For many Geordies, a trip to the North Shields Fish Quay is much more than just that. It’s a pilgrimage, a fish and chip high, a chance to wander along the quay to Tynemouth or the Collingwood monument. Or a chance to look at the river, quiet though powerful still, and recall the Shipyards and glamour of days gone by.
But now the Fish Quay has a new attraction for those in the know. Tiny, but hugely enjoyable, is a music night with a difference hidden away in the back room of The Lowlights Tavern. This is the Acoustic Rooms; a solid wooden floor, cheap guitars hanging on the stone walls, a handful of tables and chairs, great beer and a welcome fire in winter. The Acoustic Rooms boasts a core audience of real music fans intent on keeping alive a tradition of live, original music and ‘craic’. (Don't forget the craic!)
The grateful audience is quick to toast founder and host Jed Grimes. Jed’s long association with the folk music scene, as a respected performer, recording artist and festival favourite, has guaranteed a long list of acts keen to play the Acoustic Rooms: Martin Stephenson, Little Mo, Prelude. Jed’s own outfit The Deserving Poor gave their maiden performance at the Acoustic Rooms before touring the festival circuit this year.
As Jim explains, ”Jed and myself share a taste for American music; The Band, Dylan, Little Feat etc. We once formed a duo but I don't think I was ready to jump ship from my cozy, regular-money social club gigs at that time. So it is great to be a part of the Acoustic Room project. For us, to be featured alongside Little Mo. Jed and his band, George and Christine and the multi talented Liam Fender is reward enough.
North Shields has always had a musical significance. As a young couple with a baby we lived in Howard Street above the Fish Quay. My nights were spent earning a few bob around the many clubs and pubs thriving at that time. Some of them were world famous for all the wrong reasons (The Jungle and Uncle Toms Cabin spring to mind). I was playing in a Country band back then. A real Country band, singing real country songs. Not the big production line dance fodder of today. I played rhythm guitar and took it all in: the sailors, whores, chancers and all their wonderful friends and relatives. LPs brought back from the USA before EBay. So playing at the Lowlights Tavern Acoustic Room, where I once nearly got punched by a seriously pissed trawler man, is a huge privilege.”
‘Live At The Acoustic Room’ now captures some of these intimate sessions, exquisitely recorded by Steven Cunningham and Steve Robertson (BoomChang Records). The album features three songs each from the sets of Little Mo, Jed Grimes and The Deserving Poor, George Welch, Liam Fender.
Reinforcing the rarity status of the venue itself, the recordings are made available in a strictly limited release. To those in the know.
If you would like a copy of ‘Live At The Acoustic Room’, please contact us.