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COOL STRUMMINGS - Lincolnshire Songwriters’ Guild

On Wednesday 26th June I ventured out on a chilled summers evening to The Priory Hotel in Louth, a beautiful hidden treasure in the gateway to the wolds. Cool Strummings is an event organised by founder of the Lincolnshire Songwriters’ Guild, and curator of all things celebrating songwriting, Alex Kyle. These events run monthly, and having played one myself I decided to go down and show my support to the talented writers being showcased at this event.

Every detail of the night reflected the true authentic feel to grassroots music, from Alex operating the PA himself, to a charity collection bucket for Let Them Eat Cake, a Lincoln-based homeless charity, to the beautiful stage wall (swirling paper flowers jumping out the wall, splashed in pinks and purples from the stage lighting)!

First up to perform was Alex Kyle himself, to ‘warm up for everyone else’ as he put it. The golden tones that came from his 12-string guitar are what make his sound so unique, along with the ingenuity of his lyrics. Alex finds the balance between serious topics and joyful song, along with grasping onto assured pathetic fallacy throughout. Alex showcases what I like to call ‘songwriter rock n roll’, and its fantastic. Currently, Alex is working on music in the studio, soon to be released!

Next up was Glenn Gibbs, sharply dressed to evoke the vintage vibe of his music (and his guitar!). The gravel tones in his voice cut through and drive the emotion of his songs even further. Glenn is a confident performer, showing us all how it’s done. His passion for original, local music, along with his nostalgic lyrics are something to be envied. Favourite Lyric: ‘Worms will dance when your body gets cold’.

Ben Hugill marked the mid-way point of the night, with his debut performance as a rapper/singer. From the off, Ben’s style was distinct and true to himself, delving into topics clearly very meaningful to Ben, such as the effects of the media and a rap about his late friend Aidan, who sadly passed away recently. His stream-of-consciousness rapping style draws from personal experience to create witty lines. Ben’s confidence boosted with every round of applause and it only goes on from here!

Phil Thomson’s wholesome ‘Nashville’ feeling was truly mesmerising. In his songs he shares his wisdom, in a bluesy and wistful manner. His line ‘The blues is gonna get you before long’ is true - it really did! Favourite Lyric: ‘Days they fall like fire, the lost become the found, I’ll embrace that feeling just this time around’. Phil has albums on Bandcamp, available to download.

A running thread I’ve noticed with all of our songwriters tonight is their ability to be so vulnerable and frank in their songs. It brings such a quality of authenticity which defines grassroots music, and it’s what makes this so special. I admire the simplicity in their statements, and sometimes that’s the best way to do things.

Homeless & Blue are a duo comprised of Keri and Mick, who together create a partnership that is so natural. The vulnerability in their lyrics is something to be applauded, delving into topics such as mental health and the effects of illness. It is something people can so readily resonate with, and Keri and Mick really connected with their audience an each other throughout their performance. Filling the room, Keri’s voice was rich and full-bodied, which contrasted so nicely with Mick’s guitar accompaniment.

To top off the night, KS Music performed a set, with Kathy taking up bass for the first time in a live setting. From the first note they played there was an eerie yet intriguing atmosphere filling the room, coming from Kathy’s drone bass notes. This was balanced so well with Steve’s intricate guitar picking, joining together to lay the foundations for soothing melody to glide over the top of.

All in all, attending this songwriters’ evening re-confirmed all passion and drive to promote and support writers and emerging artists like these. You can find these artists on Facebook and Instagram, and many of the acts from this evening perform regularly around the county. The Priory Hotel also hosts a multitude of live music nights, really supporting artists from the ground up. Every other Monday, they host an ‘open stage night’, giving talent from the area a chance to shine! This is hosted by another up-and-coming writer Ant McAndrew.

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