On Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin‘s last album Watershed, the award-winning duo explored the idea of a modern folk tale – drawing on personal experience to create edgier, grittier material whilst retaining an ‘everyman’ empathy. If anything, this shift from the historical figures and events that peopled their previous album Mynd, demonstrated a willingness to explore. They are not afraid to let their growing influences lead their musical instincts, something they touched upon in their in-depth interview with Folk Radio UK here.
With this in mind, their latest Out of the Ordinary Tour announcement, whilst sounding extraordinary, is a fantastic concept that really suits this unique duo…what better than being able to perform in places which have personal histories woven into their very fabric.
The 10-date Out of the Ordinary tour (May 10-27) will see the award-winning pair weaving their musical wizardry across England and Wales, performing at some totally unpredictable locations. Churches will jostle with caverns, Iron Age roundhouses with ancient hostelries, steam museums with labyrinthine Liverpool tunnels as they perform in 10 different counties from Cornwall to Co.Durham.
Says Hannah: “We are really looking forward to taking our music to these magical places. We have always drawn on many musical styles and regional influences so it seemed apt to seek out some of the more unusual places that have shaped our island’s rich and diverse history.
“Some of the venues are part of our industrial heritage, like the Great Western Railway Steam Museum; then there are mysterious places created for unknown reasons like the Williamson Tunnels – and all human life is in the fabrics of these buildings, from convicts to philanthropists.”
Out of the Ordinary Tour kicks off at Cardiff’s Norwegian Church on Wednesday, May 10 and finishes over the late May Bank Holiday at Buster Ancient Farm in Hampshire.
Out of the Ordinary Tour – The Venues
• Norwegian Church, Cardiff – A landmark building on Cardiff Bay. Under the patronage of the Norwegian Seaman’s Mission, the 1868 Lutheran church provided a place of worship for Scandinavian sailors and the Norwegian community in the Welsh capital for over 100 years.
• Derby Gaol – The cells of this gaol which stood on Friar Gate from 1756-1846 still exist and the building is open to the public. The gaol was the site of many hangings and the building is allegedly haunted. It has featured on Living TV’s Most Haunted TV series and is run by paranormal investigator Richard Felix
• Williamson Tunnels – a labyrinth of tunnels in Edge Hill area of Liverpool built under the direction of eccentric businessman Joseph Williamson between 1810-1840 for no apparent reason. They remained derelict until archaeological investigations were carried out in 1995. Now part of the tunnels is open to the public as a heritage centre.
• Cruck Barn, Appletreewick, Yorkshire – In 2006 the heather-thatched oak-beamed cruck barn in Wharfedale (part of The Craven Arms) was the first of its kind to be built since the time of Henry VIII. Cruck barns were farm buildings used to house livestock and store animal feed.
• GWR Steam Museum, Swindon – This museum of the Great Western Railway is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II railway building in the heart of the former Swindon railway works. It tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the GWR, often referred to as “God’s Wonderful Railway”.
• Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall – Man-made caverns formed as part of a slate quarry in the Loveny Valley, near Liskeard. In recent years it has been used as an unusual concert venue for bands including Fairport Convention and British Sea Power.
• Lion Salt Works, Cheshire – The last remaining open pan salt works at Marston near Northwich, Cheshire closed in 1986 but is now preserved as a museum
• The Witham, Barnard Castle – The Witham Testimonial Hall was built by public subscription as a memorial to Henry T.M. Witham of Lartington, a palaeobotanist and philanthropist who had strived to make provision for the medical and educational needs of Barnard Castle before his death in 1844. The building, which opened in 1846, housed the Mechanics’ Institute and a Dispensary for the Relief of the Sick Poor. By 1860, a large music hall had been built to the rear of the Testimonial Building, whilst the premises later incorporated several small cottages in Hall Street. Together these buildings became known as The Witham – now a community arts centre full of character.
• Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire – Steeped in history, it was originally built in the early 15th century by a local farmer named Byrd and remained in the same family until 1977.The last descendant, Miss Lola Taplin, a formidable character remembered by the locals, bequeathed the hostelry to the National Trust.
• Butser Ancient Age Farm, nr Petersfield, Hampshire – Within the South Downs National Park, the farm displays constructions of ancient buildings based on real sites, dating from the Stone Age through the Iron Age and Roman Britain, finishing with the Anglo-Saxons. The site workers also grow crops from prehistory and keep rare breeds of animals including pigs, sheep and goats. The concert will take place in the atmospheric Iron Age Round House.
Out of the Ordinary Tour Dates
10/05: Norwegian Church Arts Centre
Harbour Drive, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF10 4PA
11/05: Derby Old Gaol
50-51 Friar Gate, Derby, Derbyshire DE1 1DF
12/05: The Williamson Tunnels
The Old Stable Yard, Smithdown Lane, Liverpool,
13/05: The Craven Arms Pub & Cruck Barn
Appletreewick, Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire. BD 23 6DA
19/05: Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway
Fire Fly Avenue Swindon Wiltshire SN2 2EY
20/05: Carnglaze Caverns
St Neots, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 6HQ
24/05: Lion Salt Works
Ollershaw Lane, Marston, Northwich CW9 6ES
25/05: The Witham
3 Horse Market, Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8LY
26/05: The Fleece Inn
The Cross, Bretforton, Evesham, Worcestershire. WR11 7JE
27/05: The Great Roundhouse, Butser Ancient Farm
Charlton Lane Charlton Waterlooville PO8 0BG