UK TOUR: Cotswolds, Cirencester

Brigid Kaelin, Steve Cooley & THE BLACK FEATHERS

There’s a mystery series I love called Agatha Raisin by MC Beaton. They are quick reads with nothing terribly scary, and they are set in a fictional village in the Cotswolds. As Steve and I played in a played in Cirencester (a Cotswolds town - well, city, not village), I liked to pretend I’m a private detective. It was particularly fun driving through these village towns and trying to imagine which one is most like the fictional village of Carsley (I’m thinking it’s Barnsley). 

Cirencester seems off the beaten track to many English folk we encounter, but I first went there in 2008 when I met a friend on Couchsurfing (remember Couchsurfing?!). He’s continued to be a friend, though he has since moved to Bristol (it’s Neil, from my first tour blog!) and I continue to go to Cirencester, about an hour from Bristol, whenever I can.

After an attempt at visiting the ruins of a Roman villa (it was CLOSED for winter when we arrived and the caretaker said, “don’t tell me — you looked on Google and it said we were open” — um YES?! If this happens all the time, perhaps you should change your hours on Google?), we headed for the venue.

We played in a pub called the Golden Farm, which has a perfect music venue attached to it. The building is 15th century, with a “new" addition built in the 17th or 18th century. The Vaults is the music venue, and WOW, what a room. The sound was fantastic, and our hosts for the evening were delightful — as they always are. 

The Black Feathers, whom some of you have actually MET when I hosted a house concert for them in Louisville last fall, are Ray and Sían and they are just the nicest and smartest and most talented people you could ever come across. They live above the pub, and we stayed with them. I was in the attic/music studio and stared at rafters from the 1400s as I drifted off to sleep.

In the afternoon, Ray and Sían took me for a quick tour around town to see winding cobblestone streets, old churches, and the tallest hedge yews in Europe.

Our friends, The Layers, opened the show for us at the Vaults, and we got to hear some rocking’ 3-part acoustic harmonies and excellent original tunes. Thank you for sharing your gifts, The Layers, and thank you to all in Cirencester who ventured out on a Tuesday evening to hear live Kentucky music.

LEGO recreation inside St. John's in Cirencester.
Delicious feast prepared by Sían during soundcheck.
Aneil! He came all the way from Wolverhampton.
Thank you, Aneil!
The Layers
Adorable street in Cirencester
In the Cotswolds, they have hares (like
Kentucky has horses and Chicago cows).

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