more on our Church Family News Page

Do let me know of any gigs in your part of the world that might be of some interest.

Keep on keeping music live!