REVIEW – Celtic Roots Collective @ The Southgate and Mule @ The White Bear, Devizes –Sunday 23rd February 2020

Sunday Contrasts

Andy Fawthrop

It was a shame that England’s crushing defeat of Ireland Twickenham meant that the start of music at The Southgate got pushed back from its usual start at 4pm until 5pm, because it meant there were two live acoustic duos performing at two different pubs at exactly the same time.

I wanted to see both, as both acts were new to me, so the only tactic I could think of was to see the first half of one (CRC at The Southgate) and the second half of the other (Mule at The White Bear). I know, I know – it’s like waiting for buses – you wait for ages, then two come along at the same time.


First up was Celtic Roots Collective, a rather strange Irish-focussed musical outing for a duo whose members hail from Yorkshire and Italy. Both assured the audience that their “countries” bordered Ireland, so that was OK then. The music was basic, down-to-earth and (if I’m honest) slightly rough round the edges and a little nervously delivered. Featuring violin and guitar, they played plenty of singalong “Irish” and “English” crowd-pleasers such as Whiskey In The Jar, Wild Rover, Dirty Old Town, Leaving of Liverpool etc. which certainly got the crowd moving. It was all good knockabout stuff, but I felt that they needed more practice and more gigs to tighten up the act, particularly the vocals/ harmony. But it’s still very early in the band’s journey, so that’s only to be expected. CRC are what I’d call still a work-in-progress.

Then down to The White Bear to catch Mule, featuring Chris Goulding on guitar & vocals, and Sharon Lindo on violin & vocals. This was an altogether tighter, more practised and more confident duo, delivering a good variety of material, ranging from folky jigs and reels, through to some great covers of David Gray, The Doors and others. Their vocal harmony work was spot-on, and they exuded an easy-going, friendly rapport with the audience. And a good audience it was too, including a fair crowd from the Devizes Town Band, with whom Sharon plays a key role. So we had a great atmosphere, a full pub, and plenty of clapping and singing along. Excellent entertainment.


Yet another great Sunday afternoon where we, the audience, were spoilt for choice. But this is the fun of live music in our town!

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 28th February The Shudders
• Saturday 29th Feb Plus Friends
• Friday 6th March Barrelhouse
• Saturday 7th March Jon Pollard
• Friday 13th March Lewis Clark & The Essentials
• Saturday 14th March Lightnin’ Hobos

Future gigs at The White Bear:

• Sunday 8th March Phil Jinder Dewhurst
• Sunday 15th March Burbank
• Sunday 22nd March Mr. Love & Justice
• Sunday 29th March Matt Cook

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