RANT News!

News from RANT… as they say a very fond farewell to their bandmate Jenna Reid, departing the band after 10 years, and a huge welcome to wonderful musician Gillian Frame.  A familiar name to any folk fan, Gillian has been a friend of the band for years who are over the moon to have her and her fantastic playing on board.

Bethany Reid from Shetland, Anna Massie and Lauren MacColl from the Highland peninsula of the Black Isle, and Gillian Frame from Arran join forces to showcase the combined resonance of their instruments with repertoire unearthed from both old collections and their own contemporary writing. RANT create a sound which is both spacious and lush yet retaining all the earthy bite and spark synonymous with a Scottish fiddle player.

The quartet been working away over the last couple of months on new material and old RANT favourites and looking forward to releasing new music with Gillian this winter with live dates available in 2022. 
“‘Chamber-folk of the highest order”

Touring 3-6 Feb, 24-27 Mar, 13, 19-22 May, 23-26 June and 9-11 Sept 2022.


Martin Carthy 80th Birthday!

Many Happy Returns to the one and only Martin Carthy on the prestigious occasion of his 80th birthday today. Alan Bearman Music have had the privilege of working as Martin’s UK booking agents for over sixteen years. He has been a hugely respected figurehead in English folk music for well over five decades; a pioneer of the folk revival and a gifted, bold and innovative guitarist and folk song interpreter.

Martin is as influential – amongst contemporaries and younger generations alike – as he is valued as a national cultural treasure. Endlessly curious, knowledgeable, talented and hard-working in equal measure, Martin is a true living legend and we are proud to work on his behalf. Happy Birthday Martin! Love from all at ABM. xxx

Martin has a new merch shop to try to raise some funds as he’s been out of work (like all performers), since March 2020: https://www.scarletmedia.co.uk/martin-carthy-merch

Ye Vagabonds New UK Tour

Ye Vagabonds – the outstandingly talented Dublin-based brothers Brían and Diarmuid MacGloinn – make a much-awaited return to the UK for two 2022 tours, after a studio focus in 2021, including the release of the brilliant I’m a Rover / The Bothy Lads 7”.  

The duo grew up playing music together around their hometown of Carlow, a small town in the southeast of Ireland. After moving to Dublin in 2012, they quickly became a staple of the live music and session scene in Ireland, playing their own original songs as well as folk songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and America.

Their already fast-booking city-focused May tour runs from 1st – 15th, and then they’ll be back again in October 2022. Be sure to grab a date ASAP!


New Project – Heal & Harrow

Heal & Harrow is an exciting new touring project with outstanding Scottish musicians, Rachel Newton & Lauren MacColl which has already hit the ground running in terms of 2022 bookings. Be sure to get in quick for the chance of a date!

The new multi-disciplinary work pays a humanising tribute to women persecuted during the 16th and 17th Century Scottish Witch Trials, while also exploring historical beliefs in the supernatural and modern day parallels in our society. Each piece is inspired by and in remembrance of real women who were persecuted and tried as witches, and characters from the folkloric tales and mythology enshrined in our oral culture.

The project will combine music, new writing and evocative visual art, and already has the potential for a number of related projects from a podcast, to educational resources and a book. A CD is planned for release in October 2021. The touring party will include Rachel, Lauren and a sound/projection engineer.

Read more here in The Scotsman article from January 2021 which has had a huge volume of traffic to it’s site. 

Touring Feb 2022 (remaining dates: 10, 13, 14, 16) and 12-25 2022 (remaining dates:  12-14, 17-22).


Leveret Live Streamed Show

Unfortunately, due to current restrictions, we’ve had to cancel our (already rescheduled) Folk in the Fall concert series on 13th March at Kings Place. The good news is that Leveret will be doing a special live streamed show from Hall 1 on 13th March at 7.30pm. Book your tickets here.
(NB the event will not be available on demand, so please tune in on Sat night).

ABM at Virtual Showcase Scotland

Sarah Coxson will be manning the virtual ABM Trade Stand on Friday with details of our roster of fantastic artists.

Just a reminder too that ABM artists featured in this year’s Celtic Connections include fiddle playing royalty RANT  (Saturday 16th January 2021) https://www.celticconnections.com/event/1/shooglenifty-rant-the-paul-mckenna-band-fiona-hunter-amira-kheir; singer and harpist Rachel Newton (winner of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year in 2017) performing songs from her new album To the Awe (Tuesday 19th January) https://www.celticconnections.com/event/1/breabach-aidan-o-rourke-365-rachel-newton-bassekou-kouyate-katherine-priddy and (on Sunday 31st January) the fantastic singer/songwriter from New Mexico, Cahalen Morrison.

Other Scottish artists on the ABM roster include: Ryan Young, Mairearad Green & Anna Massie, Ewan McLennan, Alasdair Roberts, Band Of Burns as well as some wonderful cross border collaborations: The Furrow Collective, Aly Bain, Ale Möller & Bruce Molsky and The Magpie Arc.

Have a great Showcase Scotland all!

Season’s Greetings From ABM

All at ABM want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here’s to a 2021 where we see a safe return to live gigs and events.

It’s been a truly catastrophic year for music. We, like many others, have spent most of it rescheduling gigs and tours for ABM artists who are desperate to get back to work, safely, and to do what they do best, perform live. Amongst the darkness, there have been many positive, creative moments of light and relief.

There has been incredible spirit, solidarity and tenacity shown by artists and promoters to continue to create and perform for audiences in incredibly trying and uncertain conditions: from socially distanced gigs to online concerts, and a wealth of hunkering down in the recording studio to make new music (Martin Simpson’s Home Recordings, Rachel Newton’s To The Awe) and keep the faith for future months and years! Heartfelt thanks to all the promoters and venues who have been able to support musicians in this way.

Read more about future plans in our latest newsletter here.

Season’s greetings! Stay safe! See you on the other side!

Martin Simpson’s ‘Home Recordings’ out today

The fantastic new album from Martin Simpson is released today on Topic Records.

Martin Simpson’s next album was going to be a live one.  But the lockdown put paid to all that.  Even so, this cloud does have a silver lining.  And what a silver lining it is.  Unable to play to audiences (Martin can average over 100 gigs a year) or go into a recording studio, the only solution was to record a new album at home and were it not for the gaggle of geese flying overhead (you can hear them on ‘Lonesome Valley Geese’) and the birds happily tweeting on the closing track, you perhaps wouldn’t know this wasn’t a studio album.  Recorded by his regular producer, now neighbour, Andy Bell, the aptly-named, Home Recordings finds Martin singing and playing, literally amongst his beloved guitar and banjo collection and out on his Peak District-facing porch. 

“As the pandemic progressed we began to lose friends and peers. John Prine left us in April and I played for him at home. I was focused on material some of which I’ve known for 50 plus years, some I’ve recorded before and revisited out of love. I played songs over and over to finesse the arrangements, but in the absence of a live audience there was an additional intimacy. I wanted to capture this feeling and so Andy Bell and Tom Wright set up in the living room and I played and sang in the music room. I’ve included two recordings made on the deck outside the back of my house. I spent a lot of time playing to the valley.” – Martin Simpson

Home Recordings includes outstanding takes on Lyle Lovett’s ‘Family Reserve’ (from his 1992 album, Joshua Judges Ruth), John Prine’s ‘Angel From Montgomery’ (from his 1971 debut album), Robin Williamson’s ‘October Song’ (from Incredible String Band‘s eponymous debut album, 1966) and of course, Bob Dylan’s ‘These Times, They Are A-Changin’,’ which sounds particularly apt in the current climate. 

Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin Simpson has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions, The Magpie Arc and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling array of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable 31 nods. A true master of his art.

Folk In The Fall, Kings Place, 28 November

Folk In The Fall offers a long-awaited day of live music on 28 November 2020 featuring some of the UK’s most acclaimed musicians, celebrating the ongoing partnership between Alan Bearman Music and Kings Place.  

In troubled times for the live music sector, Kings Place is pleased to be able to open its doors again and offer performances in a safe environment from some of the most talented and engaging performers in the country including LeveretMartin Simpson, Kathryn Tickell & Amy Thatcher, Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith and Emily Portman & Rob Harbron. https://www.kingsplace.co.uk/your-visit/our-safety-measures/

As Artistic Associates at Kings Place, Alan Bearman Music, have been actively involved in folk music programming and consultancy at the venue over the past few years, regularly curating series of themed events.


Hall 1, 2pm

Leveret is the unique collaboration between three of England’s finest folk musicians. Andy Cutting (button accordion), Sam Sweeney (fiddle) and Rob Harbron (concertina): each regarded as exceptional performers and masters of their instruments. Together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity. Leveret’s music is not arranged in the conventional sense and the trio rely on mutual trust and musical interaction to create new settings of their repertoire in the moment, with no two performances alike. Variations Live, a limited edition live double album was released this October, featuring tracks from all their four studio albums plus three unreleased tracks.

Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith

Hall 2, 3.30pm

Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith are one of the finest duos to have emerged onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. Their unique ability to make old songs seem relevant and new songs sound ancient has brought them widespread critical acclaim. Their latest material includes original compositions with reflections on the modern world and storytelling that gets to the heart of life in Britain today, alongside some unearthed gems from the British and Irish folk canons delivered with powerful harmony singing and sensitive musical arrangements. Two of the most exciting musicians and social commentators on the scene.

Kathryn Tickell & Amy Thatcher

Hall 1, 5pm

Northumbrian piper and composer Kathryn Tickell performs with her long-time “right hand woman” Amy Thatcher (accordion, clog dancing). Evocative slow airs move seamlessly into rapid-fire jigs and reels with Amy’s clog steps providing a joyous percussive element! Kathryn Tickell is widely acclaimed as the foremost exponent of the Northumbrian pipes. Composer, performer, broadcaster and recording artist whose work is deeply rooted in the landscape and people of Northumbria, her extraordinary career has seen her champion her native traditions and traverse genres from jazz and world music to large-scale orchestral works, including collaborations with Sting, The Chieftains, Penguin Café Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and many others. 

“Kathryn’s musical exuberance and regional rootedness… endow her music with originality, power and joy.” Songlines

Emily Portman & Rob Harbron

Hall 2, 6.30pm

Emily Portman & Rob Harbron are two of the finest performers on the UK folk scene with award-winning reputations as performers, composers and recording artists. Now they have formed an inspired new collaboration in which they explore traditional English songs linked by a theme of margins – the ordinary and extraordinary stories of marginal people and landscapes, retold and remapped into the often tumultuous landscapes of a post-Brexit Britain, where parallels abound.

Emily (voice, banjo) is best known as an original songwriter and for her work with the award-winning folk band The Furrow Collective. Rob (concertina, guitar, voice) tours with Leveret, Fay Hield, Jon Boden and many more, being in great demand as one the finest multi-instrumentalists in the UK.

Martin Simpson

Hall 1, 8pm

With a new intimate solo album, Home Recordings, released on 13 Nov on Topic Records, Simpson remains one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions. Over 40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, Simpson remains ever fresh, continuing to convey his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art, interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. 

‘One of the virtuoso instrumentalists of the English music scene’ ‘Sounds better than ever’ Guardian  

More info and tickets: https://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/folk-in-the-fall/

New Ways Of Working

We hope this update find you safe and well, in what has undoubtedly been the biggest challenge to us all in the live events business.
With some glimmers of light in terms of live performance and some innovative ideas for getting back to work, we wanted to explore with you what might be possible for bookings in the short and mid-term future. Our artists are really looking forward to finding ways of performing live again.
We have discussed with ABM artists what options may be possible for them, from:

  • socially distanced live gigs with reduced capacity in some venues – sometimes with two houses on one day (typically 2 x 60-70 minutes.
  • hybrid live/online streaming options which may augment potential income.
  • exclusively online performances (live or pre-recorded) with high production values, streamed direct from venues.

There is a general spirit of positivity (and flexibility) in order to get back to work. We would now like to touch base with you all to see what your current plans are, and to offer you some options from artists who are in a position to take advantage of any opportunities available.

So, we’d like your views on ways forwards and any interest in bookings with the artists below, so that we can build an overview of short-term opportunities and longer-term prospects for our world taking steps towards some sort of normality. 

As this new world develops, we need to consider new rules and ways of working. We appreciate that risk is far greater in terms of income potential, so we are happy to discuss is sustainable for all involved. It is clearly in everyone’s interests to avoid clashes in geography and timing. We also need to consider limiting the time that performances remain accessible online and also online ticket capacity in order not to affect future performances.

Please do get in touch and let us know how you are doing. And please do consider what options you may be able to offer the wonderful artists on the ABM roster in the coming months and year.

Let The Music Play Campaign

The team at Alan Bearman Music want to add our voices to the #letthemusicplay campaign, launched today to lobby the government to acknowledge the dire situation that live music is facing in the current crisis, and to immediately put support structures in place to financially underpin our industry.

Music matters to the economy, as well as being the cultural heartbeat of the UK. In 2019, the live music scene injected 4.5 billion to the economy and supported 210, 000 jobs.

Our gigs and festivals have been shut down since March and there is no indication of when it will be safe to re-open, other than a vague roadmap and an undefined timeline. As well as the devastating impact on musicians’ livelihoods, up to 50% of the live music industry’s workforce is facing unemployment. Music festivals, which support 85,000 jobs, are facing collapse in response to a summer of cancellations. 90% of grassroots venues are under threat of closure, need a £50 million cash injection to ensure they do not go out of business.

Please spread the word: #letthemusicplay