Sycamore Gap video from The Often Herd

British newgrassers The Often Herd have been doing what pretty much all musical artists have been doing during the shutdown: writing new music and making videos when the opportunity arises. These four lads from the north of England have their eye on a new album as soon as the situation improves, and are releasing a number of live performance videos to attract some interest in the meanwhile.

This first is an instrumental written by fiddler Niles Krieger which he calls Sycamore Gap. He and the guys made this video back in February before getting together became restricted in the UK.

Kreiger says that this tune shows how the traditional folk music of his region meshes with bluegrass fiddle.

“Sycamore Gap was inspired by a walk I took along a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland last winter. It’s named after a tree that stands alone where the landscape takes a dramatic dip – the foundation of a Roman fort can be seen just to its left. The tree is one of the most photographed in Britain, and was prominently featured in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, although I didn’t realize this until after I’d named the tune! It’s my attempt at combining the influences of Kenny Baker-style bluegrass and traditional Northumbrian fiddle music.”

Also seen in the video are bandmates Rupert Hughes on guitar, Evan Davies on mandolin, and Sam Quintana on bass.

Niles also shared some news about the band’s plans for the rest of 2020.

“Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has delayed most of our plans for this year, but we’ll be meeting up for the first time in months on the 17th of July to perform a live streamed gig (no physical audience present!) from The Globe pub in Newcastle. 

We’re also planning to record our first full-length album later this year, once it’s safe to do so. You can keep up to date with us on social media and at our website.”

You can find The Often Herd on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.