The Lost Trades; Debut at the Village Pump

By Helen Robertson

Images by Abbie Asadi

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On a rainy Friday night in Trowbridge, I followed the directions from the bar staff at the Lamb Inn- past the pool table and out the back – to the Village Pump, a quirky, intimate performance space that was already packed. And there was cake, lots of cake.

This was the first gig for The Lost Trades but most people seemed to know the Wiltshire-based singer songwriters, Jamie R Hawkins, Phil Cooper and Tamsin Quin, pretty well as they mingled in the breaks between support acts Vince Bell and newcomers Timid Deer.

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Tamsin confessed she was nervous, hoping the new three-part harmony adventure would start well. She needn’t have worried. The sell-out crowd were on their side right from the start.

 
Swapping instruments and lead vocals throughout the night, The Lost Trades shared their stories and songs with the relaxed ease of seasoned performers. There are three distinct styles to the songs but an obvious pleasure in playing together binds the music into a cohesive set. It’s folky, funny and full on harmony.

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 I’m glad Phil took the time to introduce his original, the Groom of the Stools – a little context went a long way to explaining this rollicking, foot stomping number where “every day I take a look at the Crown jewels”. Google it, trust me it’s that job that you’ve never dreamed about.

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 About halfway through the set Tamsin debuted Hope Cove, a very personal song for a friend about holidays in Devon. Loaded with emotion the absolute strength of the trio, the balance of harmonies, was on display. These three voices create a beautiful rich sound, layered and textured.

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 My favourite song wasn’t an original – sorry guys – but a traditional American spiritual, Down in the River to Pray. The harmonies, wow. Just wow. As it soared and rolled around me, I’m not ashamed to say I might have had something in my eye….

 
The Village Pump is a cracking venue, home to the local folk club and a regular open mic night. I was told a group of friends started the folk club there in 1973 in a barn at the back of the pub. Performances were staged from a wagon and there are nods to this on the walls with horse paraphernalia hanging with tubas, French horns, guitars and pipes from a church organ. Upstairs in the balcony there’s plush red tiered seating from a now-closed local movie theatre. Great acoustics, a welcoming vibe and drinks on tap from the Lamb Inn, it’s just the place to showcase local talent.

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Shout out to Jamie’s fiancé Janey for the cakes – a vote saw the chocolate cake coming out the clear winner with the consolation prize going to Tamsin’s flapjacks. I tried a few, for research purposes. Perhaps more than a few. Yum!

 
The encore was a swinging country version of Talking Heads’ Road to Nowhere. I’m picking this is far from the truth for the trio. The Lost Trades are out on a Spring tour now with a handful of gigs around Wiltshire as well as trips to far flung places including London, Stratford on Avon and Exeter between now and the end of April. Details are on their website along with the chance to join the mailing list for early bird benefits.

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Will Lawton & Weasel Howlett – 8th February @ The Cause, Chippenham

Not actually in D-Town, but we think this one is really worth schlepping up the road to Chippers for. A Concert For Ed – Preview

 

By Andy Fawthrop

On 20th October last year, Ed Bowen was walking home in Bristol with his girlfriend, Nic, when a car reversed at speed towards them and swerved off the road. Ed leapt into the path of the car to push Nic out of the way. Whilst she escaped with only minor injuries, the back of the car pinned Ed to a wall, crushing his left leg and pelvis. The 33-year-old suffered such terrible injuries that he medically died in the ambulance rushing him to hospital and had to be resuscitated by paramedics. He underwent 11 hours of surgery, and spent two weeks in intensive care at Southmead Hospital. Surgeons were unable to save his left leg, and had to amputate it just below the hip. He now faces months of recovery in hospital and years of rehabilitation. This concert is all about raising money to help with Ed’s long journey to recovery.

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Ed’s brother, Will (aka. Buddy) will be performing live at the concert alongside band mates Will Lawton and Weasel Howlett (see review below). Appearing also will be many more superb, local musical acts to suit all ages and tastes including Redland School Choir, Ami Kaelyn, Katie Whiting and Ben Lawton, Anna Roberts, Burbank, Pete Williams and Maiden Voyage.

There will be a licensed bar, and all profits will be going to support Ed’s fund.

Tickets are available online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/concert-for-ed-tickets-54219019547

Not only is this a very worthy cause in itself, it’s also a great chance to catch some of our very best local musicians, who are all giving up their time for free.

And to put this into some musical perspective, here’s a review of Will Lawton & Weasel Howlett from a couple of weeks back:

11th January 2019 @ Village Pump, Trowvegas – Review

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Another jog out of town – this time leaving the safety of The Vize to visit the Badlands of Trowvegas, and the beautifully-formed Village Pump. Whilst this venue often plays host to some of the UK’s top folk acts on a Friday night, it’s also hired out on other nights to independent promoters, and to bands, as practice/ rehearsal/ recording space. It’s a lovely old room (a converted horse stable), now fitted with all mod cons such as underfloor heating, an excellent PA system and sound control room.

The night I went, we were definitely not talking “folk”. In fact it was fairly pointless to talk about specific music categories at all. Will & Weasel are almost impossible to pigeon-hole. Think mesmerising rhythms (Weazel on percussion), impressive piano arrangements (Will), supported by some fine bass (Buddy), accompanying some damned good songs. There were also instrumental pieces, improvisations and a few “works in progress”, one of which the performers described as “a bit of a beast” that just wouldn’t lie down. All of this was played with breath-taking ease and technical brilliance. There were clear influences from jazz, through soul, to folk to classical – and the result was impressive. Picture soundscapes if you will.

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Will Lawton (once of local band The Home Fires) has very much branched out on his own to put this trio together in order to pursue his musical direction. The band’s recent album “Fossils Of The Mind” is well worth a listen, capturing their joint musical development at a particular point in time. From this live performance it was obvious that some of the pieces on that album have already evolved somewhat and have moved on – and in a good way!

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Support on the night came from Jiggidy – a Bath-based duo of John Sandford (keyboard and vocals) and Rachel Barrett (fiddle and vocals), playing a mix of original compositions and traditional folk music. They also played at the Bradford Roots Festival the following weekend, so I got to listen to them twice. Overall – still a little rough round the edges, and a little nervous. Competent, but unlikely to set the world on fire.

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Future gigs at the Village Pump are:
• 1st February – Feral Beryl + Bryony McGinty
• 15th February – Open Mic
• 1st March – Sally Ironmonger + The Ship’s Cat
• 15th March – Open mic

www.villagepump.org.uk/

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