Bluesman Big Bill Broonzy was once asked to define folk music. He is said to have answered: “I guess all songs is folk songs – I never heard no horses sing ‘em.”
It’s a good line and it is perhaps an attitude shared by the members of Falkirk Folk Club, who have been on a mission to take their music out of the traditional “room in a pub” and into the community.
Led by Stuart Miller and a group of stalwarts, in the past few days alone, members have played at venues as diverse as Muiravonside Cafe, the Quoit Bar in Redding and even the atrium of Forth Valley Royal Hospital as members follow their own musical version of the John Muir Trail.
And in the coming weeks they will be equally busy as members of the club’s CarronCast project take to the stage alongside folk legend Archie Fisher and the trailblazing young band, Barluath.
The concert, next Saturday, is the highlight of ‘Folk at the Tryst’, which is organised as part of the Tryst Festival, a celebration of the arts in Falkirk district.
CarronCast, now in its third year, is a project which helps and encourages local musicians to gain confidence and experience in front of an audience – polishing their skills.
Stuart said: “Whether its someone who wants to sing at a wedding or someone who wants to do more regular live performances, it’s all about working with musicians to help them improve their skills to a professional level.”
Running workshops and seminars with veteran performers, CarronCast isn’t just about performing – it’s also aimed at helping people organise performances.
The Tryst Festival concert has become the cornerstone of the ambitious project and this year 15 members of CarronCast will face the town hall audience, under the guidance of musical director Roz McCulloch.
They could do worse than using Archie Fisher as a role model. A master guitarist, he is one of Scotland’s foremost folksinger/ songwriters.
For over 25 years he was host of BBC Radio Scotland’s award-winning ‘Travelling Folk’ programme and has been widely recognised for his contributions to Scottish folk music.
Barluath, meanwhile, are full of up and coming talent establishing themselves as one of Scotland’s hottest traditional bands.
That’s not to say, of course, that the traditional “room in a pub” is no longer happening. The club still meets every Thursday evening in the Tolbooth Bar and as part of Folk at the Tryst there will be a special session night to celebrate the John Muir Trail.
Stuart said: “The John Muir Trail sessions have been fantastic. When you try something new you never really know what sort of reception you’re going to get but it’s been absolutely brilliant.”
For more details about the Tryst Festival visit www.trystfestival.org.uk. For more information on Falkirk Folk Club visit www.falkirkfolkclub.co.uk.