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Storming start to folk sessions at The Albany

The tail end of Storm Callum did its best to create a ‘crossfire hurricane’ in Coventry at the weekend.

But perhaps, more appropriately, it eased to a Hard Rain by Sunday afternoon for the inaugural CVFolk concert at the Albany Theatre.

That’s the former Cov Tech to anyone old enough to remember the days of City and Guilds exams and folk nights at the nearby Old Dyers’ Arms.

And what a great choice this fortress of a building proved.

The adapted reception-bar/studio area provided the space and ambience, while the bonhomie generated by host band Willow & Tool was enough to warm the cockles of the coldest heart.

Pete Willow is a leading voice behind the venture to put on monthly shows at the venue, under the banner CVFolk.

The aim is to both celebrate and raise the profile of a musical genre, which has a rich history in the city, as we head towards City of Culture 2021

Sunday’s opener was an encouraging start with a good audience turn-out which might have been larger had the weather been kinder.

But those who made it were treated to some of Coventry’s finest home-grown (okay, perhaps adopted) talent: Rob Halligan, Kristy Gallacher, The Willow & Tool Band, Poacher’s Pocket and, during the break, a display of clog-dancing by Nancy Sylvester.

Highlights included Poacher’s Pocket’s Campbell in fine voice for his self-penned Moving On; Kristy’s rendition of Spinning Plates, also self-written; and the country-tinged vocals of Laurel McIntosh (Willow & Tool) and her barbs and banter aimed at dad John ‘Tool’ McIntosh,on double bass.

But the standout performance came from Rob Halligan (pictured above), once of Worthing, but long since embedded as a Coventry-based troubadour.

His song-writing talent, stage charisma and power delivery on songs like Dancing With Seagulls and Promise I Will Hold You Tonight could blow away many a more commercially-successful singer-songwriter.

He certainly had the force to banish thoughts of Storm Callum lashing down outside and lit up the Albany.

* Next month’s show features young award-winning folk singer and musician Rosie Hood in concert. This will be a ticketed event starting at 7pm on Sunday November 11.

You can find out more about these events and CVFolk’s overall mission by visiting

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