Monday, 25 January 2010

Good News Bad News and a busy Time Ahead

It was, especially for those of us who suffer as Sheffield Wednesday supporters a remarkable week.

In fact many of us are walking around in a completely different World to most of you lot. But three wins in eight days!! Three wins on the trot!! Well it’s almost reminiscent of those heady days when Wednesday for two very short weeks stood at the top of the Premiership.

Sorry to open what is primarily a music Blog with a footy note, but it is such a rare occurrence that it deserves a mention. And I know you won’t mind me indulging myself.

By contrast though the shocking News coverage from Haiti should be of great concern to us all. It so clearly magnifies what can happen when a Country already living on the edge of what we in the West would call Law and Order is beset with a natural disaster which is certainly beyond the understanding of those of us lucky enough to have our feet firmly based on the European Continent.

The delays in getting aid into the Country, and dare I say, some questionable editorial content on some of the ITV News Reports, some of which suggest an agenda beyond the disaster, is of major concern. But faced with such devastation what more could the Aid authorities have done? It’s clear from the reporting that an ordered distribution of food would be impossible, and that normal scatter methods would just end up with more people dying, and the strong out doing the weak and children.

But as always the Appeals go up from all the major Charities, which of course just adds more confusion to the situation. Everyone from Save the Children to Christian Aid, Oxfam and The Red Cross. It might be my age but I’m just a little cynical about all this.

So for Acoustic Rotherham / The Mashers we would like to draw your attention to the Unicef Fund. We do so because Unicef are not one of the ambulance following Charties, they have been working in Haiti since 1949, through all the civil wars and violence that the Country has inflicted upon itself. Because of their experience Unicef will know where the money and aid should go and the best way of investing it in the rebuilding of the Country.


So football and World events to start us off this week.

Let’s get to some music.

This week we’ve added a CD from Fools Gold to the CD Shop. Over The Sky is we believe their debut CD and features some lovely tracks. Is it my ears or do I detect the sound of The Seekers here. I’ll leave it to you to decide.
You can find out what’s hot in the CD Shop by going HERE

Fools Gold are just one of thirteen + brilliant acts appearing at Acoustic Rotherham 6 on 31st January. Full details HERE. For the lazy **** it’s at The Queen’s Hotel, Rawmarsh and starts at 1:00pm.

Artists who have not yet checked out their on stage time should head HERE and the Acoustic Rotherham Blog which has all the details. And new Acts should go HERE for your orders, if you know what I mean.

We’ve added Google Maps to the page so now you have no excuse for not knowing where it is.

Don’t forget if you want your CD listed then find out HERE. The Special Offers on registration have just one more week to run including the double buy offer, both of Phill Hartley’s CDs for only £12.99 + PP in the Shop.

Barbara Helen’s CD A Familiar Place is our MP3 Down Load of the week at £6.99 from our Amazon Associate Shop HERE. This was Barbara’s debut CD and her great songs and voice are showcased at their very best. You can read David Kidman’s Review HERE.

The site itself has not undergone any major work this week, mainly because I’ve wanted to get the new version of the Introduction to Getting Publicity Ebook finished. I can now tell you that it’s currently being checked over and I hope to have this all singing / dancing version up before the end of the week.

If you’ve signed up for the News letter you could be amongst the first to find out.

We use the News letters to announce things that happen late in the week, so if you want to keep in touch and be ahead of the pack just add your Email in the box.

Digital Press Kits

There are a couple of new features planned.

The Web Site is going really well. The number of hits is improving each week, while over the past three weeks we have improved our position on the Alexa monitor from 156,0000,000yes that’s million, to within the 3,000,000 mark. Doesn’t sound impressive? Well that means that we are within the top 100,000 of all sites visited in the UK and one of the most visited Folk / Acoustic Music sites.
In other words the site is beginning to make an impact.

We could do with more of you using the services though, especially by placing your CDs in the Shop or sending us your Demo Disc to go up. The more of our supporters that take advantage of the service, the more interesting it becomes and the more people are likely to visit the site.

And now to some sad news. The Flat Cap Folk Club in it’s current form is no more.
The Mashers, as many will know were a little reticent at committing ourselves to hosting a regular Club venture, but thought that the offer made by the Transport Club in Rotherham was just too good to turn down.

The experiment allowed us to bring some top names from the Region to The Club, and we had four super nights of music. Unfortunately the number of folks making their way to the club were disappointing. Personally I think disappointing is an under statement.

It’s strange, everything possible was done to attract an audience in terms of publicity, £300 in the local paper alone yet I still get people telling me that they knew nothing about it. Sad.

The Mashers are disappointed because we like to make events work but clearly the addition of a monthly Folk Club to the Rotherham calendar was not wanted by the Folk community, even one that was prepared to bring top acts to the Club.

The turn out for the “Come All Ye” did it for The Transport Club who like so many similar Clubs are under extreme financial pressure.

Our thanks to the Management Committee of the Rotherham Transport Club for at least giving Folk a chance and having the guts to invest.


But The Mashers play on. We’ll be at:

The Bridge, Rotherham on Monday Night for Nellie Folk. The fun starts at around 8:45pm

Tuesday 26th you’ll find us doing an extended spot at Hillsborough Folk Club, Burton Street Foundation. From 8;00pm

Thursday I think we’re be at The Bridge Session, once we’ve put the World to rights at a Left Coalition meeting in the same Pub.

Saturday we’ll be at a Private Party.

Sunday 31st it’s ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM 6 ………… need I say more?

Don’t forget it’s Last Friday Folk at The Venue, Stocksbridge on the 30th January – we’re going to try to get there.

The Three Tuns at Stainton is coming up in the first week of February and on the 5th February there is the Charity Band night at the Rotherham Rugby Club, full details HERE

Monday, 18 January 2010

So! The Grass Is Green

So for the first time in three weeks we now all know that the grass is green.
Great though the snow may be it’s caused a lot of problems for a lot of people.  Put aside the problems that you all probably had getting into work or even to the bottom of your garden path, the people who have been really hit are the folks who rly upon us all getting out.
Many of the venues that we have all taken for granted for years have been severely hit by a complete fall away in their trade at a time of the year they have come to rely upon as giving them a boost to keep their business’s going  for the rest of the year.   So spare a thought for all the Venues and Promoters who have taken a really heavy hit 2009 – 2010.
And I know what I’m talking about.  As a Driving Instructor, self employed, I lost 95% of my business over the past three weeks, and if you are thinking “well now the snow has gone it will all be back to normal” then you would be wrong.  It will be at least another month before the diary starts to tick over at it’s normal rate.
And that also applies to your venues and Promoters.
The folks they rely upon are now out of the habit, it takes time to get the habits re-established.
For many of the business’s this might well be the nail in the coffin, most have been struggling during 2009, I know I have, and the Banks and Building Societies do not take yet another bad trading period into consideration.
So where you can – and if you can afford it, it’s been tough for everyone – get out (some would say, while you can) and give the venues a bit of support.
As musicians we rely upon these venues, week after week to provide Clubs with free use of rooms, sometimes for a return of a few pints, we rely upon them for the odd booking, and we rely upon them to sometimes provide us with entertainment, normally free. 
My own position is precarious, so if we suddenly go silent, a God send some might argue, you’ll know why.
But to more positive things.
I’d like to draw your attention to a Charity Event on 5th February at the Rotherham Rugby Club.   The proceeds are going towards a fund to send a group of Biology Students currently studying at Thomas Rotherham College to South Africa to work with the WWF.  
What a great opportunity for them!
And what a night of music they will be putting on for our entertainment.   For the Folkies, Toein’ In The Dark will be doing their thing with Andy’s daughter Catherine joining in at some point.  I was lucky enough to see them in duo mode at a Unity Against Fascism Fund raiser in November.   It was quite special.  So well worth the price of the ticket on it’s own. 
Incidentally, Catherine and Andy will be making a special guest appearance at Acoustic Rotherham 6 on 31st January.
Also appearing at their Charity Band Night will be The Karen Mucahey Band, doing her energetic Folk Fusion material and new Band to me Peppermint Charlie.
It’s only a fiver – so if you’re about in Rotherham on the 5th February you’ve got a great Gig to go to.  You’ll find a more detailed account on the News Page HERE
Swansong (that’s Karen and Nigel plus to you and I) having been blagging a few Gigs as well, you’ll find their Gig poster linked on the News page.
Nigel tells me that Karen has also put together a Country Show.  I bet that’s quite good fun.  So watch out for details of them getting out there with it.
The Acoustic Rotherham CD Shop catalogue is growing.  Three new CDs have been listed this week, one each from Acoustica, The Troubadors and Barbara Helen.  If you’ve not listened to their offerings they have also added a sample track for you to listen to – a great bonus.  Get to the CD Shop by going HERE.
And if you are a recording artist like The Mashers, then why not list your CD.  You can find out more HERE
And don’t forget, if all you have is a Demo disc, then you can have it added for free to the Free Down Load section.
And before I head away from the Commercials, here’s a real bargain, Ray Hearne’s CD “The Wrong Sunshine” as an MP3 Down Load, available for only £6.99 from our Amazon Shop.  HERE
If you’ve not already checked the shop out you can buy everything from Clip On Tuners for as little as £9.99 to guitar strings, music books, songs books, guitar stands, all from the Shop and if you think that we have forgotten something then please contact us and we’ll put it into stock.
The Mashers Week.   Well it was quiet.  We had our normal practice on Monday night at The Bridge – why not pop in and say “hello!”
We couldn’t make a session as my lack of business meant that there was no cash for beer or petrol.
But I did manage to get down to The Bridge on Saturday night where a reasonable crowd enjoyed the less than quiet Myke Masher in his Earth Tales rockin’ mode.   It was fantastic stuff, well done Myke, and for one of such tender years as well.
I’d also mention a quick visit to my local WMC where Madness tribute Band, Complete Madness was packing the punters in like sardines.  One of the few Club Bands that can still do this, and it’s just great to the whole Concert Room standing up and trying to dance to Baggy Trousers.
Hats off to you boys – it was a super Gig even if the speakers gave in.
But coming up for The Mashers is a busy little time.  All The Masher News and dates HERE
Monday, we’ll be found at The Bridge for our practice.  Thursday, 21st it’s The Flat Cap Folk Club at the Rotherham Transport Club, A “Come All Ye” Singers Special. 
Monday 25th we’re be at Nellie Folk at The Bridge.
Tuesday 26th we are heading to Burton Street, Sheffield to do 30 minutes for the Hillsborough Folk Club.
Saturday 30th we are at a Private Party to celebrate Theresa’s special birthday, I shall be a gentleman and not say which one.
And Sunday 31st is of Course Acoustic Rotherham 6 at The Queens Hotel where we will be introducing some absolutely brilliant music.
Now, I know that I say this every quarter when an Acoustic Rotherham comes round, but this quarter I am really excited by the line up that has magically come together.  Charlie Barker, Acoustica, Pete Higgins, Jack’s Rake, Mark Hearne, The Misk Hills Rambler, Fools Gold, Folk On Fire, Matt Shore, Dead Cat Bounce, Paul Pearson and Tina McKevit and Matt Hegarty.  An amazing afternoon – and The Mashers have the great pleasure to introduce them.
So put it in your Diary and get to The Queens Hotel in Rawmarsh.   Full details of all the artists can be found HERE
If you’ve not played an Acoustic Rotherham Hiring Fair yet and fancy the idea, then contact us.  Places tend to get taken very quickly.   Find out more HERE
And that brings me to the end of this weeks missive. 
Thanks for your continued support and if you have prayer to spare or a thought in your meditation please think of the people of Haiti.  I may have had a go at the affect of snow to our Country, but it’s nothing when compared to the reality of what they are having to face.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

News Blog - Going Stir Crazy

I’ve got to be honest, I’m really not sure what has been achieved this week, or what I have done.

Most of the week seems to have been spent looking out of my window on a whitescape and wondering just how bad the roads beyond the one that boasts Masher Towers might be.

Here’s a picture that sort sums it all up – it’s The Mashers following their Monday night practice at The Bridge……………

And I don’t think my brain got more alive than on that night.

But I’ll be honest, I’ve done lots of half jobs. So my computer is currently a bit like one of them DIY chaps garages, bits of stuff all over the place but with nothing really finished properly.

So not a lot to tell you about this week.

What we done is to get the Demo Disc section of the CD Shop up and running. We’ve posted the Short Supply Demo Disc, which has six super tracks on it and is available for FREE DOWN LOAD exclusively at the CD Shop. As is, well we had to do it, The Rawmarsh Mashers Demo Disc.

If you want your Demo Disc included then Email it to and we will do the rest. Not only that, if you’ve appeared at an Acoustic Rotherham we’ll link it all up for you.
And it’s FREE

We can boast our first sales through the Amazon links this week – thanks to the people concerned for supporting our links. It would be nice if more of you checked it out

And The Acoustic Rotherham Store by going HERE


And we’ve also linked up with the MUSICROOM – another great link up that will bring you some great on-line deals.

And a reminder that The Flat Cap Folk Club meets on the 21st January at The Transport Club, Rotherham. It’s a singers and musicians night. So if the weather allows, and you, like I are starting to go stir crazy from not being able to get out, then bring your songs down to the Club.

And 31st January it’s Acoustic Rotherham 6. And a great line up is shaping up once again. That is of course at The Queens Hotel, Rawmarsh. What’s more boys and girls, FOOD will be available, and if we know enough people are attending Chris the Land Lord might go as far as having a Hog Roast – now would that be good or what?

OK poor old Myke will have to go hungry , sorry mate – but the thought of fresh crackling and port already has my juices going. So let me know if you’re likely to be coming.

And with Folk on Fire – Jack’s Rake – Acoustica – Phil Graham – Mark Hearne (Ray’s little Brother) plus a host of other guests it’s going to be a great afternoon and evening of music.
So that’s it guys.

Oh – I’ve sent personal Messages to all previous Acoustic Rotherham artists about the CD Shop and the plans for the future so I’m not going into the full sales pitch this week – phewwwwwww I can hear the sigh of relief from here.

The Mashers have some dates for January and February that will be going up very soon keep an eye out HERE

Introduction to Acoustic Rotherham

Quite simply Acoustic Rotherham exists to promote LIVE and mainly acoustic based MUSIC in the South Yorkshire Region.

Acoustic Rotherham works on a number of levels.

1. We aim to encourage more musicians and artists to come out of their back bedrooms to SHARE their music with a wider audience, by participating in the wealth of Folk Clubs, Open Mic Evenings and Jam Sessions that currently run in and around the Rotherham and Sheffield area.

2. Through the quarterly Acoustic Rotherham HIRING FAIRS we provide artists from around the Country with a platform to showcase their material, develop their performing skills and promote them selves in the South Yorkshire Region.

3. To encourage YOUNG PEOPLE to take part in live music events and develop their performing skills.

4. Through the pages of the Acoustic Rotherham Web Site provide Folk and Live Music Audiences with a ready reference to where the best LIVE MUSIC GIGS are happening, and provide a general News Service.

Our News Page also carries syndicated National News and News from all the Major and Minor Festivals.

5. Provide event PROMOTERS with a one stop reference to some of the top semi pro and pro talent in the Region, for contact and booking.

6. Provide PROMOTERS with a tailor made show through the ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM ROAD SHOW service.

7. Help artists to PROMOTE themselves using the tools available via the Internet. Artists have free access to advise and E Books that help them get the most out of Myspace, Facebook and Reverbnation and the rest.

8. To promote Folk and Acoustic Acts via our REVIEW SERVICE.

9. Offer a home for other LIVE PERFORMANCE AND WRITING ARTS, like poetry and prose.


11. PROMOTE CONCERTS of live music.


So WOT’S it all about then?, this Acoustic Rotherham thing!

Acoustic Rotherham is nothing more than a broad label under which you can find all the News, Events and Regular Meetings for local musicians and singers.

From novice to the advanced there is something for you on the Rotherham music scene, offering opportunities to develop skills and most important of all have your music heard.

From Monday to Friday and of course weekends, there is always something going on be it an Open Mic for those who rock or a Folk Club for those who enjoy a more social sing song with their beer. Check out the Local Club page for all the details of where and when.

Acoustic Rotherham is also about helping musicians develop their publicity skills and encouraging them to use the Internet to gain a positive profile, while also giving their music an opportunity to be heard all round the World. Go to the Musician Self Help page and down load the E articles or check out the blogs on offer.

To help musicians who may have limited knowledge of the Internet and computers Acoustic Rotherham offers a number of premium services that are becoming very popular. You’ll find these on the Additional Services page.

But probably the most important Acoustic Rotherham service is the quarterly Hiring Fair held at The Monkwood in Rawmarsh. The Hiring Fairs provide artists with an opportunity to showcase their talent within twenty five minute frames, and with twelve acts appearing at each event, the whole session runs for a whole Sunday afternoon.

What’s more is that these events are free to both artists and audience. For their part Acoustic Rotherham make sure that the events are publicised as wide as possible around the local media and Promoters, while also featuring on the Acoustic Rotherham Player and Acts On stage Pages.

Acoustic Rotherham also provides artists with an opportunity to quickly contact each other via the tools they can find on the ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM TOOL BAR, which we urge all those with an interest in Acoustic Rotherham to Down Load. No hidden bugs or anything, and you also get to be linked in to the best Folk to be found on local Radio.

Sharing our experiences and knowledge can only be good, and help to create and maintain a healthy LIVE music environment. And that’s what Acoustic Rotherham is all about, sharing.

We also like to promote and encourage our young talent and we hope more young people will come to us and share in what is being offered.

We also offer a BOOKING SERVICE to Promoters, putting them in touch with artists that they may like to have perform in their venue.

New ideas will constantly be appearing on our pages so we urge you to sign up to the News Letter which will feature in your Inbox on a weekly basis. Most recently David Kidman joined the team and provides the Site with up to the minute Reviews and also offers Review services to artists.


We should add that no genre of music is excluded from being involved, pop into a Club, come along to a Acoustic Rotherham Hiring Fair and see for yourself. One thing is for sure you’ll have a great time, make a lot of new friends and who knows, perhaps learn something that will help you in whatever you are seeking to achieve with your music.

All but a few of the services we offer are FREE, rely upon DONATIONS to keep going, so if you find something that has been particularly useful then please help us by making a donation HERE, even if it has simply been the pleasure of listening to the streamed music. Also visit our Sponsors all of whom have supported Acoustic Rotherham by giving of time or equipment.

We will take ADVERTISING ON the Acoustic Rotherham and THE RAWMARSH MASHER PAGES please go HERE to find out more.

And now we have a CD Shop where acts who have privately produced CDs can list their CD with a Link up with Amazon for extra Kudos