Blacksmith Band

Biographies

Kathy's singing experience was largely limited to performing solo at "Open mic nights", singarounds and folk clubs when at the age of 21 she was noticed by the organiser of Winchester Folk Club (Rick) and was asked if she would like to help him form a folk/rock band. The rest, as they say, is history. Kathy, or "Special K" as she is known within Blacksmith, had never been in a band before, let alone fronted one. Her amazing voice so reminiscent of that of Sandy Denny is probably the greatest impact on an audience when they hear us for the first time.

Kathy Ashford - Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar

Gordon Munro - Drums

Gordon started as a snare drummer in Oban Pipe Band, aged 10 yrs old.   He competed in Local, National and World Pipe Band Championships between 1976 – 1980.

Then, he discovered rock drumming and the kilt was gone!!  Bought his first drum kit for £20 and played in a number of local rock bands in his home town of Oban, Scotland.   After getting a real job and moving down South, this led to a hiatus of several (er, 25) years.  Gordon got back behind the kit in 2001 and is still going strong!!!

Over the years, Gordon has been lucky enough to perform on the main stage at a number of large festivals, including Tiree Music Festival and Wickham Festival.

Rick started out on fiddle, influenced by that man Dave Swarbrick , at that time of The Ian Campbell Folk Group. From an early age he picked up several other instruments including mandolin, guitar, and bugle! A stint in Saudi Arabia provided the opportunity to join The Bishop Auckland Loose-Lipped Songsters, who toured compounds across the region playing a wide range of folk and contemporary material.


On returning to the UK  he was persuaded to take up bass guitar and played for The Charcoal Blues Band, including tours in Germany & France and an eponymous CD which made it to the airwaves via the Dave Allen radio program.


A move back into trad beckoned, and soon the mandolin/guitar duo 2CameBy, named after the Swarbrick & Carthy album, were gigging across Hampshire. A meeting with Ndiaga Issa Mbaye of the Senegalese National Orchestra led to an unlikely collaboration as Jamm (“Peace”) and a tour to Senegal, including two performances at Dakar’s Just For You club. Apparently the bands video Thianta Gui is still aired on Senegalese TV and, with a bit of searching, can be found on YouTube!


A hankering to play electric folk rock eventually led to the idea of forming a folk/rock band and Blacksmith was born. Rick runs the Winchester Folk Club and promotes occasional shows for bigger artists.

Rick Monaghan - Fiddle, Mandolin & Vocals

Graham's first national public performance was just before Christmas 1958 when he sang the solo first verse of Once in Royal David's City opening the Service of 9 Carols and Lessons broadcast from St Mary's Church in Chatham on The Home Service of the BBC.

He went on to playing in what were then called "pop groups" in the mid 1960s until he discovered traditional British folk music. He then became a founder member of Vulcan's Hammer, one of Kent's most successful folk bands, who released 2 acclaimed albums True Hearts & Sound Bottoms and The Two Magicians, and had a whole hour's live concert dedicated to them on BBC Radio 2's Folkweave in 1975.

Vulcan's Hammer sadly disbanded when new jobs took two of them away from the Medway Towns, and he pursued a brief solo stint before combining with two other members of The Royal Air Force to form Eynesbury Giant who won the first ever BBC/BFBS Forces Folk Competition broadcast internationally by both radio services, and produced a successful album From The Cask.

Graham's flying duties then precluded any band membership until he retired from the RAF in 2002, although he remained an active morris dancer and musician. He then went back to his rock roots playing rhythm/synth guitar first with Listen With Mother and then Stone Gecko.

When the latter folded amicably in 2016 after 9 years of very successful gigging, he was delighted to become a founder member of Blacksmith, enabling him to combine his loves of folk music and rock guitar.

Graham Thomas - Lead Guitar & Vocals

Jerry Sharpe - Bass Guitar  & Vocals

Universally acknowledged within the band as a member of “the finest rhythm section in their price-range”, the low-end is taken care of by Jerry Sharpe.

Jerry took up bass at the age of 15 and, apart from a 22-year break along the way, it’s been his instrument ever since.

The journey thus far has taken him through various musical styles including rock & pop, blues/blues-rock, soul and a spell with a multi-genre singer/songwriter.

In late 2016 Jerry answered an advert for a bass player for a “fledgling folk-rock band” based in Winchester. Following a chat over a couple of beers and an informal audition he continued attending ‘rehearsals’ and performing with Blacksmith although he still maintains he was never formally offered the job!

After a break of 18 months Jerry returned to Blacksmith in June 2020, re-establishing the band's 4-part vocal harmonies. No stranger to live performance he’s equally at home in everything from small venues to festival stages as well as the studio environment, having contributed to EP’s and albums over the years.