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

Andy Carter - Bass Guitar  & Vocals

Andy's interest in folk rock began in the early 1970s when he went halves on a copy of Below the Salt with his sister. Captivated by the rhythms of the music, he taught himself bass by playing along to the records of Ashley Hutchings, Dave Pegg and Rick Kemp.

Sometime later, when he started playing with real musicians, he realised that the elastic band on his record player had stretched and that the keys in which most songs were written were not as weird as he had previously supposed. His musical career began at university where he joined the morris men, started playing in sessions, gigged with Tir na Deoch, and ended up running Bangor folk club.

Returning to London, he spent much of the 1980 and 90s playing on the barn dance and ceilidh circuit with the likes of Excalibur, Lunchbreak, Bees Knees and March Hare. Away from dance music, he played with pub rockers The Vile Jellies and the ever-changing, and rather bizarre, Amazing Ptomanian Embassy Whoopie Cushion Ensemble. 


In 2001 he joined old timey Americana band The Mounthoolies, with whom he recorded two CDs. This was followed by stints with Oxford based ukulele band The Yukons and Buckinghamshire folk band Red Kite Rising. Most recently, he has worked with Ian Marriss as part of The Final Drop, a project looking at Anglo-Appalachian murder ballads.

Andy is also a writer and his book, Beyond The Pale: Black and Asian Cricketers in Britain, 1868-1945, was longlisted by both Wisden and the Cricket Writers Club MCC Book Awards as one of their best books of 2020.