28 September 2008

The Autumn Chill Tour...

On Friday, I finished work at lunchtime and set off for the village of Hartpury in Gloucestershire. I was off to the very first live gig by new band Eden's Hill. The 110-mile trip was reasonably uneventful apart from being sat on the M42 motorway for almost ¾ hour due to an accident. The annoying thing was that the accident was on the opposite carriageway and my side of the motorway only came to a standstill due to drivers slowing down to look at the crash scene! Muppets!

Once I arrived in Hartpury I then had to find the venue for the gig, The Old Chapel. In most villages this would be easy - head for the centre of the village and you can't go far wrong. In Hartpury things are a little different; the church and The Old Chapel are the best part of two miles outside the village, surrounded by nothing but fields! Luckily, I'd plotted the location on my sat-nav before leaving home. If I hadn't, I may still have been driving up and down those rather narrow country lanes!

Hartpury Old Chapel.

Having found The Old Chapel I parked the car and spent a while looking around the churchyard and the church. Finding a church unlocked in such a remote place says a lot about the area. It was quiet, very quiet. It was also very picturesque, the perfect setting for the evening's gig.

Hartpury Church.

One of the features of the churchyard is the bee shelter that dates back to the mid 19th century. The shelter would have been used to house the old wicker baskets, that the bees would have been kept in, before the later wooden hives started to be used.

Hartpury bee shelter.

Late in the afternoon I returned to the village in search of food - The Watersmeet Inn provided a very nice beef and onion sandwich, complete with chips, and a rather refreshing pint of cider. As the inn was on the main road into the village it was also a good place to meet up with one of my mates, Graham, who was also coming to the gig. After a drink, and my food, we set off back to The Old Chapel with Graham feeling rather pleased that I already knew where we were going.

The gig itself was somewhat different to most that I go to... no sound system, no mics or amps, just Gwyneth Keen on vocals, Lizzie Prendergast on violin, Elizabeth Casey on Piano and Emma Bryden on Cello. Together they are Eden's Hill and together they make great music! If I had to give their music a "label" then I guess it would have to be "folk" or "traditional". I hate labels so I'll just say that what they do is stunning! Seeing my friend Lizzie playing the violin whilst sitting down and not wearing her New Rock boots was a bit of a shock to the system though! The rock chick style of playing still came across in one or two of the tracks.

Highlights of the set, which lasted for just over an hour, were "Crow In The Cradle" and a brilliant version of "Black Is The Colour". Gwyneth Keen's vocals on "Neptune" also deserve a mention too. As gigs go this one was pretty damn good, and certainly didn't reflect the fact that it was the band's very first live show. Professional is one word that springs to mind, awesome is another! The band are hoping to have their first album ready by the end of the year and I can't wait to hear it. They also have plans to do more live gigs so I guess I'll be seeing more of Eden's Hill next summer.

Unfortunately, due to the subdued lighting in The Old Chapel, which set a great atmosphere, I was unable to get any photos of the band but I have been sent a couple that were taken by Andy Dolman. Thanks Andy!

Eden's Hill - photos by Andy Dolman.

So, that's my second gig in past seven days and, over the next couple of months, I have another half dozen or so lined up. My "Autumn Chill Tour" is underway!


  1. Looks like a wonderful setting. Perfect for a first gig. Was Liz auprised to see you?

  2. "Was Liz auprised to see you?"

    No, but I think she was rather "S"uprised to see me! :-)

    You need to have more coffee before you post comments you know! LOL!

  3. LMAO! You know me far too well Amigo:-D