Artists flock to record live at church

Ashley Hutchings MBE.
Ashley Hutchings MBE.
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A BRITISH folk music legend has become the latest of a growing number of artists to announce a live album recorded at Wigan Parish Church.

Ashley Hutchings, who was in iconic groups including Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, has committed to recording his new spoken word and music show at the historic place of worship.

The concert will be one of several Wigan gigs organised by Acoustic Roots released as a live album, with Robb Johnson’s performance of his World War One-related album Gentle Men about to hit the shelves.

London-based folk-blues artist Mark Harrison is also planning to release his outing at Wigan Parish Church in April and promoter David Cartlidge says he is in discussion with the Lucy Ward Band about releasing their successful recent gig.

David said: “The Ashley Hutchings show came about by complete chance. He was talking about doing his spoken word show and I hoped he was going to do a recording of it, so I just said he should come to Wigan and we will do it there. Fairly quickly he agreed.

“It’s somewhere between a gig and a show. It’s called From Psychedelia to Sonnets and it’s a review of his career with poems, songs and stories. I saw the prototype show and I thought it was wonderful.

“We’re going to make it an afternoon show and it will be limited to 55 people, so we can do a really intimate recording in the Crawford Chapel.

“I’m really pleased the man who founded Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span will record his next album in Wigan.”

David says working on the live albums, which has included writing sleeve notes for Robb Johnson and Mark Harrison, has been a highlight of his time promoting.

He said: “It’s a huge pleasure because I’m doing what I want to do and putting on concerts.

“It’s a very proud moment for me to have a copy of a CD for which I wrote the sleeve notes. Hopefully, it’s also putting Wigan on the map a bit more.”

David also gave credit to Acoustic Roots’ sound engineer Ian Cleverdon, saying the live albums could not happen with his expertise.

Ashley Hutchings will visit Wigan Parish Church next February. For more information about the Acoustic Roots gigs visit www.acoustic-roots.co.uk/