Front Room Songs

Artist management and promotion

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A look back at Honeyfeet and Theo Bard

We’ve been rather remiss here at Songs from a Surrey Front Room. We’ve been so preoccupied with the actual events, we have totally failed to share anything on here about our last two house gigs. Which is a shame, because they were both really rather special.

On Saturday we hosted our boldest and biggest house gig with raucously entertaining Felix Hagan and the Family, for which a review will follow shortly. Before I post that up, I can’t let our last two shows going without mention.



Honeyfeet’s Ríoghnach Connolly and Ellis Davies. Picture © Katie Smith

Honeyfeet describe themselves as “Manchester’s finest ethio-trad, folk-hop band”, a description that sums up their eclectic, jazz folk sound far better than I could ever do. I’d been pursuing them to play for us ever since coming across their brilliant single Little Boat on YouTube last year. There were times when I felt I was walking a fine line between persistence and harassment, so I was very grateful when guitarist Ellis Davies finally confirmed they would come.

The logistics of bringing the whole of Honeyfeet from Manchester were too much, so singer Ríoghnach Connolly and Ellis Davies performed as a duo in a stunning set down at Brookside Farm, our now second home.

Ríoghnach has an astounding voice and a wicked sense of humour; she had us spellbound and in stitches in equal measure. Ellis’ expert guitar playing is the perfect backdrop to Ríoghnach’s voice. They delivered a magical evening full of music and laughter, and we can’t wait to invite the whole band back for a future date.

You can find Honeyfeet online at
Twitter: @honeyfeetmusic


Theo Bard

Theo Bard

Theo Bard in the Front Room. Picture © Katie Smith

We take a great deal of care over the musicians we book to play in our front room, and it is never an easy decision to book someone you have never seen live. Theo Bard came to my attention after I had put a plea for suggestions out on Twitter, and several people quite independently recommended him. Even so, I was nervous about Theo playing. I needn’t have worried; he is an accomplished songwriter and performer who gave us a truly memorable evening.

His music is folk, but there is nothing twee or backward looking about his songs; sharp rhythms and great narrative lyrics based on his own life experiences make this a contemporary sound. As folk should be.


You can find Theo online at
witter @theobard



Revere – Right on Target

Guest review from Sam Jackson

Band Revere perform an acoustic set in a Surrey front room

The mighty Revere performing live in a Surrey front room. Image © Katie Smith

This latest “Songs from the Front Room” house gig was a huge leap forward from previous shows. The audience abandoned its usual cosy spot in Katie’s front room to watch the phenomenal seven-piece Revere in all its glory in the more spacious games room of a local farm house. With an audience of over 70, some of them coming from as far away as Buckinghamshire, the gig looked promising. That is until you realise you will have to serve chilli to these 70 people, and then play in front of them with the band.

Expectations of Revere were high, especially for people who had already seen them before, but as soon as Nicholas Hirst started beautifully playing his keyboard and Stephen Ellis began to sing the first few lines of the melancholic melody “I Won’t Blame You” with his unique and powerful voice, everyone was transfixed. This was the moment that regular goers realised that Revere were about to introduce something new to the front room gigs.

After a mind blowing intro, you could tell the audience was satisfied and ready to hear more. Revere’s repertoire consisted of classics such as “As the Radars Sleep” and their own versions of well-known hits such as Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” to familiarise newcomers with their songs and style. Of course, adding a Disney song to the set list halfway through won over the audience completely. They also treated long-time fans to some new songs off their ground-breaking and innovative new album “My Mirror/Your Target” such as the moving song “What Am I If I’m Not Even Dust?” You could feel the energy and effort put into every song and the chemistry between each member of the band. What was also recognisable was the sheer emotion and thought they’d put into the lyrics and instrumentals of each song, all of which were perfect.

Sam Jackson plays guitar with Revere

Sam Jackson makes a guest appearance for Revere’s encore. Image © Katie Smith

As most of us know, all good things must come to an end, but not before Stephen teased the audience with an encore with a twist; I was going to play their last song, “The Escape Artist”, with them. I nervously waited at the side for my part whilst Stephen and the others took centre stage, and as their masterpiece of a song slowly died down, Stephen introduced me to the warm and welcoming audience. And the next three minutes were some of the most amazing moments of my life, although my concentrating face may not have allowed me to express that!

I felt extremely privileged to play with this brilliant group of geniuses and no one seemed to walk away disappointed. Yet another successful show and a massive thank you to Katie, Al, Mark, Karen and Revere.

Follow Revere on Twitter @Revere and Facebook

Video by Lawrence Magee

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Two in the House

Review by Al

The latest Songs from the Front Room session saw “purveyors of fine Anglo-Americana” Matt Ord and Niles Krieger, ‘The Two’, come down from sunny Newcastle to play some amazing traditional folk and old time music from the UK and the US. We had another packed house for this month’s musical extravaganza, with many regulars and a few new faces to welcome to our evening of excellent music right from our lounge.

The Two - Matt & Niles

The Two – Matt & Niles

Matt coaxes the finest sounds available to humanity from his guitar, accompanied on the fiddle and mandolin by the very talented Niles. Matt and Niles are two of the most intelligent and engaging people you are ever likely to meet, and they certainly know their music. Not since I saw the Carolina Chocolate Drops have I been so educated as I was entertained, as they explained where their songs came from and who they learned them from. At one point Matt explained the finer points of tuning his guitar to emulate a mountain dulcimer just to cover his search for a plectrum.

The Two are definitely keeping the folk tradition alive in a way that makes it just about impossible to stop your feet from tapping. Switching from Scottish to Texan tunes, but always with a story, it was clear that The Two have a passion for music, and a sense of humour with it. Who knew that atheists could be such proud ambassadors for gospel, getting the room singing along to a rousing rendition of Can’t You Hear Jerusalem Mourn. And, in a demonstration of their musical range, their version of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android was sublime

There is a real communication between the two as they play, and they had their cynical Surrey audience as putty in their hands in no time at all. The mood was positive as everyone enjoyed the unfailingly fantastic song and sound. These lads are always welcome in my house, and you’d do well to check them out too.


L.A. Salami we’ll come back for the rest of you

Singer L.A. Salami performing in our front room.Picture © Katie Smith

L.A. Salami in our front room. Picture © Katie Smith

I broke my unwritten rule of only booking artists I had seen live when I asked L.A. Salami to play in our front room and I was anxious that this enigmatic young singer would live up to the expectation set in the videos I had seen on YouTube.

Lookman Adekunle Salami (to give him his full name) didn’t disappoint. From the moment he played his first chord, we were all captivated. He gave us many of the songs that I already know so well from YouTube – Day to Day (For 6 Days a Week), Monday May Be Coming, No Halleujahs Now, When The Poet Sings, and the utterly bewitching I’ll Tell You of a Girl, as well as some that were new to me.

He has an easy delivery and warmth of tone that makes you feel like he’s been around for years and you’ve known these songs forever. It’s hard to believe that it is less than five years since he was given his first guitar. There were many moments of pure poetry that lulled you into a warm and cosy place, but then he brought us sharply back to reality with the dark but hauntingly beautiful “Loosely on my Mind”, a tale of murder on the streets of London.

L.A. Salami is such a gifted young songwriter, it was hard not to draw comparisons with the greats he told me was inspired by – Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. While the influence is there to see, this is no cheap imitation – he is crafting songs that are entirely his own. We talked after the show about songwriting and he talked of ‘big songs’ – those that last through the generations, and ‘small songs’ that may be good, but are essentially throw away. There is no doubt in my mind that L.A. is well on his way to creating some big songs of his own.

He finished the night with a plea to find him on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and left us with a song called “Come Back for the Rest of Me”. You can bet we will L.A. Salami!


Twitter: @LASalami