Old Church Theatre

The Magpies

It has only been a short space of time since The Magpies burst onto the UK folk scene, but they have already made a huge impression with their fresh brand of transatlantic neo-folk and have been ‘making waves wherever they play’ (Phil Beer, Show of Hands).

Based on a deeply felt musical friendship, The Magpies work collaboratively, arranging material led by powerful vocals and glittering instrumental ornamentation. They each draw on their wide-ranging influences to create a unique blend of transatlantic folk, transporting audiences to distant lands and capturing imaginations with their enthralling live show.

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Three accomplished musicians in their own right, The Magpies is a combination far greater than the sum of its parts. Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award winning guitarist, banjo-player and singer Bella Gaffney is known for her folk inspired songs which she performs along with her own original arrangements of traditional pieces. Said to be ‘one of the best banjo players in the country’ (Dan Walsh), clawhammer banjo player and singer Kate Griffin’s compositions fuse influences from the British Isles, America and India. And acclaimed fiddle-player Holly Brandon is an ‘ingenious tunesmith’ (Living Tradition), with roots in traditional English music, but with influences from Eastern Europe to Quebec, she creates a distinctly borderless and progressive sound.

In their live performances The Magpies have been exceptionally well-received. Their first year as a band in 2018 saw them perform at festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and on main stages at Wickham Festival, Towersey Festival and Deer Shed Festival. 2019 saw their first international shows, with showcases at Folk Alliance International in Montreal, a successful tour in Ireland and performances at Costa del Folk in Portugal. And the summer saw many more festival performances including Glastonbury, Larmer Tree, Warwick and Shambala.

Their debut album – Tidings – was released in June 2020 to critical acclaim. A rich and varied showcase of their live sound, the album draws on a range of influences and delivers a sound that can only be described as contemporary. A huge range of exquisite instrumentation on mandolin, guitar, fiddle, cello, bouzouki and banjo provide a thrilling canvas on which they paint their stories. The album is full of songs which explore uniquely female experiences in unpredictable and surprising ways. From the transformation and sorcery of the traditional ballad The Two Magicians, to lost love, murder and suicide in the original Run River Run, The Magpies bring a fresh voice to the current milieu. As well as drawing on their experiences as women, the material is also deeply rooted in the traditions of their native Yorkshire.

‘One of those effervescent albums you’d be happy to recommend to people who might not consider themselves folk fans’ – The Sunday Times

‘Folk with finesse’ – The Daily Mail

‘Check that album out! Really good mix of songs and instrumentals – they’re great players!’ – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2


Spencer & Oscar Evans

Father and son career musicians Spencer and Oscar Evans once again return to the Old Church for an afternoon of elegant and eclectic songs featuring dynamic vocalist Tyson Sullivan.

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With roots in the Quinte area(son of veteran reporter/performer Jack) Spencer has been a sought-after keyboardist/clarinetist and entertainer for three decades, touring around Europe and North America, and regularly in Kingston Ontario, working with Cowboy Junkies, Sarah Harmer, Jill Barber, the Good Lovelies, Jeff Healey, Willie P. Bennett, Pat Temple to name a few.
Spencer and Oscar recently completed original work for the Grand Theatre Arts residency in Kingston as well as performing at the Blue Skies Music Festival last summer.
With Tyson Sullivan(guitar, percussion and vocals)they have an ensemble called the Mourning Doves, with some compelling original material as well as beautiful renditions of Great American Songbook repertoire such as Serenade in Blue, Autumn in New York, Stardust, and Stella By Starlight. Oscar will be playing Flugelhorn and acoustic Bass.

Rube & Rake

Rube & Rake’s new album begins with an ode to family and friends— togetherness—as Josh Sandu declares, against a hopeful bluegrass backdrop, “somewhere there’s a place to lay my head.” Nine songs later, over a gently plucked guitar, he sings, “I won’t go picking it up, the weight of the page is just too much.”

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Following the award-winning 2017 debut Back and Forth, the St. John’s- based Sandu and Andrew Laite wanted to keep the core of that album’s artistic successes—musical and collaborative harmony, folk storytelling—while recognizing audience expectations have intensified. “The first album ends up being the greatest hits of what you’ve done so far,” says Laite. “With record number two, you want it to be in the ring with the first one, only bigger and stronger.”

For their sophomore album Leaving With Nothing, Sandu and Laite enlisted producer Adam Hogan, best known for his anthemic guitar work as a member of Newfoundland’s most beloved indie-rock outfit, Hey Rosetta!. Recording in bits in houses around St. John’s, Rube & Rake (& Adam) worked to expand the band’s sound to include more instrumentation, pleasingly surprising time changes, and an overall expansion of intention.

“We knew that this grouping of songs deserved a different treatment and wanted to introduce somebody with different instincts and tendencies,” says Laite. “We were confident that Adam would shed the right light on these songs while also maintaining our methodology.” “He’s a very engaged person,” adds Sandu, “who had a lot of thoughts on every aspect of the recording process.”

Sandu and Laite have always maximized the duo configuration—even singing together at a single condenser microphone, allowing for space and patience within the songs—but this is the first time they’ve consciously pushed outside it, to fill in that air with new tones and textures in the form of a full band. The resulting record evokes Blue Rodeo at its most rollicking, Great Lake Swimmers at their most thoughtful, and The Tallest Man On Earth at their most gently contemplative.

The best distillation of all these themes, music and expectation and place, comes at the album’s midpoint, in the five-minute “10-33”—CB radio code for “mayday”—where Rube & Rake reveal themselves to be ready for anything. “This ain’t a common road, but you already know,” sings Sandu, “I will be leaving with nothing, a-dead-head I will go.”

The collection of 10 songs comprising Leaving With Nothing fits comfortably in the folk tradition of road-worn tales and lost love laments told across an ever-changing, often lonely landscape. Rube & Rake is for late-night wind-downs, long drives, a walk by the water: solitary and steadfast, honest and true.


Mike Biggar

New Brunswick’s Award-winning soulful Roots & Blues artist Mike Biggar is coming to church October 21st, joined by slide guitar master Grant Heckman on their Fall “Back in the Black Blues Tour”. This is Biggar’s inaugural visit to Old Church Theatre!

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By any measure, Mike Biggar is a natural live performer. With a musical history that stretches back to a gospel music childhood, Biggar is the picture of a lifetime spent in performance. Onstage his style is equal parts gutsy and joyful, reflecting the deep, soulful stamp left by those early musical days.
Rollicking, high energy vocals steam down the line like a soulful, roots-inspired freight train, perfectly paired with the infectious melodies of his acclaimed songwriting and his warm, disarming banter. In his ten year-plus career, Biggar has been honoured with numerous East Coast Music Association and Music New Brunswick awards., including the 2018 Blues Recording of the Year award for his third album GO ALL IN. His music has received glowing reviews, and he is a regular on Stingray Blues radio across Canada.
His latest album, ‘MIKE BIGGAR & BAND – LIVE AT THE BMO THEATRE’, showcases the way Biggar is meant to be heard – live and in person. His signature soaring live vocals punch through as he also joins the songs together with his well known disarming humour in stories and audience interactions.
“He’ll have you in tears with lines of love and regret, and rip your head off with his
powerhouse vocals, delivered with heartfelt emotion; Biggar performs with such sincerity that you could almost say he was singing just to you, and that is
the mark of a great songwriter..” – BLUES & ROOTS RADI0 CANADA
Biggar has been a featured performer on major Canadian East Coast festival stages such as the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Kempt Shore Acoustic Festival. He has shared the stage with artists such as Steve Earle, Matt Andersen, Stephen Fearing, Lynn Miles, Dave Gunning, Ron Hynes, Rose Cousins, Del Barber, Joey Landreth, Jay Semko and more.
Hear Mike Biggar at www.mikebiggar.com/discography

Jeff Louch and guest Andy Forgie

We’re happy to present a special evening of original composition with Jeff Louch with his guest and Belleville’s own, Andy Forgie.  We’re moving this show indoors, as the patio is getting a little chilly in the evenings!  LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE.

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Jeff Louch (of Montreal’s Victory Chimes) will be performing a solo concert as part of his “When The Fog Rolls In” new album tour!

The latest Victory Chimes’ album, “When The Fog Rolls In” was recorded in Banff, Alberta, inspired by the vast mountain landscape and unique energy that exists there.

The new songs, according to Jeff Louch, are “further down the rabbit hole of psych synth layers, sub bass drones, hypnotic hip hop drums.

Lyrical colouring from the macabre to blissful fantasy and styles stretching from narrative to stream of consciousness to absurdity.”

Jeff also shares his talents in The Jake Clemons Band!

Andy Forgie has been a favourite on the scene in varying guises, since the 1970’s.

He has recorded for Quality Records, Buddah Records & Capitol/Parlophone Records: as the lead vocalist/composer for the bands Creed & Photograph

Andy promises a set of “Original Songs of Hope & Love (Both Lost & Found). …and a couple of blasts from his Creed & Photograph past!!


Benj Rowland

Born and raised in the Peterborough, ON area, Benj Rowland is the singer-songwriter and instrumentalist behind the well loved Canadian folk duo Mayhemingways. Having toured across Canada many times as part of a band, Community Garden is Benj’s first solo album released under his own name.

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Recorded and produced by Joel Plaskett at his Dartmouth Studio, the album features a collection of songs that speak to small town Ontario and tell stories about the life of an independent Canadian musician. The Ballad of the Pig’s Ear (track 2) is a heartfelt tribute to a well loved bar that served Peterborough for over 100 years. The song recently won the Don Skuce Memorial Music Collective Songwriting Award (January 2022).