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Sunday 20 October 2019 @ 02:00pm :  -
Kirsty McGee & Ben Bedford

Kirsty McGee & Ben Bedford

Acclaimed songwriters Kirsty McGee $ Ben Bedford present an intimate & memorable live show with tales from both sides of the Atlantic.

Somewhere between Jazz, Folk, Gospel and Americana there’s an area of music that doesn’t have a name. With a cartographer’s attention to detail, Kirsty McGee – a wandering maverick and spellbinding live performer with a voice that has been described as having the texture of smoke & velvet – has spent the past fifteen years and seven albums mapping this place, tracking the common origins of song.

McGee’s output seeks to satisfy a ravenous musical curiosity which has taken her from the midnight watermelon sellers of Odessa, Ukraine to The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and the coarse, hot sand of the Mojave Desert. Her quiet revolution has gained her national airplay, well over a decade of touring, radio play listing and sessions plus multiple awards and nominations.

Fans include Emma Watson and Danny Boyle, for whose 2014 thriller Trance the song Sandman provided a cornerstone, both in its original version and covered by lead actress Rosario Dawson.

A one-time hitch hiker and activist, Kirsty McGee defines hobopop – a noun she has used to describe her music since setting up her own label in 2007 – as “music of no fixed abode”. Her fluid and ever-changing band The Hobopop Collective came together in the same year, drawing together players from both sides of the Atlantic who share the singer’s passion for musical vagrancy. Guests & regular players have included Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), Rob Turner and Nick Blacka (GoGo Penguin), and Clive Mellor (Richard Hawley Band).

After releasing a trio of folk tinged early albums and exploring New Orleans rhythms in The Kansas Sessions (2008) McGee’s first band album No.5 (2009) won Best Live Album in the Independent Music Awards’ 2010 Vox Pop vote. Contraband (2012) showcased a collection of love songs so delicate you were afraid that not listening gently enough might damage them. By contrast, Those Old Demons (2014) – clatters its way to your ears in a joyful and irreverent melée of devil-songs, the enjoyment in which it is impossible to miss. Dirty blues, cubist shuffle, neo jazz and wry noir.


"The words drip with meaning. This breathlessly fragile and aching collection almost drowns in McGee's absolute need to sing." ~ Q ★★★★/span>

"A fascinating talent." ~ Clash/span>

"One of the most beautiful yet gutsy voices on the English folk scene." ~ Bearded/span>

"Rich, versatile and immaculately controlled." ~ Americana-UK/span>

"Absolutely superb, memorable... I love her songs." ~ Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2/span>

"Bewitching, exquisite and skeletal." ~ Q ★★★★/span>

"A quiet triumph." ~ fRoots/span>

"Confident and earthy - one to watch." ~ Uncut/span>

Hailing from Illinois, for 12 years Ben has toured his vivid, stark tales across America, Europe and beyond. His soft-voiced poetry and captivating guitar work has led to him being compared to such luminaries as Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan and John Prine. Last year, his highly acclaimed 5th album The Hermit's Spyglass was released and he was named one of the six Kerrville New Folk winners at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.


"There is a deeper, more resonant sound to his guitar playing which, like the music per se, evokes thoughts of Bruce Cockburn." ~ Mike Davies, Folk Radio-UK

"His spyglass is sharp and undistorted and his playing exemplary..." ~ Jeremy Searle, Maverick Magazine

"With Bedford, neither narrative nor rhyme is ever forced. His evocative lyrics present the living and the dead, the past and the present alongside all the twists and turns that design life…Despite his relative youth, his music is remarkably old soul-like." ~ Kevin McCarthy, Folk Music Ramblings

"...a kind of magical realism to the people and places..." ~ Roy Kasten, The Riverfront Times-St. Louis

"If you’re in search of fresh and original talent, listen no further than Ben Bedford." ~ Rich Warren, Sing Out!

"Nu traditional folkie that writes his songs from the literature tradition loaded with dark edge that certainly speaks to the times. With a killer voice that fits the format like a glove, everything here keeps you riveted if you don’t have ants in your pants and can appreciate music you sit and listen to. Strong enough that it won’t let you multitask as it plays in the background, you can bet Townes Van Zandt is smiling his blessing on this third outing for Bedford." ~ Chris Spector, Midwest Record

"Here’s yet another example of an artist who’s already several albums down the line before I get to hear his music, and instantly prompting a ‘how and why have I missed out on such a talent?’ reaction." ~ David Kidman, FATEA UK

"The Illinois songwriter is a masterful storyteller who can turn what seem like obscure historical references for engaging tales rife with vivid, stark imagery." ~ Erik Ernst, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Back to Bedford’s guitar playing; for someone who isn’t Richard Thompson or indeed Bert Jansch on the beautiful instrumentals ‘Thunderstorm’ and ‘Quiet on the Green Hill’ he manages to captivate and intrigue without ever singing a word." ~ The Rocking Magpie

"Beautiful and unusual songs that take the listener to the heart of the matter." ~ Diana Jones, singer-songwriter

" I see Ben as one of the best songwriter-storytellers in the business right now." ~ Betsi Meissner, KXCI-Tucson, Arizona

"Ben Bedford has proven himself to be a truly inspired and talented storyteller." ~ Arthur Wood, Maverick Magazine

"To me there's something special about a songwriter who in a few words paints pictures of unbelievable depth and clarity. Ben Bedford to me is something special!" ~ No Depression

" of America’s truest notions of an artist..." ~ Joe Knipe, Artree-UK

"A brilliant songwriter and performer." ~ Ed Becker, KDHX-St. Louis

"...with echoes too of Paul Simon's soulful songcraft and Loudon Wainwright's narrative force." ~ Sue Wilson, The Scotsman