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Gambling on The Man

It has been a quiet year for music so far, here at Eden On The Line HQ.

I was due to see Kelly Joe Phelps at the end of the week, but sadly he had had to cancel his tour. Just one gig so far: the Little Opry Americana night at the Tom Thumb Theatre in Margate last Saturday. In amongst a range of performers (including what may be - or indeed Maybelle - the UK's only Carter Family tribute band in the shape of the Kent Carters), the Pete Allen Family Band stood out for me: mandolin from old hand Pete (his earlier career Stateside included a stint with Queen Ida & The Bon Temps Zydeco Band), and guitar and banjo from two of his sons. The latter (Geary, I think) is a real individual talent, but it's good, solid, driving, bluegrass all round. Here's a taste.

More to come in February, with Fred Eaglesmith and Michael Chapman tickets already in the rack...

But the real story on the booking front is signing up for Van Morrison at the Europa Hotel in Belfast in March, on the eve of St Patrick's Day. Just 250 seats, with dinner first in a supper club atmosphere...

Van has been doing this quite a lot recently and a three-night residency at the Culloden Estate & Spa earlier this month drew strong reviews. It still feels like a bit of a gamble: he came good in a big way when I splashed out a comparable fortune for Astral Weeks live at the Royal Albert Hall, he gave a strong show in Brighton last year... Am I pushing my luck, with not the most consistent of performers?

Oh, well - fingers crossed, and think of 1972... It's great that he's still out there, doing his thing.

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