Pilgrims’ Way get the chance to open for one of their heroes when they play Chichester Festival Theatre as part of The Britfolk Footprint (Tuesday, February 7, 7.30pm).
After them on the bill comes June Tabor & Oysterband (tickets 01243 781312 or www.cft.org.uk).
For Tom Kitching (fiddle, mandolin and what he calls reluctant vocals), it’s a terrific opportunity: “We are really, really looking forward to it. She has made an immense contribution.”
Pilmgrim’s way - a three-piece comprising Tom plus Edwin Beasant (melodeons, guitar, bass) and Lucy Wright (vocals, jews harp, second fiddle) pride themselves on “a big personality and big sound.”
Playing their own particular brand of folk music, they were brought together by a series of chance meetings at sessions around the north-west of England, bonding over red hair and a shared love of traditional music. They have been shaking up assorted kitchens, public houses and folk venues ever since.
Their influences individually are many and varied but they share a deep respect for tradition, taking as their inspiration some of the most influential bands from the 60s/70s revival.
“We wanted to put together a band that reflected our favourite music, which was music from the revival. Rather than a more modern sound, we wanted a sound that was more traditional. We were hugely influenced by people like Shirley Collins, the Albion Band and Peter Bellamy,”
In fact, it’s indirectly to the late Bellamy that they owe their name which they take from the Rudyard Kipling poem which Bellamy set to music.
“Bellamy was one of the greatest folk singers. He had a totally individual tenor voice.”
As for the band, they met just over two years ago in a pub in Macclesfield.
“I had been playing with Edwin for quite some time. It was just a social thing, but we had always wanted to make a band and were aware that we couldn’t cut it as singers. But then Lucy moved up to Manchester. Edwin met her and we started talking. We formed two years ago and we have been gigging for about a year.”