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Grem Devlin

I was born in Culross in 1958, and moved to the Midlands (Leamington Spa) early 1960 – then to Kendal in 1969. I got my first guitar in 1968, and played my first gig in 1971, just before my 13th birthday. I formed an acoustic band in secondary school (Cirrus) but also played in various duos around that time. I was first taken to a folk club (The Lakes) in the early 1970s by my elder brother. The place was packed (the artiste was Mike Harding) and I was instantly hooked.

I first began playing at folk clubs joining in the sessions at the short lived Windermere Folk Club in 1975, along with Pat Tate, Mountain Road and many others. I was in and out of the country for 11 years (1975-86) as I was a ship’s engineer, but while I was ashore in between times I played in countless trios, duos and other collectives too many to list (including a period as bassist for Agaric, a Led Zeppelin tribute band in the mid 70s!). My first solo appearance was a spot at the Jug of Punch FC in Havant in 1977 I suppose.

After coming ashore I retrained and became fully involved with technical publications, and formed my own technical and music publications company (Devlin Glozing Limited [DGL]) in 1990. From 1988-1993 I was co-organiser of Folk at the Fleece (Kendal FC), and I began writing for Folk North West around 1989. DGL sponsored events at many Folk Festivals including Kendal and Edinburgh, with a particular emphasis on emerging talent. I folded the company voluntarily in 2000, when I came to the conclusion that I was spending more time chasing payment than earning revenue, at which time I became somebody else’s wage slave!

I first met my wife (Jackie Thomson, from Edinburgh) at one of my annual jaunts to Edinburgh Folk Festival in the early 1980s I guess, but I only went there once per year and it took a long time to become a couple – with only seeing each other for 10 days a year! We finally married in 1993, at which point I returned to Scotland full time, and our son Alistair was born 9 months and five days later!

In recent years I have been co-organiser of the first Linlithgow Folk Festival and also secretary of Loanhead Music Festival. I still play occasionally (guitar, bass, Appalachian dulcimer and South American mini harp), but a skin affliction that affects my hands has put paid to most performing (probably all those years working in oily engine rooms on ships). I’ve been a reviewer for Living Tradition since about issue 2.

Favourite Albums – Just a Selection! (in no particular order)

1. Albion Band – Rise Up Like The Sun
2. Harvey Andrews – Writer of Songs
3. Rosie Hardman – Firebird
4. Adrian Legg – Fretmelt
5. Memphis Minnie – In My Girlish Days
6. Joanna Carlin – Fancy That!
7. Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking
8. Balham Alligators – Balham Alligators
9. Joni Mitchell – Blue
10. Whippersnapper – Promises
11. Aly Bain – Aly Bain
12. Christy Moore – Whatever Tickles Your Fancy
13. Show Of Hands - Roots
14. Tom Pacheco – There Was A Time
15. Chris While – Still On Fire
16. Various Artists – Bringing It All Back Home
17. Eliza Carthy – The Definitive Collection
18. Hedgehog Pie – Just Act Normal
19. Bob Dylan – Biograph
20. John Sebastian – John B. Sebastian