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Genres You Will Love
Folk: Alternative Folk Moods: Solo Male Artist Moods: Type: Acoustic Folk: Free-folk Folk: Modern Folk

By Location
UK - England - East Midlands United Kingdom

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The Grey Picker

It is hard to put the Grey Picker’s music into a single category. At times he sounds Irish – a legacy from teenage summers in the late 60’s and 70’s when he thumbed lifts around Ireland, paying his way by playing banjo and singing in the pubs. But hear him sing and there is no mistaking that the Picker’s roots are deep in Yorkshire soil. His ancestors worked on farms in the Yorkshire Wolds and he learned to milk cows, plough, sow and reap. He has worked in the former coalfield villages of North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire for the past thirty years and his songs reflect decades of industrial decline. But the Picker loves the hills and mountains, too, as revealed on his first CD, NAMASTE. (We are even treated to Yak bells and alleged high-altitude Morris dancing on the new CD, EIGHT AND FORTY!)

He is definitely political, but why wouldn’t he be with and Oxford degree in politics and years of experience playing benefits to support the steelworkers, miners, anti apartheid and the peace movement? The songs he writes are often history lessons, but then he taught history in secondary schools for years. He has written a stack of inspiring ballads of ordinary people who performed out of the ordinary deeds.

He can make you sad, as in Three Ships, on EIGHT AND FORTY, or laugh at the drunken New Year party at a snow-bound United Nations building on NAMASTE. He will have you clicking search engine to find out more about the fascinating characters unearthed in his songs.

Always around The Picker is an air of mystery. Is it really true that he hides his real name because he is being stalked by a vindictive banjo player? Some even doubt the very existence of his band members - the snake-charming recluse Harrison 'HK' Rodd and fugitive financier, Simon Grobey. Can it be he plays all those instruments himself? His talented children, Paddy and Christy Young are real enough, though, and add their talents on both CDs.

Impossible to compare, but easy to contrast, here he is on two very original CDs. Slightly Irish/Nepali, definitely Yorkshire, working-class history courses that will challenge, entertain and amuse you! Original songs from a one-off singer / wrong-writer! Long may he strum!

Charles Docherty
July, 2011