Like catching a glimpse of a half-hidden gem, we get a bit of a buzz when we come across outstanding young artists emerging onto the scene. It started with Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell. They were the reasons we made the leap into organising live music events. They were Folk Inspiration’s inspiration.
A year ago, Owen and Louis played the very first Folk Inspiration gig at the iconic indie music venue,The Boileroom Guildford, in a double-header gig with Andy Cutting. This year, it was time for Owen and Louis to top the bill. As their backdrop, they swapped the Boileroom’s signature neon sign for a 19th century stained glass window, and made St Mary’s candle-lit Saxon tower their stage.
Stepping into the support slot, Amy Hollinrake brought her stunning vocals and folklore-inspired songs to charm our audience. With Evie Hilyer-Ziegler accompanying her with voice and viola, the two wove a beautiful tapestry of Amy’s compositions and arrangements of traditional songs. As Amy sang her final song, unaccompanied, it felt like a new gem on the folk scene was being revealed by the lapping waters of Blackwaterside. And so the folk inspiration goes on.
Owen and Louis have covered a lot of touring miles since that first Guildford performance, playing countless Summer festivals, including one in South Korea, and having the thrilling honour of opening for Martin Hayes and the Common Ground Ensemble in London and Manchester. In the process, their musical partnership has flourished.
There is now an ease and unfussiness, no set lists, not even an interval, just music so artfully conceived and delivered that the listener is instantly captivated. For eighty minutes, we were completely mesmerised. Perhaps the candlelight, the acoustics, the historic setting and St Mary’s connection with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) helped, but we think that Owen and Louis could play in an old shed and still entrance us all.
On Surrey Hills Radio
If you think our habit of writing post-gig blogs is a clumsy attempt at capturing the fleeting magic of a live performance, luckily, local radio broadcaster Peter Prowse came to record this gig and put together a 25 minute piece which will be broadcast at 7 pm on 9 December.
Thank you to Peter Prowse for covering the gig and for supporting Folk Inspiration, to the lovely Holy Trinity & St Mary's Parish team for allowing us to stage our concerts at St Mary's. Heartfelt thanks to our wonderful volunteers, Irene (front of house), Jane, Rosie and Miranda (for helping behind the bar and for all their morale-boosting assistance).
Owen Spafford & Louis Campbell
with support Amy Hollinrake and Evie Hilyer-Ziegler
2 December 2023, St Mary's Church Guildford
(Photos by Jo Hughes)
Amy Hollinrake and Evie Hilyer-Ziegler
Dulcimer song (to know her)
Blackest Crow - trad.
Soldier & the Lady - trad.
You Came By
Blackwaterside - trad.
Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell
Cottagers Reply (Chris Wood cover)
Pop Goes The Weasel/ Ellis Knowles No.7/ Old Grimes
Support the artists
Visit Amy Hollinrake’s website https://www.amyhollinrake.com/ - check out her shop where she has some lovely art printed on t-shirts and cards.
Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell headed for the studio to record their second album after the gig. Follow them on social media or get onto their mailing list to find out when they will be touring in 2024. Links are all on their website https://www.spaffordcampbell.com/