Alex Garden born March 96 Studying Music at Southampton Uni
I started to play the violin at the age of six and then also took up drums when I was ten. I sang with the Somerset County Youth Choir - which included performing in the Royal Albert Hall, London, and the Colston Hall, in Bristol - and at my junior school where I sang a solo in Wells Cathedral. Then my voice broke…
In 2008, I joined Burtle Silver Band as percussionist and still play with them at many venues in the South West. While I have been formally trained in violin and, briefly, in drum kit, I have taught myself to play bass, rhythm, lead and acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, keyboard and piano. I built myself a tea-chest bass – and also own a washboard! My latest project is a set of bagpipes picked up in a rash e-bay foray.
I nearly gave up the violin in 2009, but decided to keep it up and then found it all suddenly began to come together. My violin training has been classical but I also took up playing folk music a year or so ago. I started busking on the streets of Wells when 13 with my friend, Sam Biggs, playing ukulele in a duo called Twisted Ukuleles.
Through GCSE Music at the Blue School Ford and I had done a couple of collaborations before we hit on the Drystones in July 2011.
Ford Collier born July 96 Studying Music at Sheffield Uni
At the tender age of nine I was gripped by the inexplicable urge to learn Saxophone. I spent about a year torturing my parents until I started achieving a pleasing Jazz sound and getting through the grades. I began going to the Priddy Folk Festival and getting an appreciation for all types of music, and soon my “hobby” became a “passion”.
I also started picking up other instruments. I taught myself recorder, piano, and drums. Then in early 2010 I picked up a guitar for the first time, and shortly after a penny whistle. These instruments seemed to fit me well and I found myself composing pieces for them. I ventured into playing acoustic clubs with Greg Mantingh and Henry Peacock, and GCSE Music gave me other opportunities to perform.
When the chance came up in the Priddy Folk Festival I guess I was ready, I knew Alex had been doing some work on folk tunes on his fiddle so I gave him a call. We instantly found we were on the same wavelength, and the rest, as they, say is history!