Music, talent, and friendship

Music, friends, beer, barn…

I spent an evening last week with friends at a private gig by Assembly Lane, an acoustic quartet positioned roughly where British folk music meets bluegrass. So we had renditions of Sir Patrick Spens and the Fair Flower of Northumberland among Appalachian fiddle tunes and more, all delivered with consummate musicianship and quiet humour in a packed Surrey barn. This was a special evening. Organised by the father and step mother of one of the band, two very special people, it was intended to help fund the release of their new album, and the audience was drawn from their family and friends. This made for a great atmosphere and those present were happy to be supporting the band – and likely to buy the album when it comes out.

The barn

A barn suits intimate gigs well, provided there is some protection from the rain and cold. This one was well set up, even to the fire in the brazier outside, around which clustered the smokers and vapers. Inside, the audience greeted old friends and chatted in small groups as they clutched glasses of beer and wine. The stage was set up in one corner and all attention was soon fixed on the virtuosity of Matt Ord on guitar, Niles Krieger on fiddle, Tom Kimber on mandolin and Bev Morris on bass. And attention remained fixed from the opening number right through to the encores, which ended with everyone joining in as the band played The Weight. I’m not sure if this is a regular encore number for them but it hit the spot with this audience. This was a group of talented and sensitive musicians playing a very special gig in just the right surroundings and it was a privilege to be there.

Making music

It’s been a while since I listened seriously to music of this genre, not because of any antipathy but because there’s just too much other stuff I’m focussed on. I’ll listen to more now, dig out the old vynil maybe, dust the guitar off. Whether or not that happens, I was reminded, as I watched the concentration and enjoyment of the band, that there is little more satisfying than making music. So the opportunity to do so on a regular basis is another privilege. Maybe this is a week for counting blessings?

Last word

Finally, I’d encourage anyone with any interest to buy the album when it comes out. It will be worth it. Assembly Lane are on Facebook and twitter and have a website - . Take a look.


Tony Earnshaw

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