A HARMONICA player who took up his instrument for health reasons and became a leading music star will kick off the new season of roots and folk concerts at Wigan Parish Church.
The Will Pound Band will become the first act to play at the historic place of worship in 2015 when they arrive in Wigan as part of their first tour on March 6.
One of British music’s most unlikely success stories, Will originally took up the harmonica to aid his breathing problems after undergoing a series of heart operations as a child.
Now acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest performers on the instrument, he put together his four-piece band by recruiting singer and guitarist Chris Sarjeant, fiddle player Henry Webster and double bass player and beatboxer John Parker.
The band’s debut album A Cut Above, showcasing a unique mixture of Irish, Scottish, English and Appalachian folk music blended with blues, bluegrass and jazz, earned them rave reviews from national newspapers and two prestigious award nominations.
Acoustic Roots promoter David Cartlidge says he hopes the band will follow in the footsteps of up-and-coming folk musicians who have been to Wigan and gone on to considerable acclaim.
David said: “Will Pound is in the running for best musician at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and I think there is a very good chance he will win.
“Last year I booked Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin and they went on to win best duo.
“It’s a really interesting story about how he became what is generally acknowledged as the UK’s best harmonica player and he also played on the Hillsborough benefit single.”
Despite only being on the road for around a year the Will Pound Band has already racked up a series of impressive reviews for their live show and the exuberant, feelgood music they play.
The musicians have also worked with a number of top acts on the British folk scene including the Jackie Oates band and Nizlopi.
The group is following in a long line of acclaimed musicians and groups, including John Tams, Show of Hands, Larkin Poe, The Albion Christmas Band and blues artist Brooks Williams, who have performed at Wigan Parish Church since the Acoustic Roots concerts were set up in 2009.
The Will Pound Band will open the 2015 Acoustic Roots season at Wigan Parish Church on Friday, March 6 at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £12.50 in advance and available by ringing 01942 824291 or visiting www.wegottickets.com/event/304873
For more information about the Wigan Parish Church gigs, visit www.acoustic-roots.co.uk