HOUSE GIG: CHORLTON COUNTRY CLUB We had a simply fabulous intimate gig in a packed Rectory with Lauren, Tom and Mark on Friday 8 March – one of the best yet. As always, CCC played a selection of traditional and contemporary country songs (with a Merle Haggard number thrown in) as well as some original compositions.  A potent mix. With no curfew, CCC played on until nearly 11.00 pm with the second half of the set featuring Ben on the Cajon!  I can’t wait for the GITG when Chris Hillman will join them on Pedal Steel and Ben will again play Cajon.  It’s going to be another fabulous gig.

COUNTRY TO COUNTRY Paula and I went on the Sunday 10 March and only really wanted to see Ashley McBride and Chris Stapleton.  McBride played the perfect set – The Girl From Nowhere did real good.  I’ve wanted to see Stapleton for a few years now and wasn’t disappointed. From heart wrenching ballads to country blues at its best to head banging hard rock. This guy has it all and more. A simply fabulous set.

JONI MITCHELL AT 75 Whilst now a gig, as such, a one off night at the cinema on Thursday 21 March with a live recording of a concert to celebrate her 75th Birthday. Annabel and I enjoyed a great evening with contributions’ from James Taylor, Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright, Glen Hansard and Seal amongst many others. And a reminder of what an amazing songwriter she was. Got the album too!

THE FEELGOOD BAND Are a Dr Feelgood tribute band recommended by Wilco, Sparko and Big Figure no less. I saw them at Chinnery’s in Southend on Saturday 30 March. Dr Feelgood were the first band I saw live as a raw 16 yr old and, though I’ve seen them a few times since, these three very accomplished musicians did a great job with great banter along the way too.  They are playing at the New Crawdaddy on Friday 21 June and are well worth looking out for.  They were well supported by What A Waste an Ian Dury and the Blockheads tribute band.  They were great and are due to play the Chequers in Billericay in the near future – not sure when.


DANNI NICHOLLS Danni is currently on tour to promote her new album ‘The Melted Morning’ which is officially released worldwide on 12 April when she is playing at The Water Rats near Kings Cross for the official launch.  I’ve had a download/preview of this album for a few weeks and wonderful it is too. The minimalist approach suits Danni’s style perfectly alongside sumptuous production and personal and heart wrenching songs – what’s not to like? A must for any Americana fans.

GUY TORTORA This is someone I’ve not seen for a while but who makes a welcome return to Blues At Barleyland on Saturday 13 April at 2.00 pm. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, GT is currently based in London, in the UK. GT is a guitar player of some accomplishment and a distinctive songwriter. GT is a class act and plays one of my all time faves When Cotton Is King. I’ll be there (GT played at Emmanuel in 2012)

AN EVENING WITH MICHELLE OBAMA Not a gig but a huge event nonetheless as I take Annabel to the O2  on Sunday 14 April for an audience with the wife of the POTUS.  Could be an interesting evening.

HOLY WEEK Is a special time in the life of the Christian church.  We have several events taking place at Emmanuel.  It would be great to see you at one of these.  More details here Read my article When I Survey The Wondrous Cross

HOUSE GIG: HATTIE BRIGGS Hattie will soon be a household name, though she may be already after her appearance on BBC Breakfast TV a few weeks ago. Hattie has a real Cinderella story and you’ll have the opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about ‘close up’ when she plays a sold out gig on Saturday 11 May. Like many of you, I’m always interested in hearing new artists and Hattie sits very comfortably in the Americana genre we’ve come to know and love so much here.

SABATTICAL I shall be taking a sabbatical (nowadays known as Extended Study Leave) from July to September inclusive which is why there are no events planned between this time. I shall be going to the Philippines for three weeks (which is why proceeds from Afternoon Tea, The Pantaloons and GITG are going to the Purple Community Fund don’t forget to collect your ring pulls). I shall also be joining the chaplaincy team at the Leeds Festival (look out for me in the God Tent if you’re going) and will be walking part of the Camino Way (also known as the Way of Saint James or the Santiago De Compostela). I’m also hoping to squeeze in a bread making course, just for fun, alongside taking time to read, reflect and write. If you’re interested in what I will be getting up to, I’ll be showing some slides etc., at the 10.00 am service on Sunday 2 June. 

BASILDON FUNDAY FESTIVAL A fundraising event for MIND and ‘Reach Out For Mental Health’ organised by my friend Chris Hobart and his family takes place on Sunday 2 June with Live Music, Fire Walk, Fairground Rides, Stalls, Food and Drink, More details can be found here

AFTERNOON TEA IN THE RECTORY GARDEN This takes place on Saturday 22 June from 2.00 pm and will cost £5.00 per person.

OPEN AIR THEATRE: THE PANTALOONS I’m delighted to welcome the marvellous, madcap and crazily inventive Pantaloons Theatre Company back to Billericay to perform their own twist on the Jane Austen classic ‘Sense & Sensibility’ in the Rectory Garden on Sunday 30 June. Details and tickets here

GIG IN THE GARDEN 2019 My now famous annual Gig in the Garden for 2019 takes place on Sunday 7 July and will have another Americana/Country/Folk/Blues flavour with three fabulous artists to enjoy. By popular demand, we welcome back Lauren Housley and her amazing band; Michelle Lewis makes a welcome reappearance and the ever popular Dan Pierce joins us too. Details and tickets here BTW 75% of these tickets have been sold so be sure to buy yours NOW or you could miss out altogether.

HOUSE GIG: KEITH JAMES This is a guy I’ve loved for over 30 years but he rarely travels to this part of the world – spending most of hit time in Andalusia. However, forward planning means that I’ve been able to book Keith for Saturday 2 November. He really is a class act and I’m so pleased to be able to book him. He also happens to sing one of my all-time favourite songs! More details here


THE MELTED MORN (2019) Danni Nicholls
JONI MITCHELL AT 75 (2019) Various Artists
SINGING TO STRANGERS (2019) Jack Savoretti
RESTLESS MINDS (2019) Ward Thomas
REIMAGINES THE 80’s (2018) Trevor Horn
YOUNG RUNAWAY (2018) Hattie Briggs
VOLUME ONE (2018) Chorlton Country Club
LIVE AT DUCIMER (2017) Chorlton Country Club
SWITHERING (2016) Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire
THE ONLY ONES (1978) The Only Ones
OXYGENE (1977) Jean-Michel Jarre
THE BEST OF (1976) The Band
BLUE (1971) Joni Mitchell

CONGRATULATIONS to my son Ben Carr and Beth Slater who announced their engagement on Friday 29 March. Beth is from Royton, near Oldham, Manchester and they met at Huddersfield University.

THANK YOU For helping to keep music (and theatre) live in Billericay. Being an independent promoter isn’t easy nowadays, with more and more venues closing down, I, along the artists who have appeared, really appreciate your support.

Do keep your eyes on my website for other upcoming events alongside some interesting (honestly) articles to read!

Don’t forget I’m always happy to catch up for a coffee/beer/curry!