In 2015 it was a hoot. There were a couple of festival gigs in 2016. In 2019 they took to the stage to support a local charity and people travelled to Yorkshire from Surrey and across from North Wales. There are no further plans at present but never say never again! Happy to consider anything interesting. Call Jacey.
Though they officvially gave up touring full time in 2005, Artisan was persuaded out of 'retirement' in 2010, and had a fabulous time in the UK and Canada. What a tour! A tour-de-force, in fact. They recorded another studio album (Random Play) which is available from the albums page of the website. And then another tour, ten years on from their 'retirement' and better than ever. Good friends with a love of singing and laughter. What's not to like?
"Artisan isn't a hard act to follow. All I have to do now is get up here on stage and burst into flames." - Valdy, Canada.
"The harmony work is sharp and unfussy, the words are worth listening to, the tunes are good and the group convey a real energy and enthusiasm in their singing." - Nick Beale, fRoots, UK.
The songs are, as much of Artisan's material, humorous but with a deeper meaning lurking below the surface. You'll have your fun but you'll come away with a deeper understanding of the issues being sung about. And, as always, the harmonies of Jacey Bedford, Brian Bedford and Hilary Spencer are as wonderfully tuneful and rhythmic as any to be found on the folk scene today. - Dirty Linen, USA
A Brief History of Everything Artisan-ish
Gestated in 1984 and birthed in 1985 as a fun thing to do, Artisan kept getting invited to play more and more gigs until finally, in 1989, they kicked their day jobs into touch and went full time, playing folk clubs and festivals in the UK with a few side-trips to Belgium and Germany.
In 1994 North America beckoned, first Canada and then the USA. Audiences loved them. In the next eleven years, between touring up and down the UK they did thirty North American tours playing everything from house-concerts to big outdoor festival stages such as Vancouver and Winnipeg Festivals and the Philadelphia Folksong Festival, playing to 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000 people at a time. They even toured to Australia via Hong Kong. Heady stuff.
And it was still fun.
Fourteen albums and a concert DVD later they all had a hankering to cut down on the travelling and do something a bit different: Brian's recording studio, Hilary's solo singing, her duo gigs with Grant Baynham (as Quicksilver) and trio gigs with the Mrs Ackroyd Band, and Jacey's science fiction writing and folk music booking agency. They came to the conclusion that it had been a great twenty great years, but it was time for a change and a rest. That was 2005. They did a farewell tour, a massive closing concert (DVD still available) and retired (dis)-gracefully to work on other things.
Five years later a short tour in July, August and September 2010 to UK and Canadian venues and festivals made longtime fans happy and gathered a whole host of new fans too. What next? A second reunion tour in 2015. Thirty six appearances spread over a period from April to early October, visiting old friends and new audiences. Singing old favourites and songs from Random Play that haven't seen the light of day before. Still great vocals and that same irreverent sense of humour. In 2019 they got together for a local fundraising concert and had massive fun. They never say never again.
"Our Back Yard is a treasure box of social commentary done a cappella. If you're intrigued with lyrics and the purity of the human voice, it's for you." - Crossroads Magazine, USA
"I would cheerfully sell my soul to the Devil for Hilary Spencer's voice." - Claire Giles, Shirefolk
"Tremendous in their sheer ability to sing and entertain." - Venue Magazine
"A velvety tenderness that no other harmony group comes near." - Taplas Magazine, (Wales)