So how would you really describe All Blacked Up? ....Well, we see us as something like this:
Not truely traditional as we mostly learnt our music from the bands who helped relaunch the English folk tradition when it was dying out but.........As individuals some of us are pleased to have played in sessions with the source musicians upon whom the folk revival relied and we definitely see ourselves in the 'English Country Music' tradition that goes back to Thomas Hardy's 'village band' - your music is shaped by the instruments you play. If we were his village band we suspect we would also be banned from the church to be replaced by an organ....[insert your own joke].
Most of us have been involved with morris dance sides - squires, foremen, dancers, band leader and of course playing in the bands. As a result we really are focused upon the need for the music to fit the dances.....
We have the confidence to develop an arrangement on-stage. We don't only play straight folk tunes - with ABU you will hear interesting arrangements and our improvisations mean that all of our ceilidhs can be said to be unique....[another joke opportunity].
Occasionally we get described as Folk Rock, and whilst most of our music is underpinned with bass, drums and guitar, we often play in a much lighter style led by recorder or tin whistle, and the two melodeons playing strict tempo English melody and then the saxophone switching between traditional melodies, improvisation and what might be called world music riffs, mean that we probably inhabit a genre of our own ;-)
We see the melody as king: at an All Blacked Up ceilidh the melody will be prominent and the whole experience will not be over loud. But we also recognise that in the middle of a dance people are dancing more to the rhythm than the tune - so you will regularly find yourself dancing to the drums and guitars.
So we are what we are - All Blacked Up - a band that works hard at keeping the music fresh and relevant, who are rooted in the music of England [where-ever it comes from] and who are pleased to allow fresh and interesting things to develop during the playing.
Is it surprising that the music of All Blacked Up is so often described as 'influential'?
We were pleased that Nick Walden, after calling for us at Chippenham Folk Festival  commented "interesting things kept on happening - all ceilidh bands should be like this......." .....and Martyn Harvey posting on Facebook after calling for us at a Late Night Extra @ Whitby Folk Week 2015: "What can I say about All Blacked Up ? 'Such Fun !', new fab sets, joyous lift throughout, no one should be surprised at their immense popularity.........." ...not forgetting Ivy [aged 6] '...great, almost as good as Queen....'
These quotes come from folk festivals - but if your ceilidh is in the local village hall, please still contact us, as this is the bread and butter of the ceilidh scene.....