FOR nigh on 20 years, Richard Shindell has been turning his hand to some of the most sensitive songwriting to emerge on the acoustic scene.
Throughout his career this New Yorker (who, incidentally, now lives in Buenos Aires) has impressed fans and fellow professionals alike with his meticulous craftsmanship.
His songs are often slowly and painstakingly crafted until honed to perfection.
But they are not set in stone and are brought to vibrant life when the man sits before an audience and pours out his soul.
He has a unique ability to take on the personalities of the people in his songs.
He grew up in Long Island, where he began to learn guitar. He attended college in New York, where he developed his musical interests, teaming up at one point with John Gorka in the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band.
One explanation of the deeply spiritual nature which can be detected in Shindell’s music could be that he moved to a Zen Buddhist monastery for a while after graduation. He left to explore Europe and ended up as the archetypal struggling musician in Paris, where he would play for coins in Metro stations.
After returning to New York, he quit music for a while, enrolling in the Union Theological Seminary. Between classes, he began to write and finished what he calls his first ‘keeper song’, a cryptic ode to the Virgin Mary composed on the mountain dulcimer.
Not long after he was signed to record label Shanachie which saw a string of award-winning albums come his way.
In 1997, he was invited to join Joan Baez on tour and delighted a new flock of folk music enthusiasts with his songwriting and performing talents.
The next year he joined acoustic trio Cry Cry Cry, along with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky. The trio toured from 1998 until 2000, leaving audiences spellbound with their unique harmonies.
In 2000, Shindell released Somewhere Near Patterson, which led to a string of sold-out shows that established him as one of the premier songwriters around.
Richard Shindell is at the Greystones, Greystones Road, on Monday, November 21.
BBC Folk Award nominee Katriona Gilmour teams up with Michael J Tinker and Washboard Pete to form roots-rocking outfit Tinker’s Three for a night of music at the Nether Edge Folk Club in Sheffield on Sunday. The trio previously delighted a Sheffield audience with a show at the Live@215 venue with their foot-stomping Americana, thoughtful folk and a few surprises. Nether Edge Folk Club meets at The Lounge, in Montgomery Road and the show starts at 8pm. Support will be provided by Chris Murphy.
GUEST at the Rock folk club, Maltby tomorrow night is guitar player Sarah McQuaid. An inspirational player, Sarah is a master of DADGAD tuning. The club, which meets at the Wesley Centre, Blyth Road, in Maltby, will stage a singers’ and musicians’ night next Friday.
JOHN Kirkpatrick and Andy Cutting will be at the Greystones on Wednesday.
LOCAL folk quartet Toein’ in the Dark will play a free show at Lobwood WMC, Deepcar next Wednesday. The group comprises the combined talents of Andrew Hoult, Bob Meakin, Carmell O’Toole and Jenny Fox, Free admission
ACOUSTIC guitar player Clive Carroll is at the Greystones next Friday, Nov 18.