Live listening music in cosy venues
“It's a delight to play here. Long may it continue.” John Doyle.
“This is a great venue. I have really, really enjoyed playing here.” Martin Simpson.
“I really like this little venue.” Pierre Bensusan.
“Martin Simpson has transcended borders and oceans to quietly become a superb storyteller and musician of great depth and unquestionable taste.” Stephen Fearing
The remarkable intimate solo performances Martin gives go from strength to strength - every gig is a masterclass. He travels the length and breadth of the UK and beyond, giving rapt audiences passion, sorrow, love, beauty, tragedy and majesty through his playing.
“What’s it like being the best guitar player in the world…?” Martin’s modesty and grace prevented him from answering this BBC Radio 4 interviewer’s question recently, but the facts speak for themselves.
40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976, Martin is known as a guitarist of formidable talent. Equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.
He is listed in Gibson Guitars’ Top 30 Acoustic Guitarists of all time, and Acoustic Guitar readers voted him number 12 guitarist in the world in 2005.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, and a fine banjo-picker to boot, his solo shows bear witness to an artist at the very top of his game. Whether interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. His own songwriting produced the poignant ‘Never Any Good’, from Prodigal Son, 2007’s Folk Album of the Year.
Martin continues to collaborate with a dazzling array of people from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons are among the great musicians he has worked with.
In recent years, he has been a lynchpin in the award-winning Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and, in 2015, recorded Murmurs, an exciting new album with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr.
He has had the most nominations of any performer in the 15 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an astonishing 31 times, 12 of those as Musician of the Year, winning that particular accolade twice.
A virtuoso player without question, but above all Martin Simpson conveys his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art.
“Martin is in a class of his own. He is such an expressive player; he is ingenious in his use of the guitar. You can listen to one of his songs and three or four minutes in, he has only used the top four strings and not even played a bass note yet, and when he does, it feels like an orchestra coming in. His clarity of playing is just amazing.” Jackson Browne
“One of the virtuoso instrumentalists of the English music scene” ‘Sounds better than ever’ **** 4 Stars The Guardian
“Simpson has become a fine interpreter of traditional and other songs, as well as a notable writer of his own.” The Times
‘Simpson’s latest is a potent blend of the highest calibre…Simpson has never sung or played better’ Acoustic Magazine
‘One of our finest traditional musicians, Simpson’s latest album offers a roving overview of his talents’ **** 4 Stars Uncut
‘An excellent collection of material drawn from both sides of the Atlantic handled with loving care by Simpson and aided by some of the biggest names in folk’ **** 4 Stars Maverick
The Ale House
The Ale House is a delightful and intimate concert venue, with warm acoustics.
Despite its name, there are no bar facilities at The Ale House and events there do not normally make alcoholic drinks available for sale. Most events, however, are bring-your-own. Wine glasses are made available.
The absence of a bar also has the highly desirable effect of ensuring the ‘pindrop’ atmosphere is maintained, with audiences intent only on the music.
In the 16th Century The Ale House was a place to serve ale to the parishioners of Colwall after church services. Nowadays, while having all modern facilities, it retains its ancient charm, with oak beams and leaded windows.
It is situated adjacent to St James the Great Church in Colwall. From the main B4218 going through the main part of Colwall, turn down Mill Lane, which is just north of the railway bridge. Go past Colwall Village Hall and the church is about half a mile further down the lane.
Park in the large car park next to the church and walk through the churchyard to the Ale House.
For reasons of safety parking is not allowed immediately adjacent to the building.
The Ale House is fully equipped for wheelchair access.
There is a pull-in space by the main door at the south end of the building (shown in the picture) for drop-off.