Great folk & bluegrass gigs in November

There’s loads going on in the next month in the north of England (and across the UK) in terms of live music from some exceptional acoustic, folk and bluegrass artists. November is packed with interesting gigs, and although I’m only formally promoting one of them, I still want to support and spread the word about the other great bands touring. Check out the following, book some tickets and get out there and support live music – it’ll make the wet, dark days that much easier to bear! Click on any of the linked names to visit the artist websites and find tour dates and ticket links.

First up, the fabulous April Verch Band from Canada/USA will be touring the UK in early November, from London right up to Shetland and True North Music will be presenting them in Sheffield next Sunday, 8th November at The Greystones. Phenomenal fiddling, super step dancing and more – April Verch ticket link here.

Progressive bluegrass band Front Country from northern California are also starting an extensive UK tour next week, kicking off in Southport on Weds 4th November.  This band, fronted by Melody Walker and her big bluesy voice, has a really interesting sound and they certainly have quite a buzz around them at the moment, including kudos from BBC R2’s Bob Harris.

One of my favourite singers, former Crooked Still frontwoman Aoife O’Donovan, will be back touring in the UK in late January with her band, but she also has a couple of solo gigs happening down south on 4th and 5th November. Now branching out from her bluegrass/folk roots into a more eclectic mix of sounds, Aoife is a hugely charismatic and talented singer and songwriter. She’s also a sought after collaborator who’s worked with Chris Thile, LAU, Mary Chapin Carpenter among many others, and recently featured in the fabulous trio I’m With Her alongside Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins. Bound for greatness if there’s any justice in this world.

North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange defy easy categorisation but their classy blend of folk and old time country blues influences is a little reminiscent of Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Lovely harmonies, gorgeous picking on guitar, fiddle and mandolin….what’s not to love? They are playing only a few dates in the UK from 11-15 November – catch them if you can!

Banjo power couple Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn are currently taking their show to continental Europe after appearing on both Later with Jools and Woman’s Hour on the BBC this week! Bela and Abigail will be combining their contrasting styles of banjo wizardry (along with Abi’s amazing voice) in their UK gigs – they’ll be here from Friday 13th November, for a handful of dates including the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds on that night.

Although they don’t fit into my usual Americana preferences, stunningly accomplished folk supergroup LAU are also well worth seeing, and will be on tour across the UK through almost the whole month of November. The lads are themselves fans of some of my favourite American artists – here they are with the above mentioned Aoife O’Donovan guesting on harmony vocals.