FolkLaw Biography

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About FolkLaw

Supporting artists such as The Shires, Seth Lakeman, Mad Dog McCrae and more, Folklaw have toured across Europe, at festivals, concerts and gigs winning friends and fans as they go! Described as "Stylish passionate folk rock" by R2 magazine, FolkLaw's songs and music guarantee to get feet tapping, minds thinking and festival-feet jumping. FolkLaw's acrobatic fiddling and earthy vocals, have reached the airwaves of radio stations around the world from the BBC to Radio Caroline, and their energized and engaging stage performance has led FolkLaw to be described as "one of the most exciting acts to grace the stage"!


Smokey Joe "We Will Rise" the brand new FolkLaw album is out now! Featuring hit new songs "Rocks of the Burren" and "We Will Rise", with an extended band line-up of Nick (Vocals, Fiddle), Bryn (Vocals, Guitar), Martin (Vocals, Mandola), Gaz (Vocals Percussion) and Jon Dowling (Bass), and some special guest appearances with the swirling Irish flute and whistle of Jacquelyn Hynes, beautiful vocal and piano of Emi McDade and the gutsy Accordion of Paul Hutchinson (of Belshazzars Feast). Engineered by Lyndon Webb, mastered by Daz Smith and being released on the bands own label Fiddle of 8 Records it sounds huge, and it is!
"Smokey Joe" is FolkLaw’s third studio album, released on Fiddle of 8 Records - described as "Stylish passionate folk rock" by R2, "Outstanding and Evocative" by FATEA, "made for stadium gigs" by Stirrings and "a milestone of folk music" by FolkWords magazine.
In a testament to the albums strength, every single track from the Smokey Joe album has received airplay somewhere in the world, and the well-loved song for equality and workers rights - "I Made Them" - was recently recognized as a semi-finalist in the UK song-writing contest.
FolkLaw Album Covers "The Tales That They Tell" (2012) was FolkLaw's second studio album - an ascerbic politically commentary which held no punches, and cutting fiddle riffs to match leading fRoots to describe it as "Whirling jigs and lyrics that bite". The album was well received in the Folk music press, being described as "full of passion" (R2) and "a touch of magic" (Bright Young Folk).
"Nations Pride" (2010) was a debut solo album which launched the FolkLaw project. A collection of self-penned songs from Nick on fiddle, vocals and guitar, with Gaz backing on percussion. Some of the tracks became well-loved FolkLaw favorites and have been played at over 400 gigs in the past few years. A few Nations Pride CDs are still available by mail order in the back-catalogue.

Gig Highlights

Since forming in 2009, FolkLaw have played over 400 concerts at arts centres, folk clubs and festivals, including the main stages of the Great British Folk Festival, Monmouth Festival, Lichfield Festival of Folk, Banbury Folk Festival and Swanage Folk Festival, supporting artists such as Seth Lakeman, Ade Edmondson, Hayseed Dixie and the Wurzels. In the 10 years prior to FolkLaw, Nick and Gaz performed with the Bleeding Hearts across Europe and North America, supporting folk legends such as Shane Macgowan, the Oysterband and the Levellers Nick Gibbs and Bryn Williams as FolkLaw

CD review Quotes

"Vibrant and energizing" - Mike Brocken - BBC Folk Scene
"Premium quality folk rock" - FolkWords
"Whirling jigs and lyrics that bite...
     ...imagine Show of Hands with a new wave ethic!"
- fRoots
"Gold standard of folk music" - Irish Music Magazine
"Impressively wild fiddle.... full of passion" - R2
"An Utter Joy" - The Musician - Official Journal of the MU
"A fine album" - Dai Jeffries -
"Refreshingly different" - Stirrings
"Folk-rock with a dash of punk attitude!" -
"More relevant than a million love songs" - FolkCast radio
"Heartfelt conviction, tight harmonies and well crafted arrangements" - ReadiFolk Radio
"New-age folk with guts and presence" - David Kidman -
"Blistering musicianship... ...edgy and upbeat" - Severn FM
"Packed full of energy and virtuosic playing"- Bright Young Folk
"That's got a bit of oomph! Lovely stuff!" - Genevieve Tudor - BBC Shropshire
"Brilliant band - reminds me of the Levellers" - Johnny Coppin - BBC Gloucester
"Holds the listener from start to finish" - Rhythm and Booze
"Thought-provoking and inspiring" - Morning Star Newspaper
"Perfect to jump up and down to in a festival crowd!" - FATEA
"Grit and passion... ...courage and truth" - Maverick Music Magazine
"Thoughtful and stirring" - EDS Magazine - EFDSS
"Great musicianship and lyrics" - Shire Folk magazine
"Everything you could possibly ask for and more" - SLAP magazine
"Driving, insistent, foot-tapping folk rock that takes no prisoners." - Living Tradition

Live review Quotes

"a mighty 'Wall Of Folk'... ...warm, sincere and engaging" - Square Roots Promotions
"One of the most exciting acts to grace the stage" - Banbury Folk Festival
"acrobatic fiddling!" - Lymm Festival
"Terrific! - Forest of Dean Folk Club
"A great show!" - Brownshill Festival
"an exciting and provoking up-beat Celtic style of folk!" - M@C festival
"one of the highlights of the festival... ...get along and enjoy this band when you can!" - Bob Ford, Wessex Folk Festival

Radio Play

FolkLaw's releases have received radio play far and wide, across the UK, Europe and North America, including BBC Radio Shropshire - Genevieve Tudor's Sunday Folk, BBC Radio Gloucester - Johnny Coppin's show, BBC Radio Merseyside - Mike Brocken's Folk Scene, BBC Radio Lincolnshire - George Smith - Thursday night folk, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire - Sue Marchant "The Folk Show", Bishop FM, Dapper FM (Dave Chamberlains acoustic routes), Lionheart FM, Nova FM with Gary Hazlehurst, Radio Caroline, ReadiFolk Radio, Blues and Roots Radio, Severn FM (Alex Huskisson's Mystery Train), West Norfolk Radio, Triangle FM (Chris arscotts folk and acoustic show), Radio Caroline, MacSlons Irish Pub Radio- (Germany), Emission Chemins de Terre- (France), Folk n Roots Radio - (Canada)

FolkLaw - contributors

Nick Gibbs in FolkLaw Nick Gibbs - Songwriter, Vocals and Fiddle
Singer songwriter dancing fiddler and the founder of FolkLaw. In the years before forming FolkLaw, Nick performed with the Bleeding Hearts - a hard-edged folk rock outfit with great songs and mountains of energy. Those years took in tours across Canada, Austria, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany and the Czech Republic, from festival audiences, tv and radio, through to intimate folk clubs and local music venues. Nicks time with the Hearts saw him supporting some great bands, including The Levellers, Across the Border, The Damned, Lack of Limits, The Darkness, Shane Macgowan and The Popes and more. Nick's favorite fiddle pick-up system is from Titch at UK-based Sonic Violins. When he's not writing songs for FolkLaw, Nick writes and records string parts for a range of artists and not always folky ones!... you'll find him in the sleeve notes of acts from Pop-mogul Smiley (ex-Robbie Williams band) in E Z from the Sunshine Corner album, to UK Pagan Rockers Inkubus Sukkubus, Singer-songwriter John Clayton, Nottingham's answer to Billy Bragg; Paul Carbuncle - (check out the fantastic Chopping an Onion - the Single) and not least the acoustic songs of legendary Cheltenham Blues Man Keith Thompson.
Bryn Williams in FolkLaw Bryn Williams - Songwriter, Vocals, Guitar and Bohdran
Bryn provides the driving guitar and low BVs in the FolkLaw sound. As a songwriter he contributes both a few songs into the mix, and brings a bit of charm in the rhythm section with the bohdran. It's even been known for him to pull the odd traditional song out of the bag in those kind of circles! Working full-time in the music industry he knows a lot of people on the scene from freelance work with Seth Lakeman, Bellowhead, Levellers etc. He's the booker for Bath Forum so has run shows for UB40, Suggs, George Ezra, and the like. He's on the management team of Bristol Folk Festival, and runs his own Live Music and Events Promotions Company, so he's a dap hand at working out splits and contra's etc, which makes FolkLaw a bit of a promoters dream to work with!
Martin Vogwell in FolkLaw Martin Vogwell - Songwriter, Vocals, Madolin, Banjo, Guitars and BVs
Martin is a talented guitarist whose magic helps to bring the songs alive. Gaz and Martin have a lot in common, a belief in local produce, keep their own chickens and have a thoughtful outlook on life. They're quiet and unassuming characters that it takes many a year to really get to know, and as the folklaw rhythm section they're the perfect antidote to the exuberant front-of-stage shenanigans. In past lives you may have seen Martin touring the UK with the Blues Brothers Reloaded, and more recently you'll find him hanging out at the folk festivals moonlighting with The Vogwells and Bewelian.
Gaz Hunt in FolkLaw Gaz Hunt - Percussion, and BVs
Gaz drums like an express train carrying the first class mail on the Flying Scotsman for the queen and sings harmonies octaves higher than a young Aled Jones mingled in with the occassional Gillan scream. When Gaz is on stage you're guaranteed a few more songs in the set and watch fingers blur before your eyes as Gaz powers through the set in search of a Guiness. Before joining FolkLaw, Gaz was for 15 years the percussive power house behind UK Folk Rockers the Bleeding Hearts, the very band where Nick first met Gaz way back in 1999. Before those heady days Gaz used to drum with Wurzel from metal legends MotorHead and has more claims to fame than we can recount. Luckily some of those experiences have scared him in to playing acoustic folk and we're glad he's come through his metal days unscathed.
Helen Harper in FolkLaw Helen Harper - Irish Flute, Piccolo
Bringing grace and finesse to the FolkLaw line-up is the flautist tour-de-force of Helen Harper. Hailing from the finest classical orchestras in the South West and a career that's seen more G&S's than than a pirate in penzance, Helen plays like a maiden fair to see, and stomps out the tunes like a modern major general. Now, when our Martin hears G&S his minds straight off down the Gloucester Sharpness canal, but differences in boating acronynms aside they get along just fine and since meeting folklaw, Helen's come to love all things folk. Helen doesn't even mind a crusty festival or two, but draws the line at drinking out of a rusty standpipe, and who can blame her eh!
Jon Dowling in FolkLaw Jon Dowling - Bass
Completing the line-up on bass guitar is Jon Dowling, who has a knack of playing bass lines which get the crowd moving. Jon also has a massive appetite and consumes pretty much any rider given half a chance, but somehow manages to stay thin as the neck of his bass. How he burns off the calories we don't know, but he helps to keep us young and brings loads of new ideas to the songs from his musical lineage through Cheltenham Music College. Jons favorite bass amp is an Ampeg, and he doesn't like heights and especially stairs, so we won't be gigging up the Eiffel Tower!
Lyndon Webb in FolkLaw Lyndon Webb - Production and Sound
Lyndon joins us for really special big headline gigs on mandolin and guitars, but is more often seen lurking behind the recording desk. Lyndon has engineered the sound for FolkLaw at several festivals and venues over the years and is also behind the recording, production and mixing of We Will Rise, Smokey Joe and the Tales That They Tell at Victoria Est Studios. In other guises Lyndon plays with Gerry Colvin in the The Gerry Colvin band, Stuart Earl in My Name Is Earl and more bands than you can shake your hat at, which is why you only see him on stage with us on rare occasions!
Paul Hutchinson special guest in FolkLaw Paul Hutchinson - Special guest on "We Will Rise" - Accordion
Paul Hutchinson has generously added his talents to FolkLaws latest album "We Will Rise". You may know his Accordion style already from the Belshazzar's Feast duo with Paul Sartin. BF are still on the loose with a busy performing schedule and regular tours. Among their many highlights was a nomination for Best Duo at the BBC Folk Awards in 2010.
Emi McDade special guest in FolkLaw Emi McDade - Special guest on "We Will Rise" - Vocals and Keys
Emi McDade has been a long term friend of the band, joining us on bigger stages for suppporting piano and backing vocals, including Ilfracombe Folk Festival and our very own Smokey Joe album launch at Stroud Subscription Rooms. A super musician with a beautiful voice, we're delighted that Emi has been able to join us on We Will Rise and are looking for opportunities where she can join us again live.
And some other fantastic people....
Many people have helped us along the way, support us, champion our cause, pick us up when we're down and help to make FolkLaw what it is today. Just some of those people are Marty Fitzgibbon, Adam Benyon and Tom Dunkley on percussion, some of the best cake and jam bakers around the world famous JD plum jam, some fantastic photographers including Sarah J Dow, Ash Harnett, Paul Johnson, Cello, Frank Kruse, Steve Fearn, Ned Gibbons, Martin Bailey Reynolds and of course Katie Thomas who succeeded in getting the FolkLaw fiddle into Peppers Art Gallery. There's also many promotors of real music who've helped us along the way including Michael and Julia from Germany, "drum-skin" Frank, Tristan at Dotted Line, Geoff Alun-Jones at Neil O'Brien our good friend Jan, Pete Watkins of Hook Norton, Scotty Gordon of Oxford, Mark Cole of Gloucester, Sian Phillips of Bloxham, Jurgen of Bremen, Alfie Kingston of Bristol, Bob Ford of Wessex Folk Festival, Derek and Mary of Banbury Folk Club and many many more, plus all the other fantastic Festival and Folk club organisers all of whom devote their time to the music scene and help us to live our dreams

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