1) Because it’s fun! We love dancing and we love playing for dancing. The four of us have been playing together in various combinations at sessions, in scratch bands, deputising in other people’s dance bands, and at folk clubs, for many years. After one such evening, we decided we’d get organised, and do it ouselves.
2) Because we want to do it properly. On the one hand, there are some very loud bands with full drum kit that are basically rock groups with a melodeon instead of a second electric guitar; great in a big festival venue, but can be overpowering in the village halls and schools where most such dances are held. On the other hand, there are those genteel bands who are very easy on the ears, but don’t quite have the verve and rhythmic energy required for a “good bop”. Imagine a band with the pulse and drive of a folk-rock band, but with a little more finesse, and fewer decibels – that’s us!
Our core repertoire is English traditional, but we range pretty widely through Irish, Scots, French, North American and Scandinavian tunes, as well as contemporary tunes by the likes of Andy Cutting and John Kirkpatrick (and even members of the band!)
The first place where all four of us first played together was the Sunday evening English session that used to be held at The Machine Man Inn at Long Wittenham. The inn sign was a picture of a man with a traction engine. When the pub changed hands, the session moved (to The Cherry Tree in Steventon). We thought we’d like a name that preserved, indirectly, our link with the pub.