Steve is a keen musician and has been fortunate enough to tour around the UK, US and Europe. He now concentrates on promoting gigs locally and through his contacts made during his time within the music industry, can bring international touring acts to St Davids. He is helped by his friend Rob Marsh, former lighting director at The Royal Opera House in London. The Boia Gigs ‘pop up’ concerts are held in local venues within St. Davids and the peninsula, from intimate acoustic performances to raucous bluegrass and full band shows. They have previously hosted Joey Landreth, Becca Mancari, Vivian Leva, Emily Barker, Kacy & Clayton, The Slocan Ramblers and many more.
See below for upcoming shows and book online, be aware that many of the shows sellout so it’s worth booking ahead!
Support from Suzi MacGregor
Friday 14th June – City Hall, St Davids
As a singer and lead guitarist in rock band Gomez, Ben Ottewell is well known for his unmistakable voice and talent for blistering and inspired guitar solos. Rolling Stone declared, “Gomez’s not-so-secret weapon is Ben Ottewell.” And as GQ Magazine once wrote and anyone listening can attest, “[his] voice is not of this world.”
Since his first solo release, Shapes & Shadows (2011), Ottewell has been pleasing audiences with a series of successful acoustic tours across the UK, US and Australia. His second solo project, Rattlebag, is a collection of beautifully poetic tales of salvation and redemption, of sanctuary and braving rocky seas in search of distant shores. Ottewell’s infectious melodies and bluesy riffs will stick with you, and beg you to sing along.
A Man Apart is Ben’s third solo offering and is a record that crosses musical genres such as Americana, blues and folk backed by Ben’s unmistakable gutsy and gravelly voice. Co-written with childhood friend and former Tunng member, Sam Genders, the album was recorded in Los Angeles and Sheffield and engineered and produced in the latter by Martin Smith. Ben returns to the road after 2018’s sold out Gomez ‘Bring it on’ anniversary tour, expect his new music as well as a few Gomez favourites.
Hoot and Holler
Wednesday 4th September – Tabernacle, St Davids
A young American folk/roots duo that blends old time Appalachian traditions with fine contemporary songwriting and excellent musicianship on fiddle, guitar and banjo.
Formed in 2013 in Boston, Hoot and Holler now make their home in Asheville, North Carolina. Both Amy Alvey and Mark Kilianski are alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music and combine polished musicianship with the grit, drive, and soul of their musical heroes, legendary mountain musicians like Roscoe Holcomb and Ola Belle Reed. Equally influenced by wordsmiths like Gillian Welch and Townes Van Zandt, Hoot and Holler have released one EP and one full-length album to date. The duo has performed at venues and festivals across the USA and Australia including Australia’s Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, the Portland Old Time Gathering in Oregon, and the New England Americana Festival to name just a few. Both Mark and Amy have also proved their musical credentials by achieving multiple placings in the instrument contests at West Virginia’s Clifftop festival and the Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention. Both when performing and when teaching workshops, Hoot and Holler strive to honour the ancient sounds of those who came before, while bringing their own unique voice to the stage.
+ David Leask
Saturday 28th September – Tabernacle, St Davids
Baltimore’s Letitia VanSant first came to prominence in 2017 when she won the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Song-writing competition – an honour previously granted to many who went on to become big names, such as Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffith.
Since releasing her debut album in Europe, the powerfully impressive singer-song-writer has won a legion of new fans…and many glowing reviews.
Writing at AmericanaUK, Paul Kerr said she was “wonderful – a great songwriter with a glorious voice,” and at Folk Radio UK, writer and radio presenter Mike Davies delivered more praise, calling her “terrific.”
Over at the Three Chords and The Truth online blog, which has a huge global audience, David Hughes said: “Brandi Carlile and Courtney Marie Andrews may have to make a little room for a new artist on the block,” while respected music writer Marc Higgins described the album as “captivating,” and awarding it a top 5-star rating, added: “The song-writing is sparkling and she has a stop-the-traffic voice.”
Here, she makes her UK debut in duo format with her band’s guitarist David McKindley-Ward, a long-standing collaborator, who also doubles up on vocal harmonies.
+ Sailing Stones
Saturday 19th October – City Hall, St Davids
Irish alt-folk and electronica alchemist Seamus Fogarty brings his band to St Davids City Hall.
Originally from County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland, Fogarty now resides in London, and the capital provides the canvas for his latest offering The Curious Hand (Domino Records). It’s there in the starkly heartbroken ‘Seems Wherever’, written from the perspective of the tube system and the deep well of the city’s troubled soul, and in the stony-faced rush hour commuters in ‘Van Gogh’s Ear’, pouring onto train carriages “bound for Egham or Whimple or West Ham”. But The Curious Hand also reaches back to Seamus’ homeland and past in charmingly simple and direct ways. Midway through the title track, for instance, a sampled conversation between neighbours back in Mayo takes centre stage as the musicians set off down yet another new musical path. Elsewhere, on ‘Tommy the Cat’, a skeletal instrumental becomes a bed for a recording of a shouting competition in the West of Ireland.
Fogarty’s method of lifting sounds wholesale from his environment and tucking them into the folds of his songs like keepsakes, renders himself at once, artist and archivist as well as twisting the notion of the folk singer’s role as collector and custodian of stories, traditions and cultural curio.
The Curious Hand was produced by Seamus and Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Wild Beasts) who also plays on the album. Other notable players include Emma Smith on a plethora of instruments (violin, clarinet, bass to name a few), Rozi Plain (backing vocals), Aram Zarikian (drums) and Seamus’ brother John Fogarty (accordion).
Erin Rae (full band)
+ Christopher Rees
Friday 8th November – The RAFA Club, St Davids
Gifted with a unique ability to fuse musical genres and influences to craft songs that feel fresh and wholly her own, with her new album Putting On Airs (2018, Single Lock Records), Erin Rae has thrown down a direct challenge to the stereotype of what a Southern singer should be. Both lyrically and sonically, she strikes a fiercely independent chord, proudly releasing a deeply personal record that reflects her own upbringing in Tennessee, including the prejudices and injustices that she witnessed as a child that continue to impact her life to this day. According to Rae, “this album was born out of a need to do some healing work in my personal life, in order to address some fears and patterns of mine to allow my true feelings to come to the surface.”
Recorded in the dead of winter in an old Franciscan monastery on Wisconsin’s Fox River, the isolated environment created the perfect setting for Rae and her bandmates to track these genre-busting songs, using the chapel and other unique spaces within the cavernous building to explore new sonic boundaries, all while continuing to showcase the hypnotic vocals and song-serving restraint that have become her trademark.