Roots music stars head for church

Geoff Muldaur
Geoff Muldaur

FOLK and blues fans in Wigan are in for a double helping of their favourite sounds as acts from both sides of the Atlantic head for the town’s historic parish church.

Up-and-coming London act Mark Harrison and iconic US guitarist and singer Geoff Muldaur will both appear in the borough in April in shows organised by the Acoustic Roots promotion.

Mark, who will play as a duo with bassist Charles Benfield, performs at the church on April 17 before New York musician Geoff, who has played with an astonishing array of musicians including John Cale from The Velvet Underground and Jerry Garcia from The Grateful Dead, plays 11 days later.

Swinley promoter David Cartlidge says he is particularly excited that Geoff has agreed to play in Wigan and bring his American roots sound across the pond for a rare gig on British soil.

David said: “Geoff’s sound is like a potted history of American music. He’s a true original but it’s very bluesy and there’s folk, jazz and elements of film music in there.

“I’ve actually had people ringing me up asking if there’s some sort of mistake, and I’ve been telling them that Geoff Muldaur really is playing in Wigan.

“It’s stunning just how many people he has worked with and how highly regarded by other musicians he is.”

New York artist Geoff is perhaps best known for the song Brazil used in Terry Gilliam’s film but his recordings range from old-time jug band music to roots records to film scores and pieces involving classical ensembles.

Before his appearance Acoustic Roots will welcome blues-folk act Mark for his Wigan debut performing songs from his three albums and showing his modern twist on traditional US roots sounds.

David said: “Mark has a strong narrative thread running through all of his songs and his playing is economical, under-stated and always knows what not to play.

“He sounds a bit like early Ry Cooder or JJ Cale, all those sparse, laid-back folk and blues artists.”

Mark Harrison will perform at Wigan Parish Church on Friday April 17 and Geoff Muldaur will play the same venue on Tuesday April 28 with support from Steve Folk and Richard Knott.

Tickets are £10 for the Mark Harrison gig and £15 for the Geoff Muldaur concert, available from Symphony Music on Market Street or from David by ringing 01942 824291 or emailing