Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax

Gemma Ray, plus band, and Thomas Truax, plus Hornicator and Mother Superior drum machine, played the Foxlowe Arts Centre on Friday the 1st of March. Following a whistlestop tour of Continental Europe, both artists recently hit England for a series of gigs at a select few venues, including the Foxlowe and the Hebden Bridge Trades Club.

Co-headlining and swapping the running order each night, Thomas Truax was onstage first (and frequently offstage, and outside as part of the performance). A quirky and eccentric mix of storyteller, inventor, performer and recording artist Thomas Truax, who travels the world with his collection of self-made instruments including his legendary ‘Hornicator’ and ‘The Stringaling’, supported Bob Log III at the Foxlowe previously before co-headlining with Gemma Ray this time around.

Mixing electro-acoustic steel guitar and live rhythm loops, plus percussion sounds coaxed from his Dr Seuss meets steam punk meets Heath Robinson-esque “drum machine”, called ‘Mother Superior’, Thomas Truax gradually builds up a magical and hypnotic sound over which he narrates tales about “about clones, butterflies, dogs, technology, loneliness, and other beautiful and sad things”. Further assorted homemade instruments, contraptions and gizmos, including ‘The Hornicator’, which is constructed from the shell of a junk gramophone horn, are utilised to create Thomas’ sound, and strings, springs and attached noisemakers on the afore-mentioned gizmos are plucked and set in motion too.

Thomas doesn’t confine his eccentric but captivating performance to the stage either, as he frequently wanders into the crowd whilst playing, and even goes outside the venue during ‘Full Moon Over Wowtown’, leaving the audience guessing as to which door he’ll reappear through or even if he’ll come back at all (hint – he always does). Wowtown is a surreal place from which some of the characters and events in Thomas’s songs originate, and fans of his music (or even just fans of the bizzarre and David Lynchian Americana) can subscribe to The Wowtown News, an email newsletter that he sends to a long list of email subscribers (GDPR rules may or may not apply in Wowtown).

Hailing from Essex but via Berlin, Gemma Ray and her band followed Thomas onstage for the second half of the co-headlining show.

Gemma Ray inhabits a similarly David Lynchian Americana audio world, with a woozy, hypnotic but unsettling mixture of Peggy Lee with Link Wray and Dick Dale-esque surf guitar (an accomplished and in-demand guitarist, Gemma plays with a wicked-looking kitchen knife at times, used as a slide running up and down the fretboard, and lodged behind the rear pickup on her guitar when not in use). Her and her band’s sound is akin to staring at a Blue Moon whilst underwater in the Pacific Ocean, sometime between the late 50s and early 60s, or the surfer from Crystal Voyager going under one too many times to the accompaniment of the Pink Floyd soundtrack. Both retro and yet contemporary, Gemma Ray and her band bewitch and beguile and ever so slightly unsettle (I’m reminded of that large kitchen knife again at this point!).

Eight album, called Psychogeology, is out now, and has been described by Gemma as ‘an ode to the majesty of landscape, the enormity of nature and time, and the inevitability of every human life eventually forming a minuscule part of further landscapes’. Music News states in their Psychogeology album review:

“This out-look has been honed from extensive global travelling and where [the Situationist concept of] ‘psychogeography’ is the seeking of a wandering un/subconscious resonance garnered from ‘urban’ areas, Ray goes ‘rural’, discovering a broader, wider, more expressive and expansive feeling of nature’s rhythms and tangents more attuned to the body’s inner torrents: the art of wandering in tandem with the art of wondering. ”

The review also references surf guitarists Dick Dale and Link Wray, and elements of Pipeline by The Chantays, and even perhaps ahead of his time but deeply troubled Joe Meek, Peggy Lee, the epic soundscapes of Pink Floyd, and all-girl groups like the Shirelles and Shangri-Las and torch singing chanteuses Billie Holiday and Julee Cruise could also be said to be part of the sonic mix.

The show finished with Thomas joining Gemma on stage to duet on a couple of songs, reinforcing the meeting of minds and bond between the two artists.

The Foxlowe thanks everyone who came out to the show, as did both Thomas and Gemma on the night, and we look forward to welcoming them back again in the future.

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

 

 

Mel Hill & his Fine & Dandy Jazz Band

In the second lead in performance to this year’s Leek Arts Festival. ‘The Foxlowe Sessions’ are presenting :-

Mel Hill and his ‘Fine and Dandy Jazz Band’
Foxlowe Arts Centre
Friday 8th March 2013
Tickets £6 form Foxlowe Arts Centre or Colloco in Sheepmarket or online at www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk/tickets

There will be a range of Jazz styles including a journey through the Great American Songbook

Mel Hill is well-known as a trumpeter, broadcaster and jazz music writer – an all-round expert whose career spanned education, network radio and his long-running local radio jazz show.

Mel retired from his jazz show on September 5th, 2007 after 19 years continuous service to jazz radio. What began as a regional specialist music show more recently developed into a cult worldwide hit much appreciated by a whole new audience thanks to the world wide web. Indeed, you made Mel Hill’s Jazz the most popular Listen Again show produced by BBC Local Radio with around 20,000 hits each month. A wonderful selection of music, plus Mel’s vast knowledge and relaxed presentation style proved a winning combination.

Flossie Malavialle – Live Foxlowe Sessions, Friday Feb 8th

This Friday, Feb 8th sees the debut of French folk singer Flossie Malavialle at Foxlowe Arts Centre.
Tickets are only £8 from Foxlowe Arts Centre, Colloco or online

Here’s a video – have a listen

But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what other people say about Flossie:

“Flossie has a voice as clear and tuneful as a lark, with a pureness of quality to stop you in your tracks in the forest of a song”
Colum Sands

“A truly impressive voice and excellent stage presence”
Tanglefoot, Canada

“Flossie’s great! She came over from France and wowed everybody with her sensational voice, her gutsy guitar style, eclectic repertoire and franglais patter”
Vin Garbutt

“To have a song covered by a voice with the beauty, clarity and passion of Flossie is a pleasure that should be enjoyed by all songwriters”
Kieran Halpin

“Flossie is inspiring! She sings every song with such skill and commitment. She even sings my songs better than me! It’s great to have her on our scene”
Allan Taylor

“Here’s a sensational performer. She intrigues listeners with her quaint French-Geordie accent and charms them with her stories and ready laughter. Yet it’s her singing that bowls them over. An artist’s artist, a people’s artist, here’s a mammoth talent emphatically radiating that magical X-factor. A veritable show stopper!”
Wheaton Aston Festival

Original Songs & Words by Buxton Open Mic Performers

SONGS AND WORDS jc A4

Date for your diary – Thursday December 6th.

Buxton open mic performers will be performing at Foxlowe arts centre.

On the bill are the fantastic:

  • Jack Regan : master word contortionist and killer rhymer.
  • Hilary Iredale : songs to have you smiling one minute and in tears the next.
  • Susannah Thompson : colourful poet who speaks from the heart.
  • Johnny Dysfunctional : sweet melodies and dark and witty laments.
  • Julian Cohen : compere and performance poet.
It’s a free event but if you’d like you can make a donation to support Foxlowe arts centre.

 

The Smears playing at Foxlowe arts centre

Playing in the New Year – January 4th, more details soon in the meantime have a look at this great video

Small Town Jones Video

Described as ‘Annoyingly Good’ by Dermot O’Leary on BBC Radio 2 and playing live on November 22nd at Foxlowe arts centre.
Tickets and more info is here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/187735 and here’s Small Town Jones website: http://www.jimjones.co.uk/.

In the meantime have a look at this great video:

Small Town Jones – “Red”from Another Lazy Sunday on Vimeo.

Robert Vincent playing at Foxlowe arts centre

Photo’s of Robert Vincent, Liverpool based singer-songwriter, playing at Foxlowe arts centre, September 28th. Robert is booked to return in February and also in May to play Leek art’s festival – we’ll keep you updated when we have more news.

Albert Lee at Leek Arts Festival

Albert Lee played at Foxlowe Arts Centre on May 9th as part of Leek Arts Festival.

Here’s a small gallery courtesy of Leek Arts Festival of the evening.

Heritage Rooms Now Open

This gallery contains 15 photos.

The Heritage rooms at Foxlowe arts centre were opened on Friday, April 20th with two exhibitions organised by Cathryn Walton, Secretary of Leek & District Historical Society and Heritage coordinator at Foxlowe arts centre.

The two exhibitions feature a history of Leek’s textile mills and the many companies that were established in Leek and an overview of Leek’s rich heritage, including information on The Foxlowe and the Cruso family.

Leek Arts Festival

Foxlowe arts centre is hosting 14 events during May as part of Leek Arts Festival. Some of these events have been moved from the Swan after it closed in April and many of the events are selling out fast.

To see the full list of Leek Arts Festival events at the Foxlowe arts centre please go to our what’s on calendar. You can filter by category to just see the arts festival events or view our full calendar including exhibitions.

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