Feast Of Fiddles
The brainchild of Hugh Crabtree , THE FEAST OF FIDDLES consists of a whole
bunch of the best fiddle players in the country playing with a rock based
This merry band of folk and folk rock superstars have been together in
varying formats for nine years and only play once a year in the early spring. This
year the band (in alphabetical order) consists of....
Garry Blakeley - Garry's dynamic fiddle playing is held in high regard by the
likes of Peter Knight of Steeleye Span and Barry Dransfield. A founder member
of the group Four Poster Bed, Garry was also a member of The Mariners, a
founder member of the internationally known group Brian Boru, the successful
Celtic group Spitzkarine, folk-rock band Better Days, (who toured with Steeleye
Span), and also the duo Rogues in Rosin (who also toured with Steeleye on two
occasions as well as supporting Christy Moore). Since 1993, Garry has been
playing professionally with Pete Fyfe in the popular duo Band Of Two. 1995 saw
Garry playing in the Celtic fusion band, The Tabs. Other musical experiences
include working with Jackie McAuley of Poor Mouth, Doug Scarratt of Saxon and
ex-"Neighbours" star (!) Craig McLachlan!
Joe Broughton - although a classically trained violin player, Joe's style
owes much more to folk, jazz and blues. Joe studied at the Birmingham
Conservatoire where he now teaches Folk Music. Between 1987 and 1992 Joe worked in
circuses, which explains why Joe has as been known to play fiddle on stage
whilst riding a unicycle! In 1997 Joe joined the legendary Albion Band, whose
leader Ashley Hutchings describes him as a "massive individual talent". Joe's
infectious enthusiasm and in-between song banter puts most comedians to shame.
Joe has released a book of his own tunes and an album from Joe's collaboration
with Kevin Dempsey, "Every Other World", was released at the end of 2001,
followed by his solo album "Sound Engine".
Hugh Crabtree (melodeon and vocals) is the founder and "bossman" of The
Feast of Fiddles team. Playing in the band Whittakers Patent Remedy, with such
members as John Underwood , Martin Vincent and Ian Sanderson, much of what "The
Feast " play now is based on the Whittakers Patent Remedy arrangements.
Ian Cutler has been playing with "The Feast" since the beginning. Most
famous for his music on the cult film "The Wicker Man" starring Edward Woodward and
Christopher Lee , Ian has played with Bully Wee, guested with Fairport
Convention and now plays with The Hot Rats. Renowned for combining speed and
accuracy with a laconic style that makes it all look so easy , Ian is a joy to watch
Dave Harding (electric bass) provides not only the solid bass rythmns.Along
with his partner in crime JohnUnderwood , he can be seen mercilessly pushing
the bass line to dizzy limits whilst still injecting the humour that makes him
Tom Leary (Violin) - Tom's lists of credits are endless and include Little
England and guesting with Fairport Convention - there is not much that Tom
has not seen or done within the music world. Now working with Kevin Dempsey,
Tom is a beautifully tender player with a great gift for writing melodic tunes.
Dave Mattacks is the rhythmic drumming backline of "The Feast". Playing with
Paul McCartney, Fairport Convention , Steeleye Span and Chris Rea , he is
probably the most sought after drummer there is, with his dynamic cross rythmns
and breathtaking speed. He now resides in America and plays with Mary Chapin
Brian McNeill (Violin and bouzouki) is one of the best traditional Scottish
players around. A member of the legendary Battlefield Band, Brian was also a
member of Clan Alba. His witty antics on stage are by now legendary, and his
superb Scottish dance tunes will have the audience on their feet and dancing in
seconds. His solo albums have received critical acclaim and his live
performances are in much demand. He has most recently taken up the post of Head of
Scottish Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance in Glasgow .
John Underwood (rhythm guitar) and Martin "Hank" Vincent (lead guitar)
are both also member of Whittakers Patent Remedy. Martin has played with the
Albion Band and lends a distinct "grunt" to the proceedings with his great
This year's (2004) FEAST OF FIDDLES will also feature two of Brian McNeils's
from The Royal College of Scottish Music and Dance.