Born on the 9th October 1964 in Dublin Ireland. Alistair Sherwood gradually forged a career playing American folk songs and Irish traditional music. His mother was a piano and accordion player performing classical, Christian and traditional Irish pieces. Alistair’s father was involved in amateur dramatics and loved to listen to country and Irish music. “My mum tried to teach me the piano, but I found it difficult to hang around my neck.” :-)

He bought his first guitar in Galway city, the manager threw in a Russ Shipton Complete guitar player book and with a smile on his face said, “good luck with that.” :-)

Breaking new ground Alistair emigrated to England in 1985, where a friend introduced him to the British folk club circuit. It was there he developed a love of contemporary and Old English folk songs. “The folk clubs were thriving in the early 90’s and it was there I refined my guitar playing, singing and performing”. “I sang floor spots, showcase evenings and an occasional guest booking in the clubs and Art Centers, it was a very friendly and encouraging environment, I enjoyed the social and musical aspect of it immensely, the standard of playing was extremely high and remains the same today with very talented touring Acts and well established summer festivals. “I recorded a few tapes during this period, one with a braveheart engineer who got the right hump when an ice cream van pulled up outside his studio playing a nursery rhyme jingle just after he pressed the REC button”. :-)

In 1996 Alistair played as part of a duo called “Stephen’s Green” which featured Graham from Grimsby on banjo, mandolin and Irish whistles. “I played guitar and sung the ballads”, “We played jigs, reels, hornpipes and slow airs at 100 miles an hour after 10 pints of Guinness in a few bars with bodmin behaviour problems”. :-)

Between 1997 - 2010 Alistair played the London Irish / South East England pub and club circuit performing over 1,000 gigs, he developed a successful reputation as an entertainer under the name Alistair Kildare playing Irish covers. “This circuit was tough, you could go into a venue the night after I played and say to the manager, this is a lovely Irish theme bar, all this sawdust on the floor, its just like a pub in Galway”. “And he would say”, “sure that’s not saw dust, that’s last nights furniture”. :-)

“It was good when they were dancing on tables, but all this aggressive attention caused some tension and the circuit changed, so I wound down the 13 year weekend touring gradually when an offer came my way to teach full time for The Surrey Arts”.

 

The Mountain was Alistair’s first serious music release in 2012 featuring Jay Van Rensburg ex member of South African metal band “Lithium” playing fender Stratocaster and British fiddle playing royalty Chris Haigh known for his accompaniment on the massive “Steps” song 5,6,7,8 the line dancers favourite. The album was received well and gained the respect of a Review in “Maverick Music Magazine” with some radio airplay in Ireland and America.

A 2 hour folk show followed with Kieran Kelly on Sin E at Dublin City Radio. “I really enjoy the chat, we sang a few songs and talked about Dublin back in the day of Phil Lynott”. “My nephew Adam who is a massive Christy Moore fan took some photos and it took me back to the days when I use to travel about to watch Christy play myself”. “A great gig that comes to mind was his solo Headline Act at Cambridge Folk Festival, you could have heard a pin drop, he could commanded the attention of any audience with a very charismatic stage presence, I’ve still got the program”.

Rejecting standard norms and emphasizing new creative expression in 2013 Alistair wrote 11 new songs for a British Folk Music Album release called “Grounded”, “I guess I had a lot on my mind, so the worlds of music and literature came together for this one”. “It’s a stripped down release with a lot of social diversity, acoustic songs on guitar I guess. It pushed my boundaries, with Irish acoustic guitar accompaniment as it included two tracks on DADGAD Tunning “The Traveller’s Daughter”, “Trawlermen”, and “Fruitpicking” are popular streaming songs, Reviews followed with the “Kent Folk Magazine”. 

R.C.Sherriff Trust Awarded Alistair with a Literary Prize for Poetry in November 2014 for his poem “Mrs T”.

For his performance of Ralph McTell’s song “The Streets of London” the Hersham Talent Show judging team voted Alistair Joint Winner with Naomi Thomas 2015.

January 2016 Alistair received a Fellowship as Singer/Songwriter Acoustic Guitar player from Three Counties School of Music in Association with Gloucester University.

2017 “It’s been a busy few years and showing no signs of slowing down, a new Irish Traditional Music release is being mastered and duplicated right now, Tunes are jigs, polkas, hornpipes and slow airs with a sort of Transatlantic session/classical Celtic spirit stitching them together. The album includes two old Irish folk songs that I enjoy singing. “I recorded the tunes with a slower tempo than a purist knows they are traditionally played, it just felt a bit more soulful to me”. "I just love the Irish drum (bodhran) and Irish dancing music. So it was a pleasure to record these tunes for release on Irish music cds".

“An American Singer/Songwriters Cover Album is sitting on the desk waiting to get out of the darkness of the hard drive jail, hopefully by the end of this year”.It includes songs from the 1968 - 78 period which I love and I am really excited to be releasing them, adding my own tale to the original accompaniments”. “Writing again too, so new Irish contemporary folk songs will walk their way into the studio as some point during 2018”.

 

For samples and downloads of my music please do visit the music page on my website and we would be delighted to have you as part of The Back Stage Club on our Newsletter email list. There will be FREE giveaways and exclusive content.

 

 

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