“…it was most definitely standing room only as the audience filled the room (and beyond) to be equally moved and amused by songs spanning two centuries”. (Living Tradition Review, Costa Del Folk)
The Pitmen Poets celebrate the songs, humour, and culture of North East England's Coal Mining tradition, bringing together four of the region's leading champions of it's musical heritage. Ex-Lindisfarne & Jack The Lad singer and writer Billy Mitchell, Song Man from London’s West End musical Warhorse, Bob Fox, leading exponent of Tyneside song Benny Graham, and much-covered BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee songwriter Jez Lowe - individually and collectively, The Pitmen Poets.
This is a journey through the centuries of a once-great industry, from the songs that saw it thrive and dominate, to those that saw it's demise and the resulting aftermath.
Now, after two albums and several hugely successful tours, the band prepare to release their farewell album to accompany their 23 date farewell tour.
“The audience sang along, laughed and also shared moments of sadness as the combined talents of Billy Mitchell, Jez Lowe, Benny Graham and Bob Fox took them on an epic journey through the life and times of the Northumberland and Durham coalfields. What a great night!” (Brian Coles – Rock of the North).
With every member coming from coal mining stock, this quartet represent the first generation of their families not to take up the tradition of working down the pit. As Billy Mitchell explains: With every member coming from coal mining stock, they represent the first generation of their families not to take up the tradition of working down the pit. As Billy Mitchell explains:
“Our parents all said ‘you’re not going down the pit, get a good education and do something worthwhile with your lives'….so now we sing songs and tell stories…. about coal mining. It’s quite ironic really but it’s very important to keep the stories we all heard growing up in the form of songs for the next generation.
“Life working in the pit was tough and to reflect that, our songs aren’t all happy tunes as we look at the terrible tragedies that affected whole villages when disaster struck. But there’s also humour too in great doses in our songs as that’s how families got through the bad times.
“We’re playing a lot of former coal mining areas and the songs will resonate with many people there who made their living from coal. Our music and the subject matter will entertain audiences from Berwick in the North, Croydon in the South, East to Canterbury and West to Blackwood in South Wales. We’re all looking forward to going out on our 2019 tour and meeting the public and literally taking our coals from the Newcastle area to the rest of the country.”