Long time Old Sod regular and veteran of the Canadian folk scene, Ian Robb started a new project last year with two English folk luminaries, Jess & Richard Arrowsmith, perhaps best known for their work in Sheffield’s brilliant Melrose Quartet. After a few months of rehearsing by email, they came together last summer to play Ontario’s Millrace and Goderich festivals, and a month later reconvened for a short tour in England. By popular demand, the trio now plans to record a CD in January at James Stephens’s studio in Chelsea, and asked the Old Sod Society if we’d put on a concert to help them cover the airfares. The result is a very special show at the Rosemount Hall on January 21st. Think of it as a bit of low-tech crowdfunding!
Jess & Richard Arrowsmith are well established in the traditional English music scene. Powerful vocals, subtle accompaniments, lively tunes and a broad range of material has audiences laughing, weeping, tapping their feet and joining in the choruses. Jess’s self-penned songs have been performed and recorded by a range of other artists and are entering the tradition in their own right. Jess & Richard’s project in conjunction with James Fagan & Nancy Kerr as the Melrose Quartet earned them a nomination for “Best Group” at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards.
Ian Robb is well-known to North American folk music audiences through his singing and concertina playing with Finest Kind, Jiig, The Friends of Fiddler’s Green and The Old Sod Band. Recipient of the inaugural Canadian Folk Music Award for “Best Traditional Singer” in 2005, and co-recipient in 2003, with his Friends of Fiddler’s Green bandmates, of the Estelle Klein Award for “significant contribution to the folk music community in Ontario”, Ian describes himself as “a singer and occasional writer of old songs”. His musical roots are in the 1960s English folk revival, and with Arrowsmith Robb, after 47 years in Canada, he’s happily re-connecting with some of those roots.