Bristol Folk House - Learning for pleasure

Bristol Folkhouse Music

Upcoming live music

Steve Forbert

Friday, 28 October 2016
Ticket price: 
£14.50 Advance £16.50 On the door inc booking fee
Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert had his first major hit in 1979. Thirty-plus years later, he’s still writing acclaimed songs and has released 14 studio albums, including a Grammy-nominated tribute to another Mississippi legend, Jimmie Rodgers.

His debut album, Alive On Arrival, showcased his innate musical genius and became one of the year's most acclaimed albums. After being compared to folk-based stars like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, Forbert still managed to forge his own, more modern path with his hit sophomore record Jackrabbit Slim. The highlight of the album was the #11 Billboard hit “Romeo’s Tune:” an upbeat song with timeless lyrics sweetened by a poetic sensibility, which has since become Steve’s signature style. Forbert’s intimate verbal imagery, paired with a roots-rocking musical approach, struck a chord with millions of people during the transitional period between ‘70s folk-rock and ‘80s New Wave. His brash-yet-sensitive take on songwriting and his unaffected delivery has led to regular sell out shows

Steve was inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in 2006, and “Romeo’s Tune” was covered by Keith Urban in 2007.  More recently he has written songs for the Occupy Wall St. movement and has re-released some of his earlier recordings on CD for the first time.  

He continues to blend folk, rock and country into his unique American sound, where he performs around the world with his brash-yet-sensitive take on songwriting. His unaffected delivery has led to regular sell out shows.

Forbert is one of the few artists who can mesmerize a crowd with nothing but a distinctive voice, an acoustic guitar and his trusty harmonica slung around his neck, letting the purity of his music stand on its own.  As one reviewer recently remarked, “Forbert is a hardcore troubadour who, artistically speaking, continues to fight the good fight by releasing one excellent album after another and working his ass off show after show to earn every single fan’s loyalty.”

He even finds time to pursue his latest artistic adventure, this time in photography where he had an exhibition of his cell phone photographs at a Nashville art gallery.

Andy Irvine

Sunday, 30 October 2016
Ticket price: 
£14.50 Adv £16.50 On the door inc admin fee
ANDY IRVINE is one of the great Irish singers, his voice one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. He has been hailed as "a tradition in himself".

From Sweeney's Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s and then from Patrick Street to Andy Irvine & Dónal Lunny's Mozaik, Andy has been a world music pioneer and an icon for traditional music and musicians.

As a soloist, Andy fills the role of the archetypal troubadour with a show and a travelling lifestyle that reflect his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie.

To quote the Irish Times, "Often copied, never equalled", his repertoire consists of Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dances and a compelling cannon of his own self-penned songs

Karine Polwart + Worry Dolls

Friday, 4 November 2016
Ticket price: 
£18.50 Advance £20.50 On the Door
Sometimes the smallest and most particular of stories speak to the most powerful of human emotions and experiences. And so it is with Karine Polwart’s songs, peopled as they are with the ghosts of childhood adventures, elderly neighbours, eroding shorelines and exiled mothers. Her talent for crafting enduring melodies, her gift for saying just enough without overstating her case, the range and dynamism of her arrangements, all come together in songs of powerful contemporary relevance. She has also the most approachable of singing voices, drawing the listener towards her like a fireside storyteller.

Four-times winner at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, twice for Best Original Song, her most recent album Traces (produced by Iain Cook of Chvrches) was shortlisted for both the Scottish Album of the Year Award and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Album of the Year. The Guardian chose it as international folk-roots release of 2012. Her debut solo album Faultlines won Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards back in 2005, following six years of touring as a traditional Scots singer with Malinky and Battlefield Band.

Worry-Dolls-01-copy.jpgWorry Dolls have been rapidly building momentum with their unique approach to indie-folk. What sets them apart is their tongue-in-cheek, honest lyrics and their refusal to sing “cliché love songs”. They performed at Glastonbury 2015, supporting Joan Armatrading on tour, often heard on Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, amongst others. Tracks from Worry Dolls' debut EP have clocked up over 100,000 views on YouTube, and over 80,000 spins on SoundCloud. Their sound has now grown as their influences have shifted more towards the roots sounds of Nashville & the Appalachian mountains – but it still bares a strong UK stamp.

Pierre Bensusan

Saturday, 5 November 2016
Ticket price: 
£15.50 advance / £18.50 on the door
Pierre Bensusan is back in the UK. Over the past 40 years, finger style acoustic guitar virtuoso Pierre Bensusan has taken his unique blend of world, Celtic, jazz and folk inspired music to all corners of the globe. Winner of the 2014 Independent Music Award in the Live Performance Album category for his triple live album "Encore", Pierre is recognized as one of the great guitar players of the 21st century. Described as a ‘genius’ by the likes of Jon Gomm and Melody Maker, immortalised by the tune ‘Bensusan’ written in tribute by the late Michael Hedges, and referenced as an important inspiration to many other great musicians, Pierre Bensusan is a one-of-a-kind artist whose music transcends genre and time.
“How the guitar would want to sound if it could play itself” … in Pierre’s music there is an uninhibited sense of musical freedom and expression, a sense of something both playful and serious, otherworldly yet right here right now. His "manner" of playing defies classification - crossing world, classical, jazz, traditional, folk and more. None can be isolated as simply “World Music”, “Celtic”, "Arabic" or “French”; rather, they represent our world in its current state, a world sharing itself, fusing cultures together in ways we have never experienced. Not to be missed!

Duotone and Larkhall

Sunday, 6 November 2016
Ticket price: 
£8.50 advance £10.50 Inc admin fee

Indie-classical anthem:

Two singer-songwriters unite for memorable Bristol gig

Enter a heartfelt melodic soundscape with two singer-songwriters who push sonic boundaries while delivering damn good story-telling songs.
Duotone, aka Barney Morse-Brown (cellist with triple-platinum artist Birdy) is a singer-songwriter creating evocative folk songs fusing electronica with crystal-clear vocals, guitar and cello, distilled with classical grace.

“A hidden gem.” — Observer

“[The] sound is light but cleverly layered, the songs minimal but resonant.”  — Guardian/Observer

“…Spring-clear acoustic guitar lines backed by sombre cello harmonies.”
— Guitarist Magazine

Larkhall is Chicago-born Charlie Williams, a pianist who brings an indie-classical sensibility to his anthemic, melodic songs. His entrancing lyrics are raised up by the rise and swell of lyrical, heart-opening piano and strings. Expect unconventional add-ons including Blu Tack, one-handed drumming and metronome-as-percussion.

“…Spoke directly to the Nils Frahm fan in me… glorious, heartfelt melody… a coming-of-age for the lead character on the big screen of my mind.”
— Fresh on the Net

“…Demonstrates a virtuosity that deserves a very large audience.”
— Kreiszeitung (DE)

“Exceptional, powerful… something you need to experience.”— No More Division

Artists online

Songs by Duotone and Larkhall

Folk House Swing

Friday, 11 November 2016
Ticket price: 
£10.50 inc admin

Bristol Ceilidh

Saturday, 12 November 2016
Ticket price: 
£10.50 Advance £12.50 on the door
Bristol Ceilidh presents , you guest it another rip roaring ceilidh with the Bristol Ceilidh Quartet

  • Ticket information

    Tickets are available from:

    The Bristol Folk House
    40A Park Street
    BS1 5JG

    0117 926 2987

    There is 50p Administration fee on all tickets

    For artists wishing to play at the Folkhouse please see our demos page or send info to

    If you're looking for information about a past gig please see the music events archive.


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