Folk in the Barn
Gig Diary

Show of Hands - The Best One Yet

Thursday 28th October 2021

St Mary's Arts Centre, Sandwich

Declan O'Rourke

Friday 12th November

Canterbury Cathedral Lodge

The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican

Saturday 20th November 2021

Colyer-Fergusson Room, Gulbenkian, Canterbury

Usher's Island

Sunday 28th November 2021

Gulbenkian, Canterbury

Martyn Joseph

Saturday 4th December 2021

Waterstones, Canterbury


Ralph McTell

Friday 16th November 2012

St Mary's Arts Centre, Sandwich

We at Folk in the Barn are very happy to present to you one of  our and the nation's favourite singer song writers....

Ralph McTell  -  ‘An English Heartbeat’

Tickets £19 full price £17 concessions
£2 extra on the door  
Doors 7pm for 8pm
Bar available before and after the performance only

One of the great storytellers, Ralph McTell, is now celebrating more than 40 years on the road. Known for his virtuoso guitar style, he is primarily a prolific and gifted songwriter. With a style that invites you into a unique world, he weaves a narrative that is both significant and poignant.

Ralph made his debut in 1968 with the album 'Eight Frames a Second' , He perfomed around London, developing lifelong friendships with other guitar players, like Wizz Jones, Bert Jansch and a young  John Martin.  Nick Drake's last public
performance was supporting Ralph at Epsom college. A record deal appeared and McTell
began to play festivals, creeping up the billing from early afternoon slots to headlining.

An appearance at the 1969 Cambridge Folk Festival stunned him when the audience sang along to one of his own compositions – Streets of London, which he'd written in Paris and only performed at folk clubs gigs.  Not realising the song had taken on a life of it's own, McTell was rendered almost voiceless by the experience.

The momentum of the song and a new record deal with Warner Brothers meant that McTell had financial backing for new albums and promotion, and having already worked with super producers such as Gus Dudgeon and Tony Visconti, McTell elected to produce himself on the album Streets. While this was to prove a success, the leap from festivals and folk clubs to concert venues pulled McTell up sharply and he decided to rethink his professional direction after the round of promotional commitments required to support the 'hit'. He wanted to spend more time with his growing family, feeling the strain of long absences particularly when his third child failed to recognise him on his return home after an Australian tour.  I

In 1974 the release of 'Streets of London' earned him an Ivor Novello Award

The contract with Warner Brothers concluded, McTell began to develop a career that reflected his professional vision. Writing at his own pace on the subjects that mattered to him without needing to consider commercial viability, the beginning on the 1980s saw McTell undertake some of the most complex and politically conscious songs of his career to date. Heavily influenced by the social and political context of the era, his writing questioned and challenged.

However McTell's love for the blues and more specifically “blind, sometimes crippled, dead black musicians from the Mississippi delta region of the US” led him to record two of his finest guitar albums – 'Blue Skies, Black Heroes' and 'Stealing Back' which showcased his intuitive and dextrous guitar playing.

 In 1993, Nanci Griffith recorded 'From Clare to Here' on her Grammy Award winning album and in 2002 he was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. 

Married for nearly 45 years, with four children and ten grandchildren, McTell has continued to write and record to his own agenda. Despite rejecting convention, he has carved a successful touring and writing career, still playing sell-out shows around the UK and internationally. From charged political commentary to quiet personal reflection, his songwriting continues to probe and question without diatribe and polemic. - Date Added 29/05/2012