Friday Sessions in Kelso
The Kelso Folk & Live Music Club is a non-profit association which has grown considerably in the last few years. Membership is informal, with donations collected from members and audience alike. We have perhaps 30 regular participants. Because of the wide range of skills and tastes, there are now two overlapping Friday night venues - an open mic, run mostly for guitar/song solo spots with some collaboration (joining in is normal in Kelso, we don’t hush people unless there is a VERY good reason). This is at the Black Swan upstairs from 7.30pm, ending around 11pm. The original Cobbles Inn session can start around 9.30pm, and is both more informal and more traditional/Scots in bias. There is a casual take-it-in-turns approach but it does not rule out ‘following up’ tunes and songs with appropriate responses ‘out of order’. Visitors are made very welcome and the session rarely finishes exactly at 1am.
If you like a quiet and attentive audience and wish to try out a song or a tune, the Black Swan is preferable to the Cobbles. It is more organised, with Peter Fry normally MCing the running order and looking after the small PA which does no more than help with presence. Ian Croall is normally resident with Degerpipes to provide some tunes, inviting accompaniment. The Black Swan is an old traditional town pub where darts and dominoes - not to mention big screen sports - can be found downstairs. The club’s upstairs room is a really comfortable space exclusively for the open mic, members and audience.
If you like a pub atmosphere - often with rather high spirited large tables of diners deciding to stay for the craic - the Cobbles late session can range from noisy to riotous, with the final half hour often the quietest and attracting the most listenable solo performances. Indeed, unless you stick around until chucking out time you may miss the best. Having said all this, the Cobbles is a very civilised pub, winners of the top dining out awards for the region. It just attracts some serious party animals and sells a lot of good wine (so it’s not bad for chorus songs or a bit of dancing to reels).
As a visitor to these sessions two weeks ago (for the first time) I can confirm eveyrhting said by David Kilpatrick. Its the best of both worlds!
The Cobbles - An Update 2012
Since David Kilpatrick wrote the above, thing have changed a little. The early part of the evening is no longer at the Black Swan, but at the Ace Centre which is on the Golf Course road- see http://www.kelsofolk.co.uk/ for details.
Folk trickle down from there to the Cobbles between 9:00 and 10:00 pm.
What happens is next can be rather random, depending on who turns up. There does seem to be a core of Jacobite style songs that are sung early on. After that it can be a brilliant set of tunes, some Eagles songs………….. You’ll just have to come and try it.
Do try out the Cobbles’ own brewed ales. Remember this is a popular pub and it is Friday night!
Re: The Cobbles Inn
Advertised as 10pm Fridays on the pub’s website.
The Kelso Folk Club now meets in the Cross Keys pub on The Square according to this page - https://www.facebook.com/kelsofolkclub/ - before heading up to The Cobbles.