RINGSTEAD: Buzz, banter and live music at the Gin Trap Inn

Gin Trap Ringstead
Gin Trap Ringstead
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The folk revival is alive, well and living at the Gin Trap Inn, Ringstead.

Once a month a full house of folk and acoustic musicians convene, to sing and play folk standards, Beatles songs, blues and jazz, standards, new compositions, comedy songs.

So many folk are clamouring to play that the evening – from 8pm to closing time (though there is a rush to grab a seat so many arrive soon after 7pm)– is hardly long enough to fit everyone in.

But by the end, somehow, each player has performed twice and the evening ends in a general singalong that has every foot in the place tapping and every voice raised in chorus.

Reflecting on the last session, resident poet and folk music fan Gareth Calway said: “We had everything from popular rock and pop hits like Move It (when Cliff Richard was cool) and She Loves You – now in its 50th year and with its player less hirsute than we all were back then – to more classic folk material like the Galway Farmer and some wildly comic Ain’t Misbehaving Fats Waller.

“Best of all, a 13-year-old (a regular’s granddaughter) singing a love song they’d written together followed (urged on by the charmed audience) by her amazing rendition of an Eta James classic. Who would have thought such a voice could come from such a small frame?

“Locals and residents at the Gin Trap on an acoustic evening should not be surprised – some still seem to be! – to find an extended bar is bristling with performers and their guitar cases, every sort of guitar from classical to blues, mandolins, accordions, bodhrans, even banjos (source of much good-natured anti-banjo banter).

“All ages are present though many have a personal heritage of the folk revivals of the 1960s and 1970s and bring this to the evening.

“There is no rule about how to deliver the material. Some perform by heart; others have music stands and even kindles loaded with words and music.

“The accepting atmosphere – each performer is listened to with respect and warmly applauded – belies the feat of organisation required by Adrian Tebbut, who runs the evenings.

“A monthly email goes out to all participants with a sound file of the final playalong and somehow no-one gets forgotten amid all the buzz, banter and bonhomie over which Adrian smilingly presides – and his excellent unaccompanied singing is also a popular feature.

“Participants range in skill and ambition from seasoned professional musicians to first time performers, from tried and tested crowd pleasers to first try – and/or self penned – new work.

“Performances are mostly individual, though ad hoc – and sometimes rehearsed – combinations both instrumental and vocal emerge and the audience and other musicians can usually be relied on to join in anything they recognise.

“There is some highly accomplished guitar jamming and several performers bring professional expertise as lead guitarists to material both familiar and new.

“At times, these happy accidents of music making are nothing short of brilliant and always fun. And the introductions and self-deprecations are sometimes as much fun as the songs.

“The occasional house band – the Fried Pirates – Adrian, fellow guitarist and singer Roger Partridge and Katy Fullilove on fiddle – can be relied on to get the evening off to a rollicking start and end it in the same way.”

The Gin Trap acoustic evening recently celebrated its second anniversary and has been going strong since September 2010.

Sessions are on Tuesdays and for further information contact Steve Knowles thegintrap@hotmail.co.uk or Adrian Tebbutt a-j-tebbutt@supanet.com