The acoustics within Ashwellthorpe Village Hall provided by the wooden and wood-beamed roof, once again proved a valuable complement to a superb musical entertainment by Liz Simcock, her backing players and the local band, Hollowlands, playing to a sell-out audience. The first set by Hollowlands – Mick Garman, Pete Leeson, Derek Smith and Helen West vocalising and playing guitars, ukuleles and percussion – started with ‘Last Train to Nuremburg’ and also included, among others, ‘Way over Yonder (in another key)’. Are they performing during the Wymondham Music Festival?  If so, another chance for everyone to hear them.

Not knowing what to expect, I wondered whether the evening might be full of “traditional” folk songs or folk rock or protest songs from the 1960s with which I was familiar. But Liz Simcock added to my knowledge and wowed the whole audience with her perfect pitch and purity of voice with songs of her own composition. Backed by Dave Ellis on guitar and Boo Howard on bass guitar, and occasional bouzouki, I’d say her compositions were songs with a social conscience, songs of sadness and of joy, or realism rather than idealism, of life and hope, and some of amusement – I’ll never knit again without humming k1, p 1, k 2 together! Her encore at the end of second set, was an unaccompanied version of ‘Annie Laurie’ which brought tears to the eyes of the Scot sitting next to me.

It was a great evening with at least two of the audience coming all the way from Cambridge to hear Liz (having read about it on our village website) and thanks to Brian Mondin for organising the gig and also to Penny for organising all the refreshments. I hope Liz, Dave, Boo, Mick, Pete, Derek and Helen all enjoyed themselves too.

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