Live and Local – Friday March 31st 2023

Ashley Hutchings, with Becky Mills and Blair Dunlop

St Michaels Village Hall was fully booked for this much anticipated Live and Local production, with Ashley Hutchings, one of the best-known performers on the British folk music scene. On this occasion, he was accompanied by Becky Mills, a fine singer songwriter in her own right, and also by Ashley’s very talented son, Blair Dunlop.

The first half of the evening started with a song each, by Blair and Becky, showcasing not only their own writing and performance skills, but also just how varied and entertaining “folk music” can be. The rest of the first half consisted of excerpts from Ashley Hutching’s double album of prose and music “Paradise and Thorns”. As you may guess from the title, the songs and words were written to display the many forms which love can take – the joys, heartaches, the anticipation and excitement, and sadly, sometimes the pain of lost love. Ashley told the audience that much of this album was written directly from his own experiences. This probably explained why his song lyrics about early sixties dance floors brought back so many memories to the audience!

The second half contained more great music, some individually from Blair and Becky and also from the three combining to entertain with a wide range of styles. Ashley has played with Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and the Albion Band and we were treated to an evening of high-quality folk music and thought provoking and entertaining prose.

It is a tribute to the Live and Local organisers, that this format so often manages to attract top quality performers in so many varied forms – music, theatre, comedy etc. Once again, here in St Michaels we were treated in our own back yard to an evening of first-rate entertainment.