Thursday 19th January 2017 at 8:30 Entry:£6 (£5 members)
A second visit to the Topic for this unpretentious local favourite who displays a remarkable talent for his heartfelt delivery of thoughtful songs. A Bradford lad, Stuart is making more solo appearances around the local clubs these days, stepping out of his harmonising mode to deliver some lesser known songs from his vast repertoire: contemporary, classic and occasionally comical. Stuart sings his guitar-driven music with passion and enthusiasm that is always thought-provoking. Well received wherever he goes, this is sure to be a delightful evening.
TOPIC CLUB MEMBERSHIP £5 a year from 1st January. That gives you £1 off concert tickets, and you can get more involved with running the club too if you are interested Obviously, now is the best time of the year to become a member!
PS: CASTLE HOTEL Plenty of Topic regulars play and listen at the Castle Hotel in Bradford on Fridays - why not join them? January nights: Jan 20 Eddie Lawler; Jan 27 Den Miller
An established songwriter and musician, Ray Hearne is also well known in Yorkshire for his appearances on regional television and weekly BBC Radio Sheffield broadcasts featuring his own and other writers' poetry. Born in Rotherham of Irish parents, he still lives and works in the town and tries in his songs to bring the two cultures together; Irish and South Yorkshire; contemporary songs in a traditional idiom. His songs have been recorded and sung by Roy Bailey, Coope Boyes and Simpson, Kate Rusby and the late John Wright, but there's nothing to compare with his own passionate performances. He has played at festivals across the North of England and toured Belgium, Holland and Ireland.
An organiser and tutor for many years with the Workers Educational Association, Ray was a pioneer of the writers' workshop movement helping people of all ages across South Yorkshire's communities and beyond to find their voices, in story, verse or song. He also works with community groups and partnerships, and campaigning groups, helping them to tell their stories and to affirm themselves through poem and song. His latest CD Umpteen was released in May 2016.
More recently Ray has worked as a member of the team writing BBC Radio Two's Radio Ballad series. Ray's song Curtains' sung by Kate Rusby featured in the first programme Song of Steel.
Singers & Musicians
A chance for anyone to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen
Soundsphere formed in York in 2000 - originally a four-piece vocal singing group until the sad passing away of Angela Michel in November 2013. With Angela's blessing Judith, Sarah and Paula felt that there was no other path to take, but to carry on as three..."it's what Angela wished for us and so we will carry on and think of her with joy, every time we sing".
The Soundsphere style specialises in singing 'a cappella'. This tradition of singing means, basically, without accompaniment: textured harmonies which give the arrangements a rich and vibrant sound. Most of the songs in the group’s repertoire are sung without accompaniment but percussion and drums are sometimes used to great effect - if the song calls for it! Some are old and some are new and some are self-penned pieces but all are sung because they are special.
All over the world songs are sung and passed from generation to generation in the a cappella style - harmonies come and go but the basic style of creating an illusion of depth and feeling by using purely the voice and layering harmonies with each other creates a stunningly rich sound that has character and depth.
Soundsphere take their songs from many countries and from across many centuries, rarely taking a set arrangement but preferring to create a unique sound, this quite often evolves and develops as it gets sung!
It’s high time we had another visit from this superb performer: songwriter, singer and “folk rapper” with his wealth of great songs and stage presence. A veritable troubadour, Pete Morton tours constantly either solo or in various collaborations, sometimes in musical theatre shows. He has entertained all over the world with his unique style, songs telling stories and speaking of the human condition from his own unique perspective, songs of humour, politics, love and social comment delivered in the folk tradition. Pete has many solo albums of original material as well as others in collaboration with other luminaries such as Roger Wilson, Simon Edwards and Jo Freya
...not only impressive but a revelation....totally original - The Guardian
Jon Palmer Acoustic Band
The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band is a 6-piece folk, roots and rock & roll combo based in and around the musically vibrant West Yorkshire market town of Otley. The line-up is Jon Palmer – guitar; Nick Settle – guitar; Wendy Ross – violin; Roy Whyke – drums; Ricky Silvers – double bass; Matt Nelson – mandolin; and everyone sings!
Describing the band as "a cross between The Pogues and Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Session Band – with a bit of Waterboys and Saw Doctors thrown in for good measure", Leeds Music Scene said the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band left them "spellbound and desperate for more!" Jon is a former winner of the Grolsch UK Songwriter of the Year, and a published songwriter with Sony.
A blur of hedonistic delight – Fatea Showcases
Jon Palmer is a very fine songwriter… if the band were a heavy electric group they’d be The Levellers, but that would lose the subtlety of the acoustic performance. - 2 Magazine (Rock n Reel)
I never tire of this band, soaring songs, sing-along choruses… and passion. Perfect! Do yourself a favour and acquire Live at Otley Courthouse. Do yourself a second favour: go see them at their live best” 5 Stars – R2 Magazine.