One of the country’s fastest-rising folk stars will headline our September event as KIM LOWINGS AND THE GREENWOOD's ‘Wild & Wicked Youth’ album launch tour stops off in South Gloucestershire.

Kim and the band first appeared at the club back in July 2015, when they were the opening act for Jackie Oates. Their set was so well-received that we immediately invited them back for a headline gig of their own.

Inspired by the folk tradition, Kim Lowings and The Greenwood perform their songs with a contemporary twist. Their live shows are an energetic blend of original compositions and traditional songs. Kim Lowings, Andrew Lowings, Tim Rogers and Dave Sutherland bring together their multi- instrumental skill and individual experience resulting in an innovative and sensitive approach to arrangements. The motivation is to keep the tradition alive and to share their own tales.

The group began as a collective in 2011 with Kim and her Dad, Andrew, collaborating with Midlands musicians. Since then the Greenwood has become an established four-piece on the British folk scene. Their recorded work prior to this latest album includes their debut album This Life (2012), EP Deepest, Darkest Night (2013) and Historia (2015), heralded as "beautiful and enchanting” by Living Tradition and "absolutely captivating” by R2 Magazine.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be local singer GAV BALL.

Gav is the lead singer of local band BUSK. He has been writing songs and playing in bands for over a decade. He loves performing and interacting with a crowd and has more recently been inspired to write songs about his beloved hometown of Bristol.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 15th September 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. There will be a full bar, stocking Severn Cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from Hambrook-based brewery GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO., and locally-made NAUGHTY BROWNIES. There will also be a raffle. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/ bucket as part of our drive to be ecologically sustainable.

We're taking a well-earned break in August, but we thought we'd just leave you with a reminder of what's coming up after the holidays.

Our Autumn/Winter Programme is full of the quality and diversity that you've come to expect from Downend Folk Club. It's a lineup that we feel very proud of and we hope that you'll agree that it's one of our best yet!

Kicking off our concerts after the Summer break will be the fast-rising four-piece KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD. Many of you will remember Kim and the band from their breathtaking set opening for Jackie Oates a couple of years ago. Well now, after many requests from you our members, they're back in their own right; they headline at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 15th September as they tour the UK with their new album, 'Wild & Wicked Youth'. Opening the evening's entertainment will be DFC regular GAV BALL.

Another exciting young band will be our headline guests on Friday 20th October as we welcome the fabulous GRANNY'S ATTIC to Frenchay Village Hall. This trio went down a storm at Bristol Folk Festival and tickets are bound to be very much in demand! Support on the night will come from local band EMBER (including DFC regular Mike Richards), who also hope to have a new EP out around that time.

Described as "one of the most important voices to emerge on the folk scene for years", November's guest is the inimitable GRACE PETRIE. Grace is a protest singer, but much more than that... she's a brilliant songwriter and exudes warmth and charm on stage. This is one not to miss, so be at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 17th November... and make sure you get there in time to catch the wonderful support act for the night, GAVIN OSBORN. Please note that this event is restricted to over-14s.

December sees us put on our most ambitious event to date, as Patron JIM MORAY returns for a full band show on Friday 15th December. Performing songs from his latest album 'Upcetera', as well as some favourites from his back catalogue, Jim will front a five-piece band as we venture out to Resound in Mangotsfield for the first time (while our regular larger venue at Christ Church is closed for refurbishment). Tickets for this one are a little more expensive but we've kept the cost of the others down and we're certain you'll find this show is worth every penny. The highly-rated DARIA KULESH will get the evening's entertainment underway.

Tickets for all the events are on-sale now HERE, where you can also buy a Season Ticket for all four gigs and save almost £5 in booking fees!


Something’s wrong. The usual air of bonhomie at the folk club is dark and oppressive. Maybe It’s the inclement weather, the glowering stormy skies that envelope Frenchay. Maybe it’s not.

Soon after GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGAR take to the stage we find out what’s happened. Parked in a Bristol multi-storey, some scumbags stole their precious instruments.

 You’d expect punk rock. Howls of fury. Four letter words and despair. Instead we get an anger ploughed in to every song.

“That set of tunes”, declared guitarist Russell after the first beautifully-judged instrumental, “was called Could The B@@@ards Who Nicked Our Instruments Please Bring Them Back”. From then on it becomes strikingly obvious that this set WILL contain anger, fury and howls of emotion. Just not in the way you might imagine.

All of a sudden you notice that each and every song is about injustice and unfairness. How the world conspires against the little man and is run by fools. Take 'Did You Like The Battle Sir?' from the new album, 'The Silent Majority'. A vicious swipe at incompetent and self satisfied leadership, hurled at us with a savagely strummed guitar and lyrics growled out. It is only just sweetened by Algar’s lilting violin.

'Crooked Jack' and 'EGA' follow. Both proper folk stories. Both telling tales of resistance and fortitude. The latter, in particular, a striking feminist moment praising an individual strength (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in this case). In these depressing times Russell and Algar tell us the truths we need to hear. Just like Ewan MacColl and Pete Seeger did all those years ago. Spiked with a very personal anger they make us listen to what is right.

All of this would be mighty worthy were it not for one thing. They are astounding musicians and undercut everything with a very wry sense of humour. Algar is usually the joker of the two (he’s subdued tonight) and plays violin as though the angels themselves handed it down to him. Multi-award winning and having recorded a gorgeous solo album he has a rare talent. Russell, his perfect foil, possesses a voice that seems far older than his tender years. Flecked with grit and tinges of Americana he has recently contributed to the fabulous Shake The Chains project, amongst other things.

The second set starts with the title track from the latest album, 'The Silent Majority'. It’s extraordinary. It swings wildly at every despot since the 30's. Landing punches with borrowed instruments. Skewering every evil regime with a simple song. Even with these unfamiliar machines they attempt to kill fascists.

In support was LEON GORMLEY. He’s a classic folk club singer. A delicate guitar player with an unashamedly Midlands accent. There are echoes of Bert Jansch, Chris Wood and  a polite political displeasure. His lugubrious style is perfect as an opening act but he’s totally flattened by the juggernaut that is coming behind him.

With luck Russell and Algars’s instruments will have been returned by the time you read this but, hopefully, their anger will never fade. We need them because, undoubtedly,  something’s wrong.


Words: Gavin McNamara

Photo: Chris Dobson