Be part of something at a Skinny Lister gig
SKINNY Lister are not your average modern-day gentrified English folk group.
The London-based five-piece – fronted by Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas, who has a lusty cackle and flirtatious presence – is the latest in Jane Lindsey's WhitLive Introducing series.
They play Whitstable's Duke of Cumberland pub on Saturday, May 19.
The band was formed by Yorkshire-born songwriter Heptinstall, Lorna's older brother Max, and long-time shanty singer Sam 'Mule' Brace after meeting at a folk club in London's Greenwich area.
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The arrival of Tyneside bassist Dan Gray and the naturally exuberant Lorna lifted them into another realm.
Last year they played a staggering 30 festivals which earned them the PRS award for hardest working band.
Dan said: "We travelled hundreds of miles together in a Land Rover with a double bass strapped to the roof, sharing the driving, playing gigs every night and going out to party afterwards.
"We didn't make it easy on ourselves but it did bond us as family."
Their musical blend has something of The Pogues' infectious camaraderie and jovial recklessness now captured by producer David Wrench on the band's debut album Forge and Flagon, named after a homemade pub ran by Lorna and Max's family friends.
The group's folk roots go back to Leicester where Lorna and melodeon-playing Max spent much of their youth at folk clubs.
When Lorna reconnected with Max and Dan in London she found their interest in the Thameside folk scene had blossomed to provide an outlet for her singing and ukulele skills.
She said: "As soon as they put the diddles, polkas and jigs in there, there was no holding me back."
Dan added: "We never sat down again."
Lorna said: "For years on the first weekend after Plough Monday my dad went to sing songs and get legless with the local Molly Dancers. I disowned him at the time but now I join him. The idea of a whole pub belting out a good tune is what pubs are for.
"If you can capture something like that in a gig, people are going to go away feeling part of something bigger rather than just standing around with a beer."
Discover what she means on Saturday.
Skinny Lister, Duke of Cumberland, Whitstable, Saturday May 19. Tickets £7 from www.wegottickets.com, The Duke, High Street, Whitstable and Gatefield Sounds, High Street, Whitstable, Gatefield Sounds, High Street, Herne Bay and Canterbury Rock, Whitstable Road, Canterbury.