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Concert Review

Saltburn Golf Club Saturday 15th  June 2024


  John & Lynne Ward 
supported by

Full Circle

Full Circle were introduced by our own Beth Burrows and they began in lively fashion with a surprisingly upbeat Leonard Cohen song ‘First We Take Manhattan’ written for his backing singer, Jennifer Warnes. Ian and Pauline Young then tackled ‘Keys of Canterbury’. The song is perfectly suited for the duo with its male and female roles.  Ian mentioned that someone remembered their grandmother singing it to them as a child, sometime in the early twentieth century.  Other highlights include ‘Hello Cruel World’ from a Gretchen Peters album.  It’s a wonderfully dark song that Ian gives a great guitar rhythm to underline Pauline’s vocals.

Full Circle

The duo covered ‘Youngstown’, a Bruce Springsteen classic retelling of American industrial history.  They finished the set on local songsmith Donna Oakley’s ‘Dirty Little Secrets’.  This quirky fun piece with a twist suited Full Circle perfectly.  The mix of guitars, mandolin and intertwining voices were injected with a rare energy that makes up Full Circle.  Song subjects move from light to dark to thoughtful.  Linking their material with lively banter.  It was a great start to the evening.

Full Circle
Full Circle

John and Lynne Ward go from strength to strength.  Zooming from playing Cambridge Folk Club the previous night to appear in Saltburn.  It’s been a while since I last had the privilege of hearing them play a set.  They have a plethora of interesting instruments with stunning vocal harmonies over a powerful guitar. 

The dynamic duo began with a sonic satire on our current political environment. A parody of times present. 

Beth Burrows introducing John & Lynne Ward
Lynne & John Ward

‘Jenny Follows the Fish’ was a lovely lilting ballad. A gentle song of the herring fishing. 6000 women travelled the country from coastal town to seaside town, joining the local women to prepare the catch from the herring fishing.

John led with a strong vocal with Lyn providing a gorgeous chorus harmony. John attacked his songs with joyous bonhomie. He has a great sense of rhythm gives the music a special life.


I found ‘The Drift’ a special song. It tells the tale of the Native tribes who came across the sea with Buffalo Bill’s travelling show. 800 participants, from 40 nationalities, 500 horses took part. It’s a poignant story and the guitar and piano accordion beautifully conveys the mood of the piece.

‘I See Land’ is a lively one with an upbeat tempo. John writes excellent songs full of passion, put over with great gusto. ‘Dunwich’ is a song of the city that drowned, swept away by sea storms. A powerful ballad with a gutsy guitar and swirling accordion that underpins the soaring vocals.

John and Lynne played two sets and both exhibited a pleasant change of light and dark.  Packed with fast upbeat playing mixed in with slower moving numbers.  They both had fun and relaxed banter between the music.  John and Lynne were evidently enjoying playing very much and the audience were carried away on the wave of music.  It was an excellent entertaining evening.  And that’s not forgetting the amazing drum solo on bodhran.

Review by Mark Hadlett.

Photographs by Mark Hadlett & Richard Bell

John's Bodhran
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