Updated Nov 2005
BILL WHALEY & DAVE FLETCHER
In the past few years Lincolnshire singer Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher have become widely known on the British folk scene following appearances at festivals including Sidmouth, though they have been performing for over 20 years. They are also well known throughout Lincolnshire for their work with the Higgledy Piggledy Ceilidh Band, Bill continues to play with the band, though Dave left in 1993. Prior to that they worked together in the band Sluice Bridge.
Their repertoire is an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary song that never fails to involve the audience. In fact the evening will be 'splendid song after splendid song, with Dave's soaring vocals striking sparks off Bill's sensitive and flowing accompaniments.' ( John Conolly)
Having been Lincolnshire's best kept secret for decades they released their first album 'Their Fine Array' back in 1996, the first stepping stone to their 'overnight' success, though originally intended only as a keepsake of their singing, it opened the door to club and festival bookings galore and organisers and audiences alike came to appreciate the value of what Bill and Dave offered.
This was followed by 'Old Men & Love Songs', a CD that took its title from a comment passed by Kate Atkinson (organiser of Holmfirth Festival) after seeing Bill & Dave performing at Whitby - "It's lovely to hear two old men singing love songs."
Dave Fletcher & Bill Whaley are Lincolnshire singers of songs rather than singers of Lincolnshire songs. They have developed a rich, full sound, laced with fine harmonies.
They draw their songs from all over and then make them their own. Their singing has a very traditional feel, though actually many of the songs are written by contemporary songwriters, including Lincolnshire's own John Conolly, Martyn Wyndham-Read who is a keen advocate of Bill & Dave's work, Bob Dylan and Iris DeMent. This traditional sound is enhanced by Bill's concertina and harmonium playing. He also plays a modern midi concertina, though he seems to have misplaced some purple bellows for this unusual instrument!
Another aspect of their shows is their humourous repartie between songs, Bill surely has the most 'dead-pan' act of any performer in the UK. Has anyone seen him smile during a show? Except perhaps right at the end of brilliant evening!
Bill and Dave released their third CD 'Less Sprightly' on a memorable night at Middlecott School in Kirton, near Boston in November 2003, attracting an audience of over 300 people, many travelling miles to see them, along with Martyn Wyndham-Read and John Conolly.
The stunning CD features songs from Lincolnshire artists John Conolly ('Old Men Sing Love Song' / 'Angels Of Lincoln' / 'Weary Winter'), Dave Evardson ('My Darling Girl') and Tom Lane's 'Five Bob Side Of The Street' (which tells of the shady side of Grantham's nightlife and servicemen from the local RAF bases.). Bill's own song, a finalist in the BBC Radio Lincolnshire Folk Song Competition in 2002.
They have also been involved in the prestigious Song Links project both at The Sidmouth Festival and with the Fellside album launch at Cecil Sharp House in March 2003.
Audiences are guaranteed a great night's singing, and entertainment when Bill & Dave are in town, singing along with the chorus's is almost compulsory ~ in fact its almost impossible not too!
For more info visit the Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher website