Folk trailblazer Benji to rock Barlick

Benji Kirkpatrick and The Excess are gigging in Barlick this month. (s)
Benji Kirkpatrick and The Excess are gigging in Barlick this month. (s)

Benji Kirkpatrick and The Excess will rumble through Barlick with a synthesis of rock and folk.

Performing in town for the first time, the musician will wind together a set-list of new material and tracks from critically acclaimed albums, Boomerang and Hendrix Songs, the latter including stripped-back covers of iconic rock.

Brought up in a house spilling with music - his parents were folk musicians - Benji's first love was rock and roll. Among his influences, he lists Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Richard Thompson and the Beatles; but it was Jimi Hendrix, whose tracks inspired a whole album of covers, who left the deepest imprint.

"It's a classic teenage boy thing," he said. "Hendrix was a great teacher: his natural approach to the guitar; his intuitive touch; and his fluidity of playing. He has all these great songs that are screened by all the noise of the instruments - it's why I made a record of acoustic renditions stripping them back to their raw essentials."

Throughout his career, it's easy to see how Benji's love for rock cuts through his folk vibe. First blazing through the music scene with band Bellowhead, and then thundering through venues with power folk trio Faustus and the Seth Lakeman band, the singer has carved an impressive career fusing together his musical heritage and rock instincts in stunning equilibrium.

And now, after completing his album of Hendrix covers, Benji is back with his bouzouki - an industrial-strength mandolin - and guitar. Supporting is The Excess, comprising fellow Bellowhead bandmate Pete Flood on drums, and Pete Thomas on double and electric bass (plus Megan Henwood and Jackie Oates).

In his first ever Barlick gig, Benji Kirkpatrick will deliver a fusion of rock and folk. (s)

In his first ever Barlick gig, Benji Kirkpatrick will deliver a fusion of rock and folk. (s)

His heavy, powerful style, today weaved with strands of gentleness, perfectly serves the weighty yet sensitive subject matters that inspire him. And after serving at the heart of a raft of successful acts, it's clear he still has plenty to say - and the drive to keep thundering on.

"I'm very much a country boy - I'm inspired by the natural world and it's often in nature where I get my ideas for songs," he added. "But I also like to tackle topical issues. I think it's important to address injustices in society. Music is universal - it can get through to a lot of people - so it's a good vehicle for talking about issues without preaching or telling people what to do."

Benji and The Excess will play at Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre on Friday, July 14th from 7-30 - 11pm.

Tickets are £12 and available online at www.barnoldswickmusicandartscentre.com