Joan Shelley & Simon Sylvester @ Penrith Old Fire Station

joan shelley

7pm – 10pm . Although its still a Pay What You Want night (how generous are we?!) its still best to register for entry through the eventbrite link to make sure you get in

We are delighted (dancing around the office delighted!) that Joan Shelley will be joining us once again from the USA.  We met the utterly amazing Joan a couple of years ago when she played a gig for Eden Arts with Daniel Martin Moore – who in turn we had met as he was half of the Ben Solee/Daniel Martin Moore duo who supported Billy Bragg at the Penrith Leisure Centre. Any of these artists are welcome back any day of the year! Here’s Joan and Daniel – now you know why we love them!

Joan Shelley‘s music is startling. It startles because of its closeness, the near-instant sense of familiarity we feel when we hear it. Her songs fill up the air around us, echoing like a voice lost in the later American and British folk revivals – some Anne Briggs here, a little Hedy West there. But none of them are “trad arr. Shelley.” Joan wrote them all. Listen to her sing and it’s evident. You’ve never heard that voice before, either.

Electric Ursa was recorded in Louisville, Kentucky and marks Joan’s first release for No Quarter. It includes collaborations with new labelmate Nathan Salsburg, as well as several other of Louisville’s fine musicians. In the eight songs that make up this record, we are seeing an artist in her stride, able to move seamlessly between darkness & light, attempting to reconcile the wild expanse of the future with the burdens of memory. And at the center of it all are songs of a nature beautiful, precise, and clear, delivered to us by her singular voice.

Over the past five years, Shelley has recorded several albums, toured with her band, on her own, and as a duo with Daniel Martin Moore, playing concerts for spellbound audiences all over the globe.

She has a similar woebegone beauty to Sharon Van Etten and Torres, and First of August showcases her voice quite sublimely– The Guardian 

Shelley’s beautiful voice sounds like it belongs to a lost talent from the folk revival of the early 60s….she shapes her melodies with precision and clarity. Chicago Reader

VideoElectric Ursa


Simon Sylvester

Simon is a Kendal based writer, teacher and occasional filmmaker.

After years working as a camera assistant and then a magazine journalist, he started writing fiction in 2006. His short stories have been published in journals, anthologies and magazines including Dark Mountain, Gutter, Valve, PANK, Fractured West, Fire Crane, Southpaw and Smoke: a London Peculiar. He won the Flashtag short short story slam in 2014, and he has written more than a thousand very short stories on Twitter. His debut novel The Visitors is published by Quercus Books. It was joint winner of the2014 Book Box prize, winner of the 2014 Guardian Not The Booker prize, and there’s a round-up of reviews right here. He is now working on his second novel, which is called The Hollows.

He lives in Cumbria with the painter Monica Metsers and daughter Isadora.