John Renbourn, The Greystones - “I’ve just been told this is The Highcliffe,” says John Renbourn, referring to a previous incarnation of The Greystones.
“Bloody ’ell,” he adds, clearly shocked at the passage of time. It’s as though a lifetime flashed before him, with memories of nights a million gigs ago.
But it’s appropriate he’s playing to a packed audience in the backroom of a pub. His career has been built on such occasions, ever since he joined a handful of British fingerpickers to set the acoustic-guitar world alight in the 1960s.
Renbourn is now a giant bear of man, hunched over his instrument. But the delicacy of his playing belies his physical stature.
He may poke fun at his musical memory but he still has all his faculties.
His set starts with the blues, courtesy of Mose Allison and The Rev Gary Davis, who Renbourn refers to as ‘the most irreverent Reverend’.
The second-half is more Celtic, evoking scenes of windswept Isles and brooding skies.
Duke Ellington once said there are only two types of music, good and the other kind. John Renbourn specialises in the former.
Acoustic duo Velvet Goldmine are holding court at Maggie May’s on Wednesday. Featuring Debbie Boyer and Ainsley Stones on guitar and vocals they perform a mixture of classic covers and original material. “We like our music to be catchy, tuneful, fun and a bit clever around the edges,” says Ainsley. “We love artists who use real instruments, real voices and classic and imaginative songwriting techniques.”
Velvet Goldmine are also taking part in a A Day of Live Music in aid of Weston Park Cancer Charity at The Greystones on Saturday.