If you appreciate the “big ballads”, combined with plenty of storytelling and musical fun, this promises to be a knockout show: Canada’s Matthew Byrne teams up with Connecticut’s own Cliff Haslam.
Cliff is regarded as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the traditional music of his native United Kingdom. He has been singing nearly all his life and became enmeshed in America’s traditional folk music scene (including here at Branford Folk) when he came to Connecticut in 1966 at age 21. A resident of Madison, he performs regularly at our coffeehouse and is a beloved artist to our audiences.
Cliff’s songs display a fine sense of humor and a bit of the British bawdy along with great vocal artistry. His booming bass-baritone shakes the walls as he breathes new life into an old chantey and in the next moment renders a ballad so tender it would bring tears to the eyes of an executioner.
In 1983, Folk-Legacy Records released Cliff’s “The Clockwinder”, an album that immediately became a classic in traditional folk music circles. Despite that success, it took him nearly three decades to record another solo album but last summer he released his fourth album entitled “Golden, Golden,” an album dedicated to his wife Sandy featuring some of her favorite songs.
A native of Warrington, Cheshire, England – about 16 miles up the Mersey from Liverpool – Cliff is as fine an exemplar of the British folk tradition as you’ll find this side of the pond.
Matthew Byrne is one of Canada’s leading young balladeers and made his Branford Folk debut in April 2018. Born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and storytellers, Matthew’s repertoire is heavily influenced by that unique musical lineage – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and he supports this tradition with powerful vocals, polished guitar work, and a presence that fills a listening room.
“I’m not a folklorist or ethnomusicologist, at least not officially”, he says. “And I’m not a purist. I’ve pored over the nuances of the pub standards as much as the obscure murder balladry. What attracts me to a traditional song is the right combination of melody and language, both of which have always fascinated me.”
But Matthew’s also a student of history whose love of traditional music goes well beyond the words and music. For him, songs are ways of understanding people before him…their lives, work, language, and worldview.
His artistry has made a swift impression on the folk music world. Two of his first three full-length album releases won “Traditional Recording of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2015 and 2018, including his latest album, “Horizon Lines.” He also performs with The Dardanelles, a five-member folk group comprised of players from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Admission: $25 non-members, $20 members, $5 children 12 and under.
Branford Folk Coffeehouse
First Congregational Church of Branford
1009 Main Street, Branford, CT.
For more information call 203-488-7715
Branford Folk Coffeehouse welcomes refreshment donations of pastries, cold drinks and other assorted goodies!
Branford Folk Music Society – Traditionally, the Best Folk Music in southern Connecticut since 1973