Nottingham Prayer

Our folk who art of Nottingham
Well known be thy name
From Clifton Grove and brook Fairham
Or the Leen, as it is in Lenton
Give us Daybrook and our River Trent
And pity our detracters
As we forgive those that speak against us
And lead us not into Carrington
But deliver us to Redhill
For thine is Nottinghamia
The people and the story
For ever and ever,
Arnold.

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The Golden Troubadours

Troubadour: A French poet-musician writing of chivalric love.

I had previously seen The Golden Troubadours ‘by default’ at Nottingham’s Hockley Hustle music festival in October 2014. At that time I was interested in visiting Antenna (one of the festival’s 40 venues), where I stumbled across them playing a short set on a purpose built stage and in front of a NottsTV film crew.

They were musically and visually very strong. The band’s presence in front of the cameras only added to the feeling that this was a band with a future.

Skip forward two months, I had heard that the manager at The Poppy and Pint in West Bridgford had become a father for the 3rd time. Wishing to congratulate him; and having noticed that his pub’s pre-Christmas party coincided with a Nottingham Forest fixture, I decided to visit. On the day before, I saw on social media that the Golden Troubadours were playing there as-well. Everything had fallen into place!

The Poppy and Pint is sited in what was a British Legion Club. A large building with several areas for drinkers and diners. It also has a large function room with a stage. I assumed that the band would be playing in the function room and having arrived early, we sat down for a meal.

Several of the Troubadours had also arrived early to set up and complete their sound check in good time. I was misguidedly hoping to see them perform on stage and to a captive audience but they were asked to set up in the bar area amongst the furniture; as is the norm for standard pub bookings.

And so they did. This accomplished and ambitious Nottingham band played two sets of their unique soulful songs to an audience of discerning diners!

Admittedly, at this stage in their careers, any gig is an opportunity to play. They took to their task with an assured air. Being up close and personal meant that at least the audience could see in detail the musicianship, instrumentation; and what shoes they wear.

Matthew Taylor on vocals had the hardest job. A natural performer whose voice and movement has a freedom that hints at him being released from the shackles of some earlier conformity. When his performance area is restricted to about a square metre he merely appears to grow taller and rise up like a genie out of a bottle!

The three guitarists sat quietly. Lee in his wheelchair, James and Jade on small bar stools. All went about their task meticulously. What came across very strong on this performance was the band’s use of flamenco style. Jade also introduced the ‘bottleneck’ to ‘slide’ between the styles of songs from the bands own set.

Jason (on percussion) also showed his dogged refusal to be the ‘un-noticed drummer’ at the back. His use of shakers, tambourine, and marraccas all created the mood for Matt to rise above the chink of the coffee cups and the punters at the bar.

I came away from my second troubadours gig with both of their EP CDs and my mind convinced that this group have great potential.

The EPs ‘Silent Revolution’ and ‘Beautiful Revolving Jane’ have sleeves with some original Spanish influenced artwork by Emily Garces and Matthew Taylor’s poems of chivalric love!

Silent Revolution has five tracks that are easy to get into but good enough to leave on repeat. It is a fine record.

This Nottingham group have managed to combine European style and deliver it passionately to any audience. Long may they continue.