True North Music – 2019 so far!

As autumn steals up on us, an update is woefully overdue! 2019 has been a whirlwind year of activity for True North Music, with more tours booked and an ongoing programme of exciting local gigs. Way back in January/February, we welcomed The Honey Dewdrops from Baltimore on their debut visit to the UK. This talented duo and their heartwrenchingly beautiful music lit up the dark days of winter and we hosted a sold out gig for them at The Carlile Institute in Meltham. March saw me travel to Nashville to take part in the prestigious Leadership Bluegrass event – a high level management training course centred on the bluegrass music business. This was an incredible opportunity for me, and it was fantastic to introduce True North Music to the movers and shakers at the heart of the bluegrass community. I owe thanks both to the BBMA and the IBMA for the scholarship fund grants/help with travel expenses, which made this trip possible. On returning to the UK there was barely time to draw breath before the incredible, award winning bluegrass quintet Mile Twelve arrived (another UK debut tour). Several shows were sold out including our own concert in Sheffield. It was a cracking gig and definitely a contender for best bluegrass band we’ve ever hosted in the Greystones!

We hosted two fabulous Yorkshire concerts in April. Early in the month we welcomed lively UK Americana quartet The Often Herd to Meltham for another packed out show at the Carlile Institute, and in late April we hosted Canadian folk/roots duo Pharis & Jason Romero for a sold-out show at Sheffield Greystones. Thee gorgeous, mellow music of the award-winning Romeros was complemented by stunning support from Glossop folk duo Ólta. In May we had two tours running at the same time, featuring bluegrass/Americana legends Ron Block & Tony Furtado and the equally celebrated John Reischman & the Jaybirds. Both artists wowed audiences across the country and Ron and Tony’s one-off duo line-up sold out many gigs, including our own Sheffield Greystones concert, which was simply outstanding. It was made even more special when local heroes Damien O’Kane and David Kosky got up to join the guys on a couple of numbers.

As May gave way to June, young California band AJ Lee & Blue Summit arrived for a short tour and at our Meltham gig we probably broke an attendance record for how many we squeezed into the hall. It was hot, it was steamy but everyone there was delighted to witness a barnstorming concert. Later in June we welcomed Philadelphia quintet Man About A Horse for their debut UK tour. This wonderful band plays a contemporary blend of Americana, bluegrass, rock and blues and won many new fans here. Of course we wanted to put on our own gig and we hosted a Fourth of July special on a hot Thursday night in Sheffield – made even hotter by the sizzling musicianship on display! (LOL).

Late August and early September brought THREE tours to manage, with North Carolina old time folk duo Hoot & Holler, charming Tennessee quartet Bill and the Belles and mighty Americana roots-pop band Front Country all in the UK at the same time! We had booked all three bands to perform at Omagh Bluegrass festival in Northern Ireland and had the opportunity to go over to Omagh for this excellent event which place in the atmospheric environs of the Ulster American Folk Park. We love all three of these very different bands and we hosted a couple of concerts ourselves, including a very entertaining Hoot & Holler gig in Meltham, and an old time country and Americana double bill with both Bill and the Belles and Hoot & Holler in Sheffield. This was another occasion where the crackle between the bands and the audience made the atmosphere extra-special!

With autumn approaching, we have The Slocan Ramblers from Canada arriving on tour in October, and will be hosting our own concert at Marsden Mechanics on Fri 18th October. We’re also honoured to have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Awards 2019! Thanks to all who voted for us in the Outstanding Promoter category, we’re delighted and hope to see some of you at the Awards shindig at The Underground in Bradford, on Saturday 19th October. Visit the Yorkshire Gig Guide website for more info and ticket details. Thanks for all your support of live music, that helps us keep on doing what we do. Music makes life better!