The Magpie Arc is a cross-Border band out of Sheffield and Edinburgh featuring the multiaward-winning talents and wide musical influences of Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson, Adam Holmes, Tom A Wright (The Albion Band and Ashley Hutchings Morris-On Show) and Alex Hunter (Adam Holmes and The Embers).
Formed out of an idea to bring together a group of musicians and friends who would mix and match their influences, songwriting styles and musicianship in an electric band setting, and give a passing nod to the golden age of 60’s and 70’s British folk/rock, the musical possibilities of The Magpie Arc being something special and unique in today’s folk scene became obvious very quickly.
And “a band” it is! It’s not a project, there’s not a theme and there’s not a commission. It’s five musicians in a room making an enthusiastic noise. Often quite loudly! There will be lots of new songs, and live there will also be some great, unusual and thoughtprovoking covers, plus reworked traditional songs. There will be folk, and it will definitely rock. A bit of country, there may even be some blues.
Whatever happens, it is already proving to be a musical mix of everything you could expect from such a line-up, with great songs, lush harmonies and intricate electric guitars to gorgeous fiddle lines and rock solid bass and drums.
After forming in May 2019, the band quickly released two live video singles filmed and recorded last June at the Silk Mill Studios in Staffordshire, and the tracks of these received airplay on national BBC Radio 2 and on both local BBC and independent radio stations throughout the UK, stoking the new and growing buzz that surrounded the band amongst those in the know.
Writing and rehearsing over the last six months, they are currently recording their debut album, which will be released in time for their summer festival appearances at Sidmouth, Towersey and Purbeck, and they are also undertaking UK dates in October, the centrepiece of which is a headline slot at Manchester Folk Festival to coincide with the annual English Folk Expo.
2021 will see a comprehensive UK tour, and plans are being hatched for their own weekend mini-festival with some very special guests. Details of this will be announced later this year.
So what sort of live show can you expect?
Well, with a line-up like this, it will certainly be a full “Evening with The Magpie Arc”. There will be no support, and variety will be the key, with some solo, duo and/or trio performances before the full band electric set.