Barley’s blues star Ben set to dazzle at Royston Folk Club

Ben Smith will support Martin Simpson. PICTURE: Picasa

Ben Smith will support Martin Simpson. PICTURE: Picasa - Credit: Archant

Blues comes to Royston Folk Club next week with a North Herts guitarist kicking off the show.

Blues legend BB King

Blues legend BB King - Credit: Archant

Barley-born Ben Smith started guitar lessons when he was just nine after failing to find anyone who could teach him the banjo.

Jump forward a few years and he is fast becoming a regular name on the blues scene, paying his dues on the road and touring with critically-acclaimed acts including Joan Armatrading and blues legend Robert Cray amongst others.

Ben now divides his time between being a solo performer and playing in his self-titled band and is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd.

He said: “The Royston Folk Club is a great venue, I’ve played there before and it’s really good.

“I’ll be playing my own solo set and it will include blues, folk and jazz music, with a bit of inspiration from my time in New Orleans in there.”

Ben – who cites the legendary BB King, who died earlier this year, John Martyn, Jerry Reed and Jerry Garcia among his musical influences – will be supporting Martin Simpson, an award-winning musician widely recognised on the folk scene as one the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world.

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Ben said: “Supporting Martin should be great. He’s a bit of a legend in folk music.”

Martin has been nominated 27 times at the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards – more than any other performer – winning musician of the year twice, as well as taking honours best album and best original song along the way.

He is known for transforming traditional cover songs into ‘masterpieces of storytelling’ and his back catalogue of original music draws on inspiration from his time living in the USA.

Next year Ben will follow up his 2014 live solo album with a studio LP – but not before he’s wowed the crowds of Royston first.

You can see Martin and Ben at the Royston Folk Club on Friday, October 30.

For tickets contact 01763 242003. £15, £13 in advance, £2 under 25s.

You can find out more about the club online at, and or will tell you more about the artists.