Acoustic Architects are an acoustic rock/folk band based in North Kent. We mostly play our own songs but usually mix in a few covers from the likes of REM, Crowded House, CSNY and Simon and Garfunkel.
We used to be called ‘Homage’, because we sounded like other people, but we changed the name as it sounded too cheesy (fromage).
We’ve recently released our first full-length CD, ‘Blueprint’.
Check out our videos:
‘Drifting Away’ written by Dave Woodward and Recorded by Anton French for Public Convenience Records. Shot on the spit in Tankerton, Kent.
’10 out of 10′ written by Dave Woodward and filmed by Anton French. Shot in Canterbury (Dane John Gardens and Westgate Gardens).
We were also caught on film at ‘From Page to Stage’ at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, on 1 October 2011 – an event to launch the book ‘Strange Fruits’, by Maria C. McCarthy, published by Cultured Llama for WordAid in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support:
Nice review of our gig aboard the SB Edith May on Friday 28 October 2011, by Matt Care of The Cambria Trust:
The Acoustic Architects do “acoustically driven rock music” or folk-rock stuff basically. Two acoustic guitars, a bodhran player (dustbin lid sized Irish goat-skin drum, pronounced ‘bow (rhymes with cow)-Ron’) / main vocalist and the electric bass make up the standard line-up but there are frequent changes by song, with all of them doing lyrics at various times, the bass player grabbing a mandolin for “Fisherman’s Blues” (Water boys), bodhran player wielding a variety of percussion kit, and guitarist Bob Carling switching to mandolin or a mandola named Nelson. This gives all the folk stuff a nice bit of raunch and gives the rocky stuff (up to and including Led Zeppelin!) a nice folky homeliness.
We loved the covers of Crosby Stills and Nash, Simon and Garfunkel and the Water boys and Led Zep, nice sing-along ones like “I’ll be your Baby Tonight” and “Float like Cannon Ball”, folky stuff by Steve Knightley and Phil Beer and the band’s own material – Good Day and Back to the Smack (pub!) being memorable plus “Lounge on the Farm” about a music festival. All the music was intercut by a genuinely funny and enjoyable level of banter between band members and jokes with the audience. They also handed out a variety of “shaker things” so that we could join in with percussion on some of the songs.
A brilliant night had by all and I should thank the Gransdens and Edith May herself for being such good hosts and the band for being so entertaining. I really hope that we, on Cambria, can do something like this.
The core members of the band are:
- Dave Woodward (vocals, guitar)
- Bob Carling (vocals, guitar, mandolin, mandola, bass)
- Steve Allen (vocals, bodhran)
- Paul Upton (vocals, bass, mandolin, ukelele)
- Patrick Killeen (harmonica, bazouki)
and we occasionally call on the superb talents of:
- Christine Adams (fiddle, squeezebox)
- Simon Dundas (whistles, squeezebox, guitar)
- Olivia Cunnington (fiddle)
- Larry Klatzko (fiddle, banjo)
He’s our main songwriter, coming up with very clever hooks and lyrics. (Only don’t tell him that, cos he’ll get an even bigger ego than he already has.)
He’s been around the music scene in Kent for many years, playing and singing with various people, including Steve at the legendary Penny Theatre in Canterbury and in the band ‘4play’.
His songwriting blossomed after going with Bob to a singer/songwriter workshop led by Steve Knightley and Phil Beer of “Show of Hands”, coming up with “Good Day” and “Back to the Smack” in quick succession. The latter was as a result of moving away from Kent briefly and missing playing and singing at The Smack, a pub in Whitstable.
Bob started his musical career when he pestered his mum for a guitar in his teens, because he hated playing the piano! He’s been playing guitar ever since. Initially he tried to copy the Beatles, Ralph McTell and loads of other now rather ancient singer-songwriters.
He plays acoustic and electric guitar and bass guitar – and more recently mandolin and mandola. And he has aspirations of getting hold of other more exotic stringed instruments…
He has been in various bands, over the years, but he started seriously gigging when he lived in Southampton and started a band in 1999-ish called Kairos, which had some local success.
In the summer of 2005, when Bob moved to Canterbury, Dave Woodward came up to him at an open mic night after he had sung a couple of Simon and Garfunkel songs. “Do you like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young?”, he asked, to which Bob said, “Yeah, but that dates both you and me!”. But that started a fruitful musical relationship because we both liked that “acoustic-ey” rock thingy. This was helped by us both going to a superb song-writing workshop where the tutors were none other than Steve Knightley and Phil Beer of “Show of Hands”, organized by the wonderful Debs Earl of “Folk in the Barn” fame. That workshop inspired us to write our own stuff rather than just do covers of other people’s stuff (although we do that as well). And at least it got round the age-old problem of new bands doing the pub thing… do we do covers or our own stuff? We do both, but mostly our own stuff – and we introduce the latter by saying “this sounds like…”!
At about this time Steve Allen joined the band and we started calling ourselves “Homage” – because every time we sat down to write a song, we kept saying to ourselves “that sounds just like…”. So we thought, sod it, why not roll with this and say that we sound like other people – and so the name was born. Homage is not a bad name, but sounded a bit cheesy (“fromage”!) so, after a lot of bandying around loads of band names, we re-named ourselves “Acoustic Architects”.
He was involved in the Manx music scene (Isle of Man) since 1988 as a bodhran player at many a session or during ‘Yn Chruinnaght’ (the island music festival).
He teamed up with Dave Woodward around this time as a singer in the band ‘4 Play’.
Dave and Steve were also prominent players at the original ‘Penny Theatre’ in Canterbury.
He spent most of the 1990s as a front and backing singer (plus percussion) in one of Kent’s leading party bands ‘The Groovey Band’.
Steve had a brief spell singing with Dave Woodward again at various pub open stage nights as the aptly named ‘Dave & Steve’.
In late summer 2005, Steve met up with Bob Carling and Dave, Steve and Bob named themselves ‘Homage’, but in 2009, round about the time that Paul Upton joined the band, we renamed the band ‘The Acoustic Architects’.
His favourite quote is “if you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve already got”… (Who said that? Probably Paul.) His favourite record is “Big Yellow Taxi” – the version by Half Man Half Biscuit – and his favourite song is “King of Rome”. And he’s proud to say that he didn’t know about Leige and Leaf until 2008.
We have more recently been joined by Patrick, harmonica player extraordinaire – and he plays a bit of bazouki and ukelele. Patrick doesn’t have much to say for himself because I haven’t yet asked him for a blurb of his to go here. But his harmonica playing speaks volumes…
Christine loves playing the fiddle and in the last few years has been able to do more of just that. She is a fan of Peter Knight’s Gigpspanner and it was attending Peter Knight’s Masterclass that inspired Christine to get out and play more. Her musical tastes are wide and varied and she is probably a “folky at heart”. She first met the Acoustic Architects when playing with her fiddle playing friend Fran Broady at an Open Mic session at the Unicorn in Bekesbourne, and the rest as they say is ….
Christine has always had an interest in playing music in all kinds of settings. She has spent a lot of time encouraging children to develop their love of music, plays for a local choir and has been involved music making with those in residential care. More than anything else, she just loves playing music with other people and the shared experience that that creates.
Simon is a big fan of the AAs, several of whom he knows from the heady days of the Penny Theatre in Canterbury. Although only an occasional contributor due to other commitments he particularly loves to play whistle on some of our songs. He says our version of Teardrop is better than Massive Attack’s, particularly suiting the low whistle. Plays whistle and melodeon with Wolfshead and Vixen (gothic) morris and Celtic Capers. Influences include Davy Spillane, Santana, Mike Oldfield and prog rock.