HOUSE GIG: KEITH JAMES We had an amazing evening with Keith on Saturday 2 November It really was a wonderful mixture of the very best material from all of Keith’s concert tours. Including songs by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn and Cat Stevens together with Keith’s own original songs and songs based on the poetry of Pablo Neruda, William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo to name but a few. Keith has played over 1600 gigs in his career but this was the first house gig he’s played (he took some persuading) but he couldn’t believe how wonderful it was and wonders why he hasn’t played one before.

NEW CRAWDADDY BLUES CLUB Some of you will be aware that the Crawdaddy closes its doors for the last time on Thursday 5 December. Resident band ‘The Heaters’ will be performing on their last night.  I’ll be there. More details here This will be a great loss to the blues scene in Essex.  They’ve hosted some fabulous acts over the years and I’ll be sorry to see them go – Paul and the gang have done an amazing job over the past 20 years (I first attended 12 years ago).  Sadly they’ve not had the support they need to make the club viable.

HOUSE GIG: LAUREN HOUSLEY I’m delighted to welcome back Lauren for a totally unexpected THIRD gig this year and my final house gig of 2019 on Friday 6 December. Unfortunately, this gig has been sold out for a while.  I’m sure she’ll be back in 2020. However, I have a reserve list if anyone wants to be added to this

AN EVENING WITH GRAHAM KENDRICK Unfortunately this event at Emmanuel on Sunday 8 December has been SOLD OUT for a few months now. However, I have a reserve if anyone wants to be added to this.  Mobile numbers might be helpful as people often drop out at the last minute.

GENERAL ELECTION 2019 A few thoughts as you think ahead to whom you might vote for at the General Election on 12 December 2019.

CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS AT EMMANUEL It’s never too early to plan for Christmas and, as always, we have a huge variety of events and services to suit family members of all ages at Emmanuel form Carols by Candlelight to the fun  and frantic Christingle on Christmas Eve – and much more in-between. Be sure to check out this page and plan something in your diary before it’s too late.  Of course, other churches are available! 

HOUSE GIG: TYZACK AND TORTORA What better way to chase away the blues on the official ‘most miserable’ weekend of the year than to have musicians from two of the UK’s favourite blues bands play Billericay Rectory on Saturday 15 January 2020? This will be my first gig of 2020 and more details can be found here It would be very helpful if you could book your place for this gig ASAP as I have some time off after Christmas and I have to undergo surgery for a minor op so won’t around for a while.  Numbers are low at the moment.

HOUSE GIG: MEGAN O’NEILL I’m delighted to welcome back Megan to play for us on Friday 14 February.  I’ve no doubt this will be a very special evening indeed – especially for those of you who are lovers! More details can be found here

HOUSE GIG: BAD INFLUENCE The gigs just keep getting better as I welcome the excellent Bad Influence to Billericay Rectory on Saturday 14 March. This will be a trio Val Cowell, Richard Hayes and Pete Stroud – a formidable line up! More details can be found here

A few other dates for your diary in 2020 …

GIG IN THE GARDEN Sunday 12 July with Danni Nicholls


Albums I’m listening to …

Message From The Gods (2019) Keith James
Keith’s latest album where he puts music to the words of some of his favourite poets.  Some really great songs here.

Blue On Blue (2019) Connie Lush
Unplugged versions of some of her most famous songs and some not recorded before. A clever album.

Wildwood Kin (2019) Wildwood Kin
An album that is full of surprises.

Live at Epic & Morganway (2019) Morganway
Still listening to these.  Going to see them at Camden Chapel on Thursday 21/11. ‘Frozen in our time’ is such a mature song for a young band.  Could be one of my top 5 songs of 2019.

The Melted Morn (2019) Danni Nicholls
Definitely my album of 2019.  ‘Hear your voice’ has been shortlisted for song of the year by the AMAUK

Made Up My Mind (2018) Connor Selby
Saw him for the first time supporting Connie Lush.  Fabulous album.  He’s supporting The Who on their 2020 stadium tour. Quite a gig.

Summer (2018) Jeremy Zucker
One of the unexpected highlights of my time as chaplain at the Leeds Festival.

Girl Going Nowhere (2018) Ashley McBryde
An artist I’ve been championing for a couple of years now.  Ashley received the best newcomer award at the CMA’s. Ashley has also earned two coveted GRAMMY® nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance for her breakout single “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.” If you like Chris Stapleton you’ll enjoy Ashley – the same kind of gutsy country rock.

Long Road Out Of Eden (2007) The Eagles
A classic that is always well worth returning to. CD1 is stronger than CD2 – in my opinion!

A Concert For The People: Berlin (1982) Barclay James Harvest
Gotta love a little prog! I was inspired to listen to this album again because of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This (free) concert was performed in front of the Reichstag in West Berlin, with an estimated attendance of 250,000 people. It does catch the atmosphere pretty well.

Raised On Rock (1980) Johnny Winter
No one quite sings and plays like JW.  My first introduction to JW when I was 18 yrs old and this is an album that takes me back and lifts my spirits. This is a rare compilation album which you’ll not find listed anywhere! Does anyone else have this. It’s a double album released on Blue Sky records. I’m actually listening to this album as I write this email.

And Finally … 

SABBATICAL If you’re interested to read what I got up to for three months during the summer make yourself a brew, or pour a drink, and click on the link here

RING PULLS Many of you collect ring pulls for the Philippine Community Fund. In this coming season of parties and events can I ask you to collect them and either send them direct or bring them along next time you’re in Billericay.  More details can be found here

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 continued support.

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

With my best wishes to you for a peaceful Christmas celebration and blessed New Year.



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