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                       A contemporary and traditional mix

                                        THE grandeur of the historic parish church in Wigan provided a fitting and  

                                         unexpectedly intimate setting for what became a fantastic night of music.

                                        Being seated in the Crawford chapel (which only seats 64!) gave the night a     

                                        great and communal atmosphere. It was started by an artist not known to me

                                        called Des Horsfall, who after tonight l will not soon forget. His endearing

                                        delivery of acoustic blues and singer-song writer material was only enhanced  

                                        by his masterly repartee with the audience. He wheeled his way through

                                        covers and his own material with the same enthusiasm and care for each. The 

                                        penultimate song being the McGuinness Flint song When I'm dead and gone

                                        gave the crowd a light- hearted rendition to join in with. There is no doubt

                                        that this man with his trademark kazoo is someone worth checking out.


 After this came the main at traction, Gilmore and Roberts. They came to the stage with a fantastic array of both original material and traditional material that wowed the audience from the word go. Their first song The Stealing Arm was an amazing showcase of the duo's talent for combining their instruments to create a rhythmic platform in which they could craft songs that showed a contemporary edge and a well honed sensibility of tradition. The traditional song Fleetwood Fair mesmerised the audience with the use of dynamics to enhance the vocals and create an almost spiritual atmosphere in keeping with the setting.


Conversations with the audience gave a unique insight into the song-writing process and made songs like Silver Screen from their most recent album, The Innocent Left, take on a whole new meaning for the listener. It became apparent that the narrative running through their songs gives them a traditional feel comparable to the likes of Ralph McTell, while still appearing fresh and youthful in their delivery, best shown on the on enigmatic, Louis Was a Boxer.


The most interesting cover of the evening was a rather soulful version of Alice Cooper hit, Poison which I doubt has ever been played in a church before! Finishing the set was the rip-roaring Scarecrow, a fitting ending to what was a fantastic performance. It was plane for all to see why Gilmore and Roberts had been nominated and indeed won so many accolades, including being nominated for best duo at the prestigious Radio 2 folk awards. lf you have ears then you should
listen to Gilmore and Roberts!