Country Blues => Saturday Night Fish Fry => Topic started by: Norfolk Slim on June 05, 2011, 10:15:04 AM

Title: Nunney Acoustic Cafe
Post by: Norfolk Slim on June 05, 2011, 10:15:04 AM
I doubt anyone reading this lives close enough to Nunney in South East Somerset to actually attend this event, but I went for the first time today and wanted to share the experience and set up- which is fantastic, and in an ideal world would be copied and spread amongst small towns and villages throughout the UK...

In short, the first Sunday of every month sees the Nunney Acoustic Cafe set up in the village hall.  Stage, decent lighting and sound rig, lots of tables- kick off at 2pm.

The host did a few numbers, followed by various open micers taking 15 minute slots, covering a range of styles and even a bizarre pair of Ghanaian instruments, the name of which escapes me.  Then a local band (3 lad s of about 17, with a bass, semi acoustic guitar and a cajon rhythm box) played a very slick and enjoyable 30 minute set.  After that, a visiting artist got a longer set (fellow named Patrick Plunkett- very polished. good voice, bit one paced and gentle for my taste, but clearly talented).

The joy of it all is the informal family setting.  An adjacent room had arts and crafts kit and supervision for any kids who were fed up with the noise the grown ups were making, but all the kids were simply encouraged to potter about, dance, or just go off and do their own thing.  Totally family / kid friendly and none the worse for it.

Decent food at cheap prices, lots of home made cakes, bar with bottled ales and draught cider, and a really friendly welcoming vibe.   There are free newspapers scattered around the place as well- a perfect Sunday afternoon with a drink, a cake, and a paper- which just happens to have constant live music too.  The afternoon usually runs from about 2 to around 5.30, but its going on longer today because its their fifth anniversary and they have another guest coming to play a featured set- Jane Taylor.  I had to get home so am missing her which is a shame.

Anyway- I did a slot, which is probably my first ever real public performance to an audience that was (1) more than half a dozen people; (2) actually listening; and (3) not made up of fellow guitarists/ blues enthusiasts who I largely know.

I did, Black Mountain Blues, Hard time blues (scrapper), Hey Hey and 99 year blues.  Didnt disgrace myself- and will do it again some time.  Nerves were okay.  I just let me hands get too tense, which slowed them down a bit and, more crucially, meant my fingers literally just ran out of strength and started cramping up mid way though 99 years...  Muddled through without (I hope) it being apparent, but had to back off a bit from how Id usually like to play it...

  Next time, Ill hope to relax into it better!

Anyway- anyone with the time and inclination to set something up like this should really do so- itis a fantastic, low key village setup which is seemingly very popular and a great place to meet and listen.




Title: Re: Nunney Acoustic Cafe
Post by: Parlor Picker on June 06, 2011, 01:51:28 AM
Thanks for the report, Simon. Glad to hear you played (you can do it!).

Sounds like a good format. Long may it continue.
Title: Re: Nunney Acoustic Cafe
Post by: Rivers on June 17, 2011, 06:20:51 PM
It's not often the county of my birth gets mentioned in a country blues context, so that was great for me personally.
Glad you had a good one, and good luck to the Nunneys, long may they prosper.

That picking hand cramping thing on stage: Totally relate to it. You might already know this but here goes. My solution (after I'd finally mastered them) was a thumbpick and steel fingerpicks. You don't have to play so hard, and there's no need to crank the PA into feedback zone since you have so much more headroom, = dynamic range. I think of them in the same way when considering sneakers versus a good pair of boots when heading off into the wilderness.

I play bare fingers most of the time but on stage, no, never. I need the bigger range or my hand is dead after one and a half songs. A couple of experiences of hand cramping early in a set followed by the need to lay back and not play how I felt I wanted to play in order to get through to the end was the final thing that pushed me into getting comfortable with picks, after years of half-hearted dabbling.

Interestingly, I can put on picks after months of not practicing with them and not even think about it, in fact enjoy them, very much like riding a bike. So once you 'plateau' with them you have them in your kitbag for life, to use or not as you choose. I strongly recommend it.

Your mileage, as they say, may vary. This subject tends to elicit various views so I expect there will be some dissent and no doubt further off-topic veerage. So be it!  >:D
Title: Re: Nunney Acoustic Cafe
Post by: Richard on June 19, 2011, 09:09:02 AM
NS, there's also what remains of Nunney Castle there somewhere, probably just pile of rocks by now.

Pretty down that away isn't it, so maybe next time I'm over we should invade them properly! So Harvey, are you out there? Would you lend me your lap machine for the afternoon and since you get a mention and I think of it how did you get on with my diy vid?
Title: Re: Nunney Acoustic Cafe
Post by: Norfolk Slim on June 20, 2011, 02:22:53 AM
You can see the castle from the village hall car park Richard...

Rivers- I can see what you are saying about picks.  I do use them sometimes, but have never been able to get the required accuracy for some songs whilst wearing them.  Particularly playing the more intricate alt bass stuff. 

They have a summer break now, so I shant be back there until September- but I'll have to see if it gets easier...
Title: Re: Nunney Acoustic Cafe
Post by: Richard on June 21, 2011, 01:45:39 PM
Slim, make a post when it's back on.
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