One man band folk maestro Wilderland is celebrating 20 years of gigs festival, Guinness and tambourines with a St Patrick’s special double bill this weekend.
With 2,500 gigs under his belt, the Andy Souch will be playing The Kings Arms, Hartland, on Saturday, March 16 from 9pm and then St Patrick’s itself, Sunday, March 17, at The Palladium Club, Bideford, from 5pm.
In 1999 former Circle of Hands drummer Andy Souch played his first solo gig on St Patrick’s Day at the Hart Inn, Hartland – and has been gigging ever since.
He has played all over the South West and beyond, at the Bestival and Beautiful Days festivals and produced two albums – in fact, these days Andy is happy to rein things in a little, as at one point he was gigging up to four times a week.
Wilderland gigs are always crowd-pleasers, with Andy using bass drum, bass guitar, his voice and dozens of tambourines handed out to the crowd to bring to life some classic folk favourites.
Irish Rover, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, Dirty Old Town and This Land is Your Land are among his trademarks, together with whatever popular covers he thinks will get the crowds going and some of his own material to boot.
Pub crowd-powered tambourines prove hugely popular – though he is forever buying more at second-hand music shops as they do have a tendency to walk away after the show.
Bizarrely, his solo career started in a pub in Ireland. He told the Gazette: “They put a guitar around my neck and said ‘you’re on next’.
“It was brilliant, even though I was scared. They could not believe I was from Devon and said ‘you sound more Irish than we do’.
“It gave me the idea for Wilderland, with the bass drum and tambourines, mainly because they were stamping their feet and banging their beers on the bar, as they do in Ireland.”
Andy’s musical career began as a roadie for Big Al Mitchell’s The Cult Maniax when he left school 38 years ago.
He graduated to drum roadie and taught himself to play the drums by hitting them during the sound checks.
Various bands and three years as drummer for Circle of Hands followed, not to mention two albums, Let’s Have a Skinful and Blood, Sweat and Tears - and when he is not gigging Andy has his own landscape gardening business.
Have a skinful this St Patrick’s with Wilderland, or you can catch him again at The Palladium on March 29 in support of Black Water County, together with Bicycle Repair Man.
Andy is also looking for a female singer and guitarist plus a female bass player and vocalist for a new project – to find out more, call him on 07415 893015 or visit the Wilderland Facebook page.