We are thrilled to welcome one of the most exciting cross-genre bands to emerge in recent years to headline our May concert.
CUP O'JOE is a progressive bluegrass and folk band founded and based in Northern Ireland by three siblings, Tabitha, Benjamin and Reuben Agnew, and later joined by Tabitha’s husband David Benedict. Their unique mix of original compositions and re-imagined traditional songs paired with their lively performances has given them a growing presence in the acoustic music scene surrounding Ireland, The United Kingdom, Mainland Europe, and beyond.
Their quartet lineup features tight sibling harmonies, tasteful arrangements, compelling originals and virtuosic solos. Tabitha Benedict brings her unique style of banjo playing and delicate vocals to the group, which were both recognised by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association). She holds the 2020 Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year Award. Her sensitive and tasteful touch on both banjo and lead vocals blends effortlessly with her bandmates. Reuben Agnew’s frenetic guitar breaks, rhythmic drive, and unwavering vocals make him another pillar of this group’s sound. Both Tabitha and Reuben are songwriters with a rare understanding of their own creations and what they want the listener to hear. David Benedict, the newest addition to the group, is a mandolin player of the first order. His leading style of playing is described as "thoughtful, elegant and tastefully complex". Winner of the IBMA Momentum Award for Mandolin in 2018, his mandolin playing is intricately sophisticated, while also being well established in the deep understanding of the instrument's heritage and early sounds. He plays like he has been with the group since the very start, slotting in on the backbeat effortlessly. Benjamin Agnew beats out the all-important bass tones and lead vocals--oftentimes giving the impression he wandered on to stage by accident, but flawlessly holding the backbone of the music.
In January 2020 they released In The Parting which features nine original songs and one reimagined traditional song from their native Ulster. This new album embodies their fresh new original sounds of progressive bluegrass and Irish folk roots. For several tracks they are joined on fiddle by Niall Murphy (Breaking Trad, Cara Dillon, Nathan Carter) as well as Josh Clark, Dave Molloy and Eilidh Patterson. Most recently they have released their first collection of Christmas songs, in their five-track EP, Christmas Kin. This short but sweet collection displays a refreshing take on several holiday favourites including In The Bleak Midwinter and Holly Jolly Christmas, as well as the traditional carols Sussex Carol and The Holly Bears a Berry.
Opening the evening’s entertainment will be CHARLIE LIMM. Charlie is a musician, composer and actor currently based in Bristol. She brings haunting vocals, guitar and flute to the mix infused with classic 70's folk vibes. "A high delicate voice with a talent for storytelling, Charlie charms everyone in the place," says our review from last time she was here.
Following the release of Charlie's first EP Heart to Shore back in 2019, Charlie has supported the likes of Kim Lowings, Midnight Skyracer, The Magpies and Kirsty Merryn, and has performed at various festivals and venues around the country including local festivals such as Tangled Roots, Bristol Harbour Festival and The Bristol Folk House. She is currently self-releasing her second EP titled Falling Every Time that was recorded in Greenmount Studios in Leeds, and she may even have some sneaky preview copies available at the gig!
Tickets for the event, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 20th May 2022, are available online at HERE and from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Don't forget you can buy in advance with absolute confidence; if you are unable to make the concert because you test positive for Covid-19, you can transfer your ticket to any future concert at Downend Folk Club (terms & conditions apply, see ticket page). You can also buy a 'Season Ticket', which includes the concerts in May, June and July and costs a little less.
There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from the Hambrook-based HOP UNION BREWERY (formerly GWB). Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard/bucket, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of our drive to be more environmentally aware. There is a 50p discount for those bringing their own receptacles. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstock-based GREAT CAKE COMPANY, as well as the 'stealth raffle' which helps to fund the emerging artists that open each concert, like Charlie (above).