The Kelso Folk and Live Music Club’s home for the last few years has been The Cobbles Inn on Bowmont Street. The Friday night sessions start after 9pm and may attract anything from two or three regulars – a rare instance now – to over twenty musicians and singers with visitors from far afield.
Acoustic guitars form the mainstay for singers but you’ll encounter electronic smallpipes and piano, accordion, melodeon, five-string banjo, flute, fiddle, whistle, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, hand percussion, ukulele-banjo, acoustic bass and many other instruments. Unaccompanied singing is appreciated just as much as a full dance-tune stramash and you’ll hear originals from the 12th the 21st centuries.
Because The Cobbles Inn is a restaurant, children are welcome. It is a safe environment with a friendly atmosphere. Closing on Friday nights tends to happen on Saturday morning; it’s a late session. Taxis leaves from a few yards outside the pub door, and the location right in the centre of Kelso is very easy to find. The pub was completely remodelled in early 2008 – read about it and see photos.
The Quiet Session
From March 12th 2012, every second Monday in the month will host a quiet session at the Cobbles Inn. This may be in the upstairs function room, as after Easter the pub will be open on Mondays for the public.
Quiet Sessions are for both songs and tunes, but it’s not just a chance to play the same stuff over again without the usual noise of the pub!
Stuff which works:
- Slow airs
- Fingerstyle guitar
- Unaccompanied song
- Solo melody playing, or instruments like the harp
- Content-aware percussion
- New material – original or found
- Acoustic instruments only unless (like electronic pipes or solid body electric guitar) requiring a small battery amp
Stuff which belongs on a Friday night:
- Fast unison tune sets
- Loud chorus songs
- High energy chord strumming
- Massed percussion
- Loud or amplified instruments
All club members are welcome but you should, please, have paid your £5 per annum membership as this classes as a club private function. Because it will usually be in the function/dining room, under-18s can attend; under-16s accompanied by an adult.
The club was started in 1995 when a Perthshire fiddle player arrived to work at Plexus and discovered no sessions were happening in the town. Mike, who has long since departed for England, advertised a meeting to set one up and it has grown on a weekly basis ever since.
The club was formally constituted in at the turn of the millennium when three years of sponsored ‘Seasons of Sessions’ brought in funds, donated by the members who anchored sessions round the Borders. These in turn enabled the first Kelso Free Folk Festival in 2003, supported by a council grant.
Since then the club has been self-supporting with a programme of visiting guest concerts, a regular weekly open session, and frequent contributions to the cultural life of Kelso by taking part in events. One recent event was our own 2008 Burns Supper.
To let our organisers know if you are planning to come along as a new musician, singer or just to listen email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs by James Shepherd