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Folk legend Tom flies in

I think we were all born singing Tom Paxton songs!" Nanci Griffith summed-up the influence of Tom Paxton with that succinct quote.

I think we were all born singing Tom Paxton songs!" Nanci Griffith summed-up the influence of Tom Paxton with that succinct quote.

Paxton, with a career that spans forty years, arrives at Newcastle Opera House next Tuesday with a catalogue of songs which has been source material for a diverse range of artists from Willie Nelson to Placido Domingo and Judy Collins to Ani De Franco !

Paxton was born in Chicago but spent his formative years in Bristow, Oklahoma, close to the hometown of his hero Woody Guthrie. He had a spell in the US Army before turning up in the early 1960s in New York City's thriving coffee house scene in Greenwich Village which was to be home for several years to people like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and a host of others as the folk boom took a firm hold. He had significant success with Jac Holzman's newly formed Elektra label (with Tim Buckley, Judy Collins, Tom Rush etc) before moving on to Reprise and Vanguard.

Paxton toured regularly in the UK playing festivals (he was at the 1969 Isle Of Wight Festival when Bob Dylan headlined) and to packed houses and moved his family here for a while at the beginning of the 70s. He collaborated with Ralph McTell and bassist Danny Thompson during this period. His songs were frequently covered in folk clubs up and down the country.

He has continued to write, record and tour and was last in the UK with rising songwriter, Anne Hills. He now lives in Virginia. Paxton will be plugging his first studio album in nine years and has Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer opening for him. Ticket details on 0191 232 0899.

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After BBC Radio 2's frenetic and hugely successful events of last week we can only hope the exercise is repeated sometime in the future. A tantalising possibility made perhaps a tad more likely with the recent announcement that the new controller of Radio 2 is Linda Douglas, from Newcastle.

Anyway, there is no relenting in activity with many top-notch acts appearing in the region over the coming weeks.

Just along the Coast Road, at the Buddle Arts Centre in Station Road, Wallsend, there are several familiar and some new faces appearing imminently. Tonight, the excellent guitarist/singer, Aziz, has tabla player, Dalbir Singh, with him.

The pair made a big impression on their last visit to the venue but generated real interest at the South Shields Amphitheatre gig back in June where a big crowd warmed to the cross-genre mix of styles displayed by the former Stone Roses and Simply Red man.

Also at the Buddle tomorrow night there is a complete contrast when you can catch the unique talents of Rory McLeod, singer, guitarist, story-teller, harmonica/trombone/spoons exponent and foot-percussionist, last year's Radio 2 Folk Awards winner for Best Live Act. The following Friday the same venue has the newly-formed female foursome, Waking The Witch.

The Yorkshire-based ladies, Rachel Goodwin, Jools Parker, Patsy Matheson and Michelle Plum, all play guitars and sing and have extensive experience as solo artists supporting the likes of Christy Moore, John Martyn, Glenn Tilbrook and Sam Browne.

The girls will be promoting their newly-released debut CD, Like Everybody. Details of these and other forthcoming shows on 0191 200 7132.

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The semi-final of the Radio 2 Young Folk Awards was held at Newcastle Playhouse on October 4 and the Newcastle trio, XYZ, made it through to the final. The trio comprises twin-brothers Matthew and David Jones (guitar/fiddle respectively) and their sister Sarah (also on fiddle).

The final will be held at the Union Chapel in London on December 5.

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