The New Radio Ballads – 23 June 2024

In the 50s and 60s Ewan MacColl along with Charles Parker and Peggy Seeger created the groundbreaking Radio Ballads broadcasts for the BBC Home Service using an audio documentary format to highlight the experiences of real people weaving the voices of rarely-heard communities with songs written from and about their recorded interviews. Almost half a century later, in 2006, a new set of Radio Ballads were commissioned by BBC Radio 2 using the same format but this time involving a whole team of stellar musicians, singers and songwriters from the folk/acoustic/roots music scene under the guiding hands of producer John Leonard and musical director John Tams.

Now three members of that team, Bob Fox, Jez Lowe and Julie Matthews, have put together a selection of songs from the 2006 new Radio Ballads for a concert performance “IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF EWAN MacCOLL.”

All three are consummate engaging performers of meaningful songs and stories and are multi-instrumentalists whose skills have been honed by decades of live touring. They have all recorded extensively, worked in collaboration with many of the top folk roots artists and bands as well as having highly successful solo careers and are well loved and respected by audiences and colleagues alike.

Expect to be entertained and enlightened by songs of joy, love, hardship and humour.

What a delightful way to finish what has been a brilliant tour of the 2006 Radio Ballads in St George’s venue in Hartlepool. Lovely, lovely people (thanks Paul and Tom), a welcome hot preshow meal (thank you Gill), a great and very appreciative audience and even a bouquet of flowers at the end (thanks again Paul). Needless to say I swiped them from the lads!

Thanks to all the promoters and venues who welcomed us into their lovely halls and to the audiences that came and filled them. We all feel very blessed.‘  Julie Matthews,  Facebook

“Brilliant, I was really impressed with Julie Matthews’ song writing. Was a masterpiece’ Ian, Hartlepool