The frequently titled ‘Godfather of folk-rock’ as well and founder member of Fairport Convention, Ashley Hutchings, embarks on tour with his band, Rainbow Chasers, which kicks off at Square Chapel Centre for the Arts on Sunday 30 January.
The band launched themselves upon us back in 2003 with a short tour and their name was apparently inspired by the first Island sampler – You Can All Join In. On side two you will find the famous Fairport track: Meet on the Ledge, followed by track two: Nirvana’s (not that one! from 1968!) non-hit single Rainbow Chaser. There may be some speculation in this but as I read it in “Burning Bright – The Ashley Hutchings Story” written by Nigel Schofield I’m happy to bet money on it being true.
Musically, The Rainbow Chasers combine sophistication, virtuosity and a directness of approach to its semi-acoustic repertoire. The band’s sensitive arrangements and instrumental expertise are complemented by harmony singing and shared lead vocals. As well as incorporating elements of folk and traditional song, the band’s repertoire and musical identity draws on the classical training of vocalists Ruth Angell and Jo Hamilton.
The band’s full line-up is Ruth Angell (fiddle, guitar and vocals) and Jo Hamilton (viola, guitar and vocals) with Ashley and Joe Topping (guitar and vocals) completing the line-up.
Best known as founder of Fairport Convention, with Simon Nicol and Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings formed the band in the spring of 1967. Under Hutchings’ enthusiastic guidance, the band’s fourth LP, Liege and Lief, was drawn largely from traditional English folk music and became the album widely credited with ‘inventing’ English folk-rock. Voted the ‘Most Important Folk Album of All Time’ by BBC Radio 2 listeners in 2002, it was also voted ‘Most Influential Folk Album of All Time’ by public vote for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006.
Square Chapel Centre for the Arts
Sunday 30 January 7.30pm
Tickets £12 & £10 concessions
Box Office: 01422 349422
24 Feb. – The Brindley Arts Centre, Runcorn,Cheshire. (0151-9078360)
5 March – Wigan Parish Church (01942-824291)
16 March – Market House, Long Sutton, Lincs. (01406-424428)
17 March – Caunton Dean Community Centre, nr. Newark (01626-636523)
18 March – Colston Bassett Village Hall, Notts. (01949-81720)
19 March – Tennyson d’Eyncourt Hall, Tealby, Lincs. (01673-838130)
8 May – Raunds Festival, Northants.
Read our Joseph Topping Album Review
Anyone wanting to explore the history and music of Ashley Hutchings could do no better than delve into the great Free Reed Music boxset titled Burning Bright – The Life and Music of Ashley Hutchings. Find out more here.