Come Down and Meet The Folks – 20 Year Celebration

July 31, 2016
The Apple Tree, London

On a balmy summer Sunday, the backstreets of Clerkenwell’s business district were deserted, save for one crowded pub. A community of musicians and music lovers gathered together to celebrate twenty years of Come Down and Meet The Folks.

Back in the mid-90s, when the mainstream was ‘alternative,’ CDAMTF began to showcase the timeless beauty of folk, Americana and country music. It has moved many times but it’s still going strong.

What better way to celebrate two decades than a seven hour music marathon?

Alan Tyler and Big Steve corralled CDAMTF regulars, including The Redlands Palomino Company, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Emily Barker, and a surprise performance by Danny and one Champ.

Here’s a front-row view of that raucous night.

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Hosts Alan Tyler and Big Steve Pulford, who you may know from The Rockingbirds and The Arlenes and from their solo work, kicked the night off in style.

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The packed crowd of friends and collaborators sang along with songs like Tradesman’s Blues and Blue Man, as well as Dark River, about “the river that followed Come Down and Meet The Folks around.”

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“I moved back from America because America was going a bit weird”
– Big Steve

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Bands switched over at lightning speed throughout the day, with retro music maestro Jon the Boatman on hand to spin singalong tracks at the first hint of any delay.

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Country duo Robert Chaney and Laura Tenschert were the first special guests.

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“That’s actually how we got together, we wrote this [argument] song together”
– Laura Tenschart

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“She’s grown up with us and she’s doing good”

 A fitting introduction to Emily Barker, for who returning to CDAMTF is something of a homecoming.  It’s where she met her closest friends and collaborators when she first arrived in London from Australia.

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In tribute, she sang Home – the first song she ever performed at Come Down and Meet The Folks.

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Emily Barker was then joined by Amy Speace and Amber Rubarth, the remaining members of Americana trio Applewood Road.

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Just as they had at Glastonbury, on The Marr Show, and on tour with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Applewood Road wowed the crowd with rich renditions of originals like Old Time Country Song, Give Me Love and the a cappella gem Applewood Road.

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“This wasn’t a folk song but I think it should be”
– Amber Rubarth on R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion

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Next up was Steven James Adams, formerly of The Broken Family Band. He treated the folky gathering like an extreme metal show, and it worked!

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“I dress in black because it feels good”
– Steven James Adams

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“I’m finally back above Emily [Barker] on the bill!”
– Steven James Adams

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The packed crowd of friends and family next went crazy as Danny George Wilson and Paul Lush of Danny and the Champions of the World took the stage for a surprise performance.

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The all-too-short set included sing-along, stomp-along, award-winning Champs classics such as (Never Stop Building) The Old Space Rocket, Every Beat of My Heart, and Clear Water.

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You buy one Champ, you get one free…

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Much was made of performers growing with CDAMTF.  None more so than Kitty, Daisy and Lewis Durham of the descriptively named Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. They first performed at CDAMTF 17 years ago, when Kitty was just seven years old.

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Here they were back with retro charm and a touch of ska and the Delta blues, delivered with huge grins and playful sibling antagonism.

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“Then we’d get a Chinese and watch Midsomer Murders”
The Durham family’s post-CDAMTF, post-rehearsal ritual

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It was a real family affair as they swapped instruments and vocal duties with ease, and their parents backed them up on bass and guitar.

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All good things must end and the night proceedings were closed out by The Redlands Palomino Company.  With seven performers crammed on stage at times, the set encapsulated the talent, passion and camaraderie of CDAMTF.

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“You sing whatever makes you happy”

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Here’s to another twenty years of Come Down and Meet The Folks!

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Like what you see? There are many more photos of the show over on Flickr. Follow me there for over 2,000 concert photos and future updates. Please also follow me on Facebook, on Twitter @redrospective, and here on WordPress for music photography, reviews and news.

Want more photos? Try my new travel, nature and street photography website, Out To The Streets!

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