A UTTOXETER folk band will be one of the talented acts providing the live entertainment for a village beer festival this weekend.
The Doveridge Beer Festival at the Doveridge Village Club, near Uttoxeter will be staged over this weekend and will include live music from folk band Big Stone Gap on Friday, and punk band The Shelter on Saturday.
Big Stone Gap, as well as being a small town in the Appalachian mountains of North America, is the collective name of five musicians from the Uttoxeter area.
The name was chosen six years ago when the band first came together, inspired by a story told by fiddle player, Gilly Brownhill, about a trip her dad had made many years earlier whilst living in Georgia.
The band thought the name was a great reflection of the eclectic sound of folk, country and acoustic blues they wanted - and so Big Stone Gap was born.
Four of the original members have recently been joined by drummer, Huw McPherson, giving a tighter arrangement to much of the BSG set.
The BSG line-up is: Karen Jillard (Wason) – lead vocals and guitar, Neil Cameron – guitar and vocals, Gilly Brownhill – fiddle and vocals, Nik Holmes – bass and Huw McPherson – drums.
Karen’s clear renditions of everything from quiet ballads to rockier country numbers defines the vocal style of BSG, accompanied by understated acoustic guitar.
Local blues legends, The Vice Bishops, often add Karen to their monthly 'Meet on The Ridge' events at Doveridge Club and she recently sang with 70's local songsmith, Gavin Sutherland (Sutherland Brothers & Quiver) at his 'comeback south' appearance in September.
Supporting Karen's vocals, Neil adds an interesting vocal dynamic to many of the numbers as well as providing the backbone of rhythm guitar work for the band to hang from. Neil writes his own material for solo work and is looking forward to adding some self-penned songs to the BSG sets.
In addition to playing with The Wright Band and Big Stone Gap, Gilly has also recently joined successful local band, Radio Mary, alongside her husband Dave Brownhill. Her style is a great blend of traditional folk-influenced fiddle combined with a Southern twist. Alongside Karen, she often joins up with The Vice Bishops for their local sessions.
Nik's upright electric bass adds a percussive rhythm to the repertoire as well as more gentle sliding bass notes to the quieter songs in the set.
One of BSG’s hallmarks is the three and four part harmonies and Nik adds another male voicing to complement Karen, Neil and Gilly.
Band newcomer, Huw, contributes a muchneeded percussion element to BSG and plays a full kit, alternating between sticks and brushes to give a definite 'country' feel to much of the set.
He also records with Midlands-based outfit Lazarus Clamp.