Chris and Siobhan Nelson perform (either acoustic or ‘plugged in’) a wide range of traditional and contemporary songs, accompanied on fiddle, octave violin, tenor (4-string) guitar, viola, or octave mandola – or sung a cappella.
Now based in Southport, Chris is from Yorkshire via Potters Bar, and Siobhan was born and raised in London. They have been performing together – in bands and as a duo – since the mid-1980s. Equally at home on the ‘big stage’ and in small, intimate venues, they have appeared at numerous festivals, folk clubs and concerts over the years. They are resident singers at Southport’s renowned Bothy Folk Club (http://www.bothyfolkclub.co.uk/), and are also part of the ‘Cork Jacket Crew’, who performed the acclaimed show Cork Jackets and Drill: the Great Lifeboat Disaster of 1886, and are now performing a new show, Avondale.
As well as releasing three albums as a duo, they have appeared on numerous other recordings – see discography page for more information.
They work (occasionally – for geographical reasons) as a trio, Nelsons Wake, with Southampton-based Barry Wake. They have also recently begun working as a trio with Len Pentin, writer of the show Cork Jackets and Drill.
Chris and Siobhan first got together as members of The Cluster of Nuts Band, who were part of the ‘rogue folk’ movement back in the early 1980s – the band were even immortalised in Southern Rag (the forerunner of fRoots magazine) as The Buster of Ruts Band! Siobhan joined the ‘Nuts’ shortly after the release of their Fridge in the Fast Lane album (which featured such folk luminaries as Ian Telfer of the Oyster Band, John Adams of the New Victory Band [etc.] and Cathy Lesurf), when they were seeking a vocalist. When the band eventually split, Chris and Siobhan were involved in the short-lived, but extremely fun, Nork Trellis Band, and then they joined well-established Hampshire-based band, New St George. They were founder members of Loose Screws Appalachian Dancers & String Band (and were also involved in its later incarnation, Kaleidoscope); Chris has been a member of ‘American roots’ band Midnight Flyers, with bluesmen Arnie Cottrell and Pete Harris, and bluegrass combo The Merseybillies.
Chris and Siobhan also have a Facebook page: