3rd October

So we've had some time off with Rob on his travels, Jim on Canada and Ian working all over the place! But we had a really good night at the Wheatsheaf in New Milton on 1st Sept, made very welcome by landlord Steve and his staff and altogether a very happy atmosphere! Although part of the merriment was down to it being Steve's birthday we think it is a great venue for live music (and much-needed!) and we wish Steve every success with his new venture. And we are back there on 31st Oct (Hallowe'en) so should be another good night!

And before the boys went their various ways we had a really nice gig at the New Forest Hotel at Ashurst. Particularly enjoyed the support and banter from Tony and Liam White, both excellent performers themselves and we also trotted out a couple of new songs. One of them, on Facebook, can be checked out on our home page.

Just for a change Sarah and Steve did a turn at a sing-around at Lanes Restaurant in Lymington a couple of Saturdays ago- we thought it might be mega-folky but not at all and it was a really nice afternoon. Thanks to Jonathan Klein and others and no doubt we'll go back again now we know what to expect!

So now we are looking forward to playing this Saturday 6th at New Milton Conservative Club - just four of us as Rob is still away - and hoping for another good night there. And then we'll be preparing our tricks and treats for Hallowe'en at the Wheatsheaf! Spooky!

21st August

So the sweltering weather has left us and we're back to a more normal British summer. And typically the weather broke on Sun 29th July when we were due to play at Mudeford Arts Festival and the whole thing had to be cancelled. Definitely the right decision as we'd have been blown over to the Isle Of Wight but very disappointing!

We did what has now become our annual gig for Lymington Macular Society at the beginning of August: we always like playing there and they make us very welcome,plying us with tea and cake at the end. Rock'n'roll!! And then a great Sunday afternoon at the Peg & Parrot on the 12th.

Gigs coming up .... next Saturday 25th (Bank Hol weekend) we're at the White Hart at Pennington. It's advertised as Beer At The Deer and in aid of Oakhaven Hospice so your support is especially welcome! We believe that we'll be outside in the garden so we're hoping that the rain gods don't strike again and that we have a lovely evening. The following week we'll be at the Wheatsheaf at New Milton. The landlord there, Steve, has not long taken over and wants to bring live music back so we're all for that and will be doing our best to support him. We're hoping to perhaps introduce a couple of the new songs that we've been rehearsing that night. And then, on Friday 7th, another new venue for us, the New Forest Inn at Ashurst. Looking forward to that one.

Things quieten down a lot after that so it will be an opportunity  to sort out some more songs and maybe get round to writing some new ones. And doing some recording!!

'Bye for now ....

23rd July

Quite a lot to catch up on! It's been a busy festival season so far with more to come with the weather obviously being very kind. The one exception was when we played at Everton Festival (my local event!) and it was cold and raining but we still enjoyed playing. It's been difficult with Rob and Ian not available for all the gigs but we've had some great deps so a big thank you to Keith Fletcher, Greg Pepper, Oliver Tarbard and John Read. There are a few photos and videos of a couple of our gigs which can be seen on our facebook page which Sarah looks after (she is more on the ball than me but I hope to add them to this site soon!).

So ... too many gigs to go through individually but a few points to mention ... hard work of the sound crews at all the festivals ... also hard work of festival organisers which can be pretty thankless ... playing at Lymington (Artisans By The River) with audience all sitting in the shade ... again at Lymington competing with (and losing out) with 51 Ferraris in procession through the town ...  Lymington market closing down early for England's World Cup match with Sweden as we finished our stint at the Arts Festival ... the wonderful post-gig beer at just about every sweltering event (except Everton!!) ....

And there's more to come with Mudeford Arts Festival nexr Sunday 29th - we are the last band 4-5pm - so looking forward to that. And then a lovely gig we do every year, bit of a quiet, folky thing for Lymington Macular Society at Lymington Community Centre on Thurs 2nd Aug. ... we really enjoy playing this one. Also looking forward to returning to the Peg and Parrot on Sun 12th Aug  (4-7pm)- a brilliant pub with a brilliant landlady! You'll have to look at our dates page for the full details about forthcoming gigs.

Meanwhile we are having a good time rehearsing new songs - looking at covers of Patti Smith, Gary Moore, Osborne Brothers  and other interesting numbers - so watch this space.

Till the next time...

16th April

Some great gigs over the last couple of months! Thoroughly enjoyed playing at Martyn and Nikki's wedding on 17th March, just a lovely afternoon with lovely people!! Plenty of dancing, great food and, very important to us, lots of nice compliments about the music! No one in the band is lumbered with any kind of ego problem but it is great to hear that we are making a good sound!! That same day Steve played in the evening in another band with his mate, Mark Richardson (it was St Patrick's night after all!) and then wondered why he felt tired after 12 hours of band work!!

We had a break due to various work commitments but learnt some new songs during that time, one of which gets Rob to step forward and take the lead vocal! Great stuff! We also had a band social round Ian's pad at Easter with some fine food and an acoustic session all suitably lubricated with large quantities of drink! Well, we felt the need to bond didn't we?

Our last gig was on Friday 13th April at the Turfcutters Arms. All five of us crammed into a space more suited to three but, despite falling over one another, we had a great evening playing all our favourite numbers and, yes, the new songs went really well! Very pleased to say that we'll be going back there again, hopefully quite soon. Great pub and great atmosphere!

Next gig is at Everton Club on 28th April so we' may do some slightly different material.... non-members can come in so head over for a night of very reasonably priced drinks and an Empty Frets extravaganza!!


27th Feb 2018

We've played a lot during February which has been good but also we've been invited to play at a number of festivals later in the year which is especially pleasing (they are all on our gig list page). And we are playing at the Turfcutters on 13th April so come and see us strut our stuff there. Well, come and have a drink anyway!!

Apart from the music we've at last managed to catch up on mug shots of all the band. They are an elusive lot to try and get in one place at the same time but we managed it a week ago and Roger, our wonderful tame photographer, did the business. He had to use a fast shutter speed before Ian whizzed off to some distant foreign place and Rob slid off on a Cornish adventure but once again Rog did us proud! Thanks Rog! There's a few in our gallery and more will be dotted around in due course!

Below from left: Jim, Rob, Sarah, Steve and Ian                                                                                Photo: Roger Tutt   

We've had  some enjoyable and varied gigs and it's nice to be playing again! One gig was at the Peg & Parrot at Totton on 11th and we just had a great time despite Saints losing to Liverpool while we played! Nice compliments at the end and a lovely atmosphere ... a lot of it down to Sue, the landlady and champion of live music !

A new venue was Westbourne Conservative Club: we didn't know what to expect but everyone was up dancing from the beginning and it turned out to be a really good night! 

We've enjoyed all our gigs this month and are looking forward to playing at our home base at Wootton Club on Saturday (3rd March). We owe a lot to the club who are very good to us even though we don't drink much (well, we're driving aren't we?!).

Meanwhile we are messing around with various songs - a right mixture of Country, Blues and '60's numbers - and they could appear at a venue near you!

24th Jan 2018

We've had some enjoyable rehearsal nights and come up with some new songs for the set including a couple of original numbers. Especially pleasing is a country rock number called "Another Thing To Kill Ya) written by Steve with lyrics by Barry Lowe and we've also dusted off "Dreaming"... all sounding good with our  new 5 piece line-up!!

Steve had a big birthday in the middle of January and part of his celebrations was an evening of jamming with his muso mates (yes, despite the rumours he does actually have the odd friend ... and this lot were definitely odd!!). It was a brilliant evening with not only the Frets in attendance but also guys from various bands that Steve has been in in the past and we had a blast. Thanks to all!

Below: Rockin' at the birthday bash!

We were very disappointed by another cancellation by the landlord of the Red Lion at Milford. Having agreed the date of Sat 20th Jan  and written it into a book while Steve was there previously, he claimed to have no knowledge of the booking. So we had to let a whole lot of people who were coming know that it was off at the last minute. No further comment needed!

But we've got more reliable bookings in the diary and start off in a couple of weeks' time on Sat 10th Feb at New Milton Conservative Club followed by a Sunday afternoon session at the Peg & Parrot at Totton.  The P&P is a great pub with a brilliant atmosphere  and very welcoming people and it is a great place to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon so come on over! We play from 4 until 7.

  A week later on Sat 17th Feb we're  at Westbourne Conservative Club - this is a new venue for us so looking forward to that and hope for a good evening. We were recommended by people who saw us at New Milton in November. And then on Sat 24th Empty Frets are part of a charity evening at New Milton Memorial Hall raising money for Ocean Brothers. There are around 7 or 8 bands, each playing for half an hour so you won't get bored and all in a good cause!

And finally we roll into March with an evening at Wootton and Bashley Club - that's where we rehearse so it will be good to do a proper gig there. Plenty of parking and cheap booze plus the Frets - not to be missed! Non members welcome.

Hope to see you soon....

6th December

We've coasted into the quiet waters of December where strangely we haven't got any gigs! But there is a (sad) reason for that as Sarah's dad has been very ill and passed away a few days ago so a quiet few weeks is appropriate.

Our last gig was at New Milton Conservative club on 25th November and we had a really good night there with people dancing from the first number onwards. It was a debut performance for Rob on bass and the boy done good! We really enjoyed the evening and Steve did especially as he won a half bottle of whisky in the raffle!

The week before on 18th November we had another good evening at Everton Club where, amongst other things, Steve won some chocs in the raffle (bit of a pattern developing here!).

Back at both clubs in Feb but before that we are at the Red Lion at Milford which we are very much looking forward to. Don't know what the line up will be yet - could be a 5-piece! And don't know what we'll be playing yet except that it will be mostly up-tempo and include a few new numbers.

So  .... we are looking forward to really moving the band forward in 2018 now that we have a settled line-up and can have some fun playing new and interesting music. Hope to see you in January but, before then, have a great Christmas!!

8th November

Knew it would be difficult keeping up to date!! So, a quick update since the last posting ... we've played quite a few gigs, 2 at the Peg & Parrot which is always enjoyable, a return to the Beast and Everton Club and a couple of extra bookings - 6th Oct at the Stag Hotel in Lyndhurst where we had a great night with a raucous (but friendly) crowd., and then a last-minute gig at Milford Community Centre as support band for Axel & the Big Wheels!  Again, we had a great time there, really enjoying playing an hour long set and then sitting back and watching some superb musicians in the form of Axel and Co doing their thing!

Sadly our gig at The Red Lion at Milford had to be cancelled owing to a bereavement but we've got a replacement gig on 20th Jan to look forward to. And we've got a few more dates in the 2018 calendar (see our Dates page).

Coming up this month we've got a couple of club gigs - Everton & Lymore club on 18th and New Milton Conservative the following Saturday 25th and non-members can come along to either.

We have added a few more numbers to the Empty Frets repertoire and plan to get down to some serious rehearsing when our two travelling bass players/guitarists return to base in the next couple of weeks. Plus a bit more writing and recording when time permits!

Steve and Sarah played at a couple of open mic sessions during October, one at the Fox & Hounds in Lyndhurst and another at the Empress of Blandings at Copythorne, both times in the company of some excellent musicians and good fun. And Steve made some great new friends when he joined in a jam session at the Malt'n'Hops pub in Hythe one Friday night..

So, what's next? Well at the moment we aren't playing during December: if any gigs turn up we'll do them but we aren't actively chasing for various reasons. Meanwhile Steve is continuing to work with Barry Lowe on original Country songs as well as dreaming up more Empty Fret offerings!

Finally ... Steve has a significant birthday in the middle of January and is having a jam night with his musician pals on 18th. It will be at Everton Club so all welcome.... have a drink , sit backand have a laugh! 

All the best from The Frets!

5th Sept 2017

Only just had time to catch up! We had a very good evening at the Beast (Bournemouth East Conservative Club) on 26th Aug. It was our first visit as a 4-piece and, as usual, we were made very welcome by Lennie and the crew there. Pieter from the Prairie Dogs came up and had a jam with us right at the end and it was all a good laugh. Back there in mid-Oct.

And then, something completely different! We played at the Greyhound pub at Corfe, right underneath Corfe Castle. Bit of a challenge as it all had to be acoustic but it turned out  really well. Just the three of us -Sarah, Steve and Mark but helped out by the people there having a good time and joining in with the songs! Made it all worthwhile dealing with the  Bank Holiday traffic there and back!

Sadly our next gig on Sun 3rd Sept at New Milton Rec had to be cancelled because of bad weather. We were looking forward to that one ; however we will be there on 17th Sept at midday as part of Be Involved. 2 gigs on the same day as we are at the Peg and Parrot later at 4pm!

Only other news is that we have been doing some recording and expect a couple of songs will soon appear on our FB page. Also now that the summer is coming to an end and there is a bit more time we have picked up our collaboration with Barry Lowe, writing and recording original songs with a Country flavour. Keeps us off the streets!

23rd August 2017

We had a great time at Milford Festival at the end of July and our thanks go to Victoria and all the crew there. It was really good to play to such a large and appreciative crowd and we received plenty of nice comments afterwards. And we especially enjoyed the post-gig pints in the beer tent! We've got some good pictures from the event's photographer (see top of page and below. b 

A few days later we had a totally different kind of gig when we played for Lymington Macular Society -  a gentle and very rewarding afternoon which we thoroughly enjoyed. This time we had Jim on bass and he weighed in with a couple of nice country songs, putting the bass aside and playing guitar.

So then we had some down time while Steve went off on holiday to France for a fortnight but now we are preparing for a busy weekend with a gig on Saturday at Bournemouth East Conservative Club aka the Beast and an acoustic session on Aug Bank Holiday  Monday at Corfe Castle.

Meanwhile we'll be recording some more songs, more of which later ...

Cheers from The Frets

29th July 2017  Here We Go

Hello - thought it would be a good idea to set up a little news page so that we could let you know some of the things that we're doing as we're doing them .. to let you know what's going on in Empty Frets World!

So ... what's happening at the moment ...? Well, Reg left us in Feb and we've spent a lot of time getting a replacement bass player.  We've actually currently got three! Johnny Read is playing with us although his priority band is Dog Ruff who've been together since the first World War; then Mark Curtis has joined us - an excellent double-bass player and all-round musician - but who has limited availability at the moment. And then we've also got Jim Brown who is a talented local musician who plays bass, banjo and guitar ... but Jim is due to go abroad for a couple of months. So it may be that we have to go for a fourth option for a while if necessary. All this has meant that we've limited the number of gigs that we've taken although, as you'll see from the "Dates" page, we've still got quite a few.

Meanwhile Sarah and Steve have played at a few open mic evenings in Lyndhurst and Ashurst - always good fun- and are planning to do some more recording over the next few weeks. More of that at a later date.

We had a great time at Everton Festival in mid-June. Steve and Sarah ran a Ukulele Workshop during festival week with the "students" playing some tunes at the E. Frets concert on the Saturday evening. They got more applause than we did!! We approached the workshops with some trepidation as we'd never done anything like that before but it was good fun and very rewarding - and we got at least one person into playing an instrument who'd never played before!

Next gigs coming up ..... it's Milford Festival at 1.30pm tomorrow (Sun 30th July) with Mark on bass and Ian on drums. Looking forward to that one especially as we've got a couple of new songs to air. And then we are doing a charity gig on 3rd Aug for Lymington Macular society - Sarah, Steve and Jim. Promises to be fun-especially as at some point we'll swap instruments with Jim playing guitar (or banjo?) and Steve playing bass (or guitar? Or banjo?).

So ... that's it for this first little snippet! You are welcome to email us with any comments (preferably nice ones!) and/or say hello at any of the forthcoming gigs...

Cheers from the band