A sparkling evening’s entertainment was on the menu for Wednesday 14th December with the Hinckley ACT Christmas extravaganza. This year the line up was better than ever, featuring Vikki Clayton, Julie Neal and Robert Small, Brian Reed, Nigel Beck and In Any Order (the Christmas version!).
And of course, there was the usual mince pies and mulled wine at the interval, which got everyone into the Christmas spirit…
Possessed of a silvery-pure voice and exquisite musical sensibilities, it was inevitable that Clayton would take center-stage as an artist. Her solo recording career – which has principally been for the New Day label – began with Honor Tokened, and her subsequent work included Lost Lady Found (which included her first recording of a Sandy Denny song); additionally, in association with Fred A. Baker and Ric Sanders, she recorded Sanders, Baker & Clayton Carried Away, In Flight and Looking At The Stars.
Clayton has also worked with Gordon Giltrap and Tony Moore on Midsummer Cushion, an album of Georgian poet John Clare’s work set to her music. On Movers And Shakers, she played and sang alongside Gerry Conway, Ric Sanders, John Kirkpatrick, and Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre, and she has toured with the Vikki Clayton Band, which includes Jethro Tull co-founder Clive Bunker on the drums.
She is best known as a solo performer, however. As of 2004, her most well-known recording is It Suits Me Well, an album of songs written by, arranged, or associated with her longtime idol Sandy Denny, originally released on the Kent-based HTD label and reissued by Castle Records.
He started performing publicly in the Derbyshire peak district around 2000 moving to Leicestershire in 2004. The change of job and location stalled his performing activities somewhat but he has gradually found outlets that welcome his brand of acoustic classic pop. His stated objective is to deliver his versions as simply as possible without losing the essence of the originals, claiming that it would be a crime to murder someone’s favourite song. Using acoustic guitar and occasionally a bass drum, he manages to make some surprising choices for stripped-down acoustic delivery work.
“I’ve drawn great inspiration from such great players as Pierre Bensusan, Leo Kottke, Eric Roche, Antonio Forcione & many others. Time spent learning some of their pieces has been an invaluable tool in expanding my technical knowledge & repertoire and has contributed immeasurably in developing my own writing style.”
Booking and venue details
The entrance fee for the evening was £7 for members and £8 for non-members. The event started at 8.00 pm, with doors opening at 7.30 p.m.
Based in the Sketchley Meadows Business Park, Hinckley ACT is a high quality music venue that offers an informal and intimate atmosphere for concerts and for the monthly club nights, where musicians can come along and ‘take the stage.’ Established by company chairman, Keith London, on the premises of his firm Advanced Carbide Tooling (A.C.T.), the venue provides full stage and seating facilities, plus top quality sound and lighting equipment.
There is a licensed bar and ample free car parking.