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Liz Simcock presents an acoustic showcase of songs to make you laugh and cry
Expressive and soulful, folk singer songwriter Liz Simcock is the guest at this month's Folk at The Pump House, alongside the musicians who have accompanied her for the past ten years, guitarist Warwick Jones and bassist Ian Newman.
When we speak, Liz is having a two-week break in a remote cottage near the Isle of Syke in order to work on new songs. Although you would never think it from the finely wrought material she produces, Liz describes herself as an amateur musician as she can only pursue her art part-time.
"I'm a specialist nurse and I run a small team," explains Liz. "It's a job I care about and could not be half-hearted about but I try and come away every two years to write songs.
"It's an unusual thing to have the luxury of time to myself as I'm always juggling, but then I think lots of women my age have kids and a job, whereas I have a job and music.
"It is hard to find space in your life though, there are lots of things I find much easier than writing songs - I'll be lucky if I come away with three songs from these two weeks. I usually write very slowly and continuously, but hopefully I play professionally."
She does. In 1999 Liz featured on the Playpen Album of New Acoustic Music alongside Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, Eddi Reader and Kathryn Williams. Since then she has trodden an independent path, gaining a growing reputation as a performer and songwriter. Her third album Beachcomber was released at the end of 2008 and she is now compiling songs for an eagerly awaited fourth album, she hopes to release this November. The Crouch End based singer was recently featured at Hitchin Folk Club in April where she performed one of her more recent numbers The Bouzouki & the W3, a humorous song about leaving an instrument on the bus, which is based on a true story.
To me writing a song is such a massive amount of work and a huge effort, I only bother if it's something that moves meLiz Simcock
"About a year and a half ago, I left my bouzouki on the bus and thought I'd lost it but having said that I couldn't imagine a scenario where someone would walk off with it. I didn't ever set out to write comic songs but it just seems to happen from time to time."
She references a popular favourite Pink and Silver Sneakers, which will be on the tracklist for the Watford gig and a new song she's been working on called The Knitting Song, which might not, as she's only just finished it. Heartfelt ballads such as Beachcomber and Dancing With You will also feature.
"One of the big advantages of not being commercially successful is you can call your own shots and make sure you give really good quality every day.
"To me writing a song is such a massive amount of work and a huge effort, I only bother if it's something that moves me emotionally, is funny or I feel strongly about."
Liz is at the Colne River Room, Pump House Theatre, Local Board Road, Watford on Friday, May 25 at 8pm. Details: www.folkatthepumphouse.webs.com