|John has lived in many different areas but is still a Northerner at heart. However it was during a long spell in the East Midlands that he became one of the founding members of the Leicestershire-based band Oakenshield for 5 years in the 80's, recording two albums of mostly traditional music. After that he played on the pub circuit in the Coventry area and briefly in other folk bands (Grass Roots and RedHanded), until deciding to concentrate on his own songs, performing solo with guitar. Then in the 90's, work brought him back to the North West where he teamed up with Ailsa (well, he married her, but apart from that...) and set up home in Cheshire.
|Ailsa, a Liverpudlian who was also proud
of her Scottish and Welsh ancestry, came from a family rich in
music. Her dad sang principal bass with the
Grand Opera Company and her mum was a talented pianist. Ailsa had
sung in choirs as a teenager and for some private
functions, but on meeting up with John again (they had known each
for many years, but it's a long story...), they started to sing
and many people become fans of Ailsa's unique melodic style,
equally at home on traditional ballads or standards from the thirties.
Sadly, Ailsa's fine voice was lost to us after a long illness in April 2019.
For many years, John & Ailsa were involved
in the running of Northwich
Folk Club, as well as appearing at many other clubs and festivals
including Shrewsbury, Brampton, Woodford, Middlewich,
Four Fools, Glasson and Ireby Village. They have also taken part in
the community projects The Marbury Mysteries (2002) and Salt
Tellers (2005) (for which John wrote the original music), Moulton
Drama Group's musical productions - Smike!
and Animal Farm
- as well as providing the period music for the Harlequin Players
of Dad's Army. They have also featured on Genevieve
Folk Programme on Radio Shropshire, Radio Stoke and Radio Hereford
& Worcester and on Stan Ambrose's Folkscene on Radio
Merseyside. They also did shows suitable for local groups such as WIs
("A Musical Journey Through Time" and "Folklore, Fancies & Seasonal
Now, though, John is going to concentrate on his songwriting - and letting those songs be heard - which means he will still be performing solo - and recording, like new cds "A Place Of My Own" (2020) and "English Blood" (2022).