April 21 – Hoedown Band rehearsal

Most of the day is taken up with a Hoedown Band rehearsal. We’re doing an important gig on May 7th in Aylesbury (a Bar Mitzvah!) and we’re getting the new ‘dep’ bass player up to speed.

The Hoedown Band arose out of a gig that we did back in 2007 when a wedding client asked use to play a set of country and western material as part of their wedding celebration. Andrew King was playing bass for me at the time and he introduced a jazz singer called Martyna who also was into new country. The set went down very well and was very enjoyable to play.

When the banking meltdown occured later the same year I realised that the wedding entertainment sector – which is a pretty high priced market – was propably going to take a dive. I can remember hearing the news report about the government taking over Lloyds Bank on the way back from a gig near Arundel. I pretty much decided then that I’d have to diversify musically and one strand of this was to look at doing more non-wedding gigs.

One market that I really hadn’t addressed was pubs and clubs so I thought that I’d try and get something together to address this sector. It seemed to me at the time that this area was awash with ‘covers’ acts and that the country approach might be a road less travelled. Although I’d discussed the idea of doing this kind of thing with a few people for high profile function gigs – after gigging with Infantasia at a military base – this was to be something aimed at an entirely different market/price bracket.

Musically, the roots of American Country music isn’t all that different from the folk / rock music that drew me into music performance in the first place. It all derived originally from old time music which in turn was derived from folk music from the Appalachian Mountains. The very same Appalachian Mountains that Cecil Sharp toured collecting English folk songs in the 1920s. There’s always been a lot of crossover between the north american and British folk song revivals both in content and style – demonstated on a regular basis by Mike Harding’s Radio 2 folk programme. 

A couple of years later the Hoedown band is starting to get booked for more gigs than MoonDance, though in turns out thtat the club / pub market are not prepared to pay anywhere near a decent fee for their music (see my earlier blog “A new decade of music making“). However, as we are one of the few bands in the UK that can do songs, hoedown and line-dance we seem to be getting more function gigs. Such is life…

I still want address the pub/club scene if only for mid-week gigs. Cue Heywood’s Heroes

About Brian Heywood

Brian Heywood is a free range musician who specialises in edgy roots / country / celtic fusion music. Previous work has received comments such as "... aggressive, top notch fiddling set off by periodic guitar explosions." - Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen Magazine (USA), "Just when it seemed as if newer electric British roots bands were getting thinner on the ground - Very welcome and very good." - fROOTS Magazine (UK) and Steve Barnes Fairbridge Festival Artistic Director (Australia) - "... a rocking band - I was delighted with the audience response."
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