Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies have been playing their songs and music of Northern England for a decade and a half around the folk festivals, clubs and concert stages of the world. “Acoustic simplicity coupled with electric vitality” was how they were described in their early days, and with half a dozen albums to their credit, along with solo albums by Jez and by other members of the group, their following has continued to increase. In 2006 alone they have played in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Belgium and of course all over the UK and Ireland. Strong vocals, backed by outstanding instrumental back-up on guitar, cittern, fiddle, fretless bass, keyboards and Northumbrian Pipes, have made them one of Britain’s top attractions on the folk/acoustic/celtic circuit.
Kate Bramley joined The Bad Pennies in November of 2000 as fiddle player and vocalist. Honesty Box was Kate’s first full length recording with Jez, after she worked on his Arts Council commissioned folk-symphony ‘Sea of Light’ in 2000. Kate still tours solo, and also with U.S based band Sweetgrass, who have a number of cd releases available. Her solo album of 2000 entitled ‘Out On My Own’, includes a cover recording of Jez’s Northern Echoes. (This album and her earlier ‘Walking Home’ are now unavailable but re-pressed as a compilation CD in 2003 called ‘Old Fashioned Looking Glass’). In 2006 she released a new solo album, LITTLE CANAAN, produced by Jez, and featuring a mixture of traditional and original songs, including some choice cover versions of other writers’ songs. ‘The imressive Kate Bramley’ was how the Daily Telegraph described her voice and music.
In addition to a career in music, Kate has a career as a theatre writer and director, running her own Bad Apple Theatre, as well as freelance work for the world-renowned Hull Truck Theatre Company, a partnership that endured over many years. In 2002 Kate and Jez collaborated on a new drama “Fighting the Tide” that toured throughout the UK and featured 10 new songs from Jez, released by Tantobie Records as a limited edition “soundtrack” album.
In 2008 she wrote and directed two new shows for Badapple ‘An Honorary Yorkshireman’ about the life and stories of James Herriot, and ‘Laurel and Charlie’ based on the early lives of Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin. 2009 sees a new show, ‘The Land Girls of Yorkshire’ on tour in June and July.
Kate’s web site is located at www.katebramley.com
Andy May joined the band in 2002, but had worked with the band prior to his official joining by rehearsing and recording several tracks of the CD, Honesty Box. He had also stepped in as the fourth band member at numerous gigs during early Spring of 2002, including the Honesty Box Launch Party in Newcastle. Bringing a whole new dimension to the band, with his accordion, Northumbrian smallpipes, and whistles, this multi-instrumentalist has quickly expanded from being a sought-after session player for the likes of Kathryn Tickell, to a valued member of a live performance band.
With 20 wins at open piping competitions under his belt, his first at the age of 13, Andy is a record-breaking and holding, nine-time winner of the Northumbrian Pipers Society Annual Open Competition! In addition to his adeptness at playing the pipes, Andy also makes them.
Having studied the pipes at the University of York, Andy has been influenced by Roland Lofthouse, Adrian Schofield, Billy Pigg and Tom Clough.
In 2003 Andy released his first solo album ‘Yellow Haired Laddie’ with guests: Simon Haworth, Kathryn Tickell, and Simon James.
When not playing with the Bad Pennies, Andy tours in Scandanavia with the band ‘Baltic Crossing’ as well as a number of other performers around the Tyneside folk scene. He has just released his 2nd solo CD for Fellside Records ‘Happy Hours’.
David de la Haye
David de la Haye joined the Bad Pennies briefly back in the summer of 2006 for a couple of festival appearances and joined the band full time in Sping 2007.
Dave hails originally from Jersey but is now based in Newcastle. He started out playing bass with Border’s fiddler Shona Mooney and has since pushed the bass to the foreground with the Monster Ceilidh Band. They’re busy touring with their new cross-genre sound, demonstrating what it really means to party!
Dave’s expert bassmanship is enhanced by his technical expertise in the recording studio – he recorded and mixed the latest Bad Pennies album ‘Wotcheor!” and was credited as assistant producer on the earlier “Northern Echoes”.
He runs his own music production company from his base in Newcastle called Canopy New Music, which promotes artists at the forefront of the new music scene. He also makes websites, like this one!