Held on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month at Earls Barton Working Men's Club in Northants, a typical Kontra evening will showcase three varied, top quality acoustic roots acts who play for 45 minutes each approx. The club starts at 8pm and runs through till 11pm, and though it is non-profit making we do charge a token £3 admission to cover costs. We also welcome voluntary donations. Our Earls Barton venue is ideal for acoustic music: characterful and friendly (it also serves real ale) and can be found at 1 Queen Street, Earls Barton, Northants, NN6 0LN (see map at bottom).
From humble beginnings in 2004 as an open mic at a Northamptonshire village pub, Kontra gradually evolved through several changes of venue and format, all the while building a reputation for presenting entertaining and eclectic evenings of quality acoustic music.
It is now acknowledged as Northamptonshire's premier acoustic roots club, attracting some of the best up and coming acoustic talent from across the country, as well as
more established performers from home and abroad.
With an open music policy that welcomes all genres of acoustic roots music as long as it is of outstanding quality, Kontra is a rare success story in these difficult economic times. Run as a non-profit making enterprise, admission to the club is just a token £3, and the acts, often professional musicians, play for expenses only. That they do so is testament to the excellent reputation the club has built up over the years, with its friendly atmosphere, large, loyal, and enthusiastic audiences, excellent sound (courtesy of Geoff Bland), and the imaginative programming of organiser, Kev Buxton. Priding itself on the fact that it sets no musical boundaries other than quality, a typical Kontra session crosses many genres within the space of a single evening: folk, blues, Americana, jazz, world, contemporary and traditional music all find a welcome reception on the Kontra stage.
OUR NEXT CLUB MEET
FRIDAY 24 MAY
Richard Matthews & Karen Angela
A blazing new talent on the acoustic scene, this brilliant singer-songwriter and session musician from Cambridge is a seriously accomplished guitar player with a powerful yet expressive voice, writing songs of human experience in an eclectic range of styles from across the folk roots spectrum, from trad and contemporary Folk to Americana and Blues. A professional since May 2016 when he left the corporate world behind to pursue a career in music, his accomplishments are plentiful, including interviews and airplay on local, national and international radio, opening for Fairport Convention, and supporting the likes of Boo Hewerdine, Sean Roberts & Kathryn Lakeman, Brooks Williams, Lucy Ward and Ange Hardy. In addition, he is frequently booked at UK wide folk clubs and festivals both in support roles and increasingly as a headliner. His first two albums have been highly praised in the music press. “This young man is relentless; he just keeps writing songs and they are all great!” (Sue Marchant, BBC Cambridgeshire) www.chrisfoxmusic.org
KONTRA ROOTS CLUB GALLERY
Photos of our acts from the last six months (click to expand).
KONTRA ROOTS CLUB
Richard Matthews & Karen Angela
One of our very finest local duos, Richard is a top class acoustic guitarist and Karen a quite superb singer, and together they harmonise to wonderful effect. Either solo or duo they’ve played warm-ups at the club on numerous occasions, always to a great reception, so well deserve this rather longer slot when they’ll be playing their famous Richard Thompson / Sandy Denny tribute set. Yes, I know, we don’t normally encourage tribute acts but this is irresistible!
One of the county’s most accomplished and popular acts, Tammy Levy’s high energy acoustic band were a last minute replacement at Geoff’s 60th celebration at the club last autumn, where they did the old boy proud rocking through a selection of evergreen country-blues standards. This time though the focus will be more on original material, for in recent years Tammy has proved herself to be a highly gifted songwriter. Whatever this band play though, it's always with oodles of expertise and passion, and always highly entertaining. www.acousticus.co.uk
A pianist whose gorgeous songs brim with melody and melancholy, musings on life lessons, love lost and middle-aged angst. A dash of humour and a smack of self-derision stop them tipping over into sentimentality but never take away from the candour at their core. With a voice that has been described as “dirt swathed in radio-friendly velvet” and songs that are immediate and infectious in their simplicity, Stephen cites Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker and Nina Simone as influences but wryly comments that his style is probably more like Gary Barlow meets Elton John in a dark space and a bad mood! Really rather wonderful though. www.soundcloud.com/stephenellismusic