String Jam comes of age in 2017

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2017 is a big milestone for fans of the Borders’ best-loved acoustic music venue, and organisers are keen to mark it with a series of excellent gigs.

The String Jam Club moved from Galashiels to the County Hotel in January 2014, but it was back in 1997 that singer/songwriter Allie Fox tentatively approached Helen Calder in the Salmon Inn to see if she could hire the room above the bar, and the String Jam Club was born.

Allie told The Wee Paper: “It’s hard to believe, I know, but it’s nearly 20 years since I first walked into the Salmon in Galashiels to ask Helen if I could hire the upstairs room to set up a small live music venue for local musicians.

“From that day forward the club has evolved, grown, hosted local and international artists, booked many musicians of different genres from the UK & beyond, and has developed a reputation for its friendly atmosphere and the quality of music it brings to the Borders.

“To me, it remains a big family of people who come together out of their love for music.

“Now based at the County Hotel in Selkirk, we are all very passionate about live music and doing the best job we can for your listening pleasure.

“Our longevity is undoubtedly due in great part to the warm support of all the music lovers who come along to swell the crowd, so thank you all, we couldn’t do it without you.

“As 2017 is our 20th anniversary year, we hope to have a few surprises up our sleeves for you.

“A fabulous line-up is already planned, and this is just for starters.”

Already, two concerts are booked in for the birthday year, with celebrated South African guitarist Derek Gripper playing on January 21, and blues songstress Amythyst Kiah on February 11.

Grammy award winner John Williams – possibly one of the greatest classical guitar players of all time – has said what Gripper does is “absolutely impossible” and is one of the most interesting things he has heard on guitar in 20 years, while Kiah has been said to “possess many impressive tools in her vocal toolbox and is well on her way to joining the powerhouse vocalist pantheon”.

Tickets are on sale for both gigs – £13 for Derek Gripper and £12 for Amythyst Kiah – from the County Hotel on 01750-721233, or online from www.eventbrite.co.uk