As far as band shake-ups go you don’t get a more striking change than this one. The Albion Band is to get a complete re-boot for 2012 as the torch is passed to a newer generation of English folk talent. As you’d expect from founder Ashley Hutchings, he has his finger firmly on the pulse and the new line-up will bring together some of the finest musicians and singers in the UK folk scene.
The new lineup aims to recapture the spirit of the Albion Band’s heyday with a rockier, edgier approach to traditional English folk music. Taking the unique character of classic era Albion Band and fusing it with award winning song writing and a contemporary rock and indie vibe,this is the new sound 21st century English Folk-Rock.
The biggest surprise is Ashley Hutchings handing over the reins to his son, Blair Dunlop (Guitar & Vocals). Those are big shoes to fill by any stretch of the imagination not just Hutchings, but the long Albion Band legacy dating back to 1971 when Hutchings formed the band to accompany his then wife Shirley Collins. The names that have performed under the Albion banner reads like a role call of some of the best known names in English Folk: Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, John Kirkpatrick, Simon Nicol, Phil Beer, Julie Matthews, Chris While, Steve Knightley and Joe Broughton to name a few!
The new line-up will also include singer Gavin Davenport, Drummer and Producer Tom Wright, Katriona Gilmore (Fiddle, Mandolin & Vocals) and Tim Yates (Bass & Melodeon).
The band will perform self-penned, re-written and traditional material as well as re-booted Albion Band classics in what promises to be a diverse and energetic live set.
Video: The Legacy
Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy & the Albion Band : Bonny Labouring Boy.
From the 1978 UK National Theatre production of ‘Lark Rise’.
Albion Band with Maddy Prior : Banks Of The Thames
This is an excerpt of a 1979 BBC TV documentary on Ashley Hutchings and the Albion Band. It features Maddy Prior guesting with the line-up of Phil Pickett, Simon Nicol, Michael Gregory and Ashley Hutchings, from the stage production of the “Albion River Hymn”
Albion Band : Come All Ye (1979)
While one line-up of the Albion Band was settled in the National Theatre with the production of ‘Lark Rise’, Ashley Hutchings formed a completely different line-up for touring purposes. They never recorded but a few songs were filmed for a UK television special on the Albions in 1979. Melanie Harrold is on vocals with Ashley on bass, Barry Dransfield on fiddle, Dave Mattacks on drums, and three guitarists: Andy Roberts, Martin Simpson and Doug Morter.
Albion Band : One Hundred Miles (live 1993)
The Acoustic line up of Ashley Hutchings, Simon Nicol, Chris While and Ashley Reed.
Some of the New Stars
Blair Dunlop sings Canadeeio at the In Search of Nic Jones Concert, Southbank
Gavin Davenport – Shepley Spring Festival, May 2011
Katriona Gilmore performing in her current duo with Jamie Roberts