ONE of the UK’s finest Americana, bluegrass and country bands is heading to Chester next month for a very special hometown show.

Jaywalkers have been delighting audiences for more than 10 years; taking their exciting, inventive and virtuosic brand of folk music up, down and around the UK and Europe.

During that time the three outstanding musicians who make up the band, Mike Giverin, Jay Bradberry and Lucille Williams, have developed a tight bond, demonstrated through their well-crafted arrangements and ability to bounce ideas around the stage.

The combination of powerhouse bass, flame-fingered mandolin, blistering fiddle

and three-part harmony,

pack a punch as fiery as Jay’s lead vocals and make a fuller sound than expected from an acoustic trio.

This winter, Jaywalkers are on a full UK tour to support the release of their new album, Time to Save the World, released in early November 2018.

This is their fourth studio album, recorded during the peak of the 2018 summer heatwave, with Josh Clark as producer. Featuring 10 original songs (and a Johnny Cash cover for good measure) their new music plays on the strengths of each member all encompassed by Mike’s musically crafted and lyrically perceptive song writing.

“We’re all really, really pleased with and all three of us agree it’s the most ‘us’ we’ve sounded over our four albums,” says Mike. “A lot of decisions have to go into making an album and what comes out isn’t always what you meant to do at the start.

“This is the first album where we feel like we’ve got everything right and we’re really chuffed with it.”

Back in 2008, the then teenage Jaywalkers competed as a duo in the semi-finals of the BBC Young Folk Award, when Mike was just 19 and Jay, 15.

“Jay and I met when I was 14 and she was 10,” explains Mike. “We’ve known each other a while now. The two girls are from Helsby, which is where I live now and we all met at a weekly jam session held on a Thursday night under the shadow of Helsby hill. Lucille’s brother ran the session and he taught Jay and I how to play.

“I was from north Manchester and would come down for a lesson and then go to the session.

“Out of that people started asking us to play and then we got to the final of the BBC Folk Awards and we’ve worked ever since.”

Mike and Lucille are an item these days, so I tread carefully when I ask what it’s like being in a band with two girls, one of whom is your partner.

“It’s just part of life and I tend not to think about it,” he laughs. “We’re all friends and the only difference to being in a band with blokes is that with girls you need a changing room before a gig. A lot of the older folk clubs don’t understand you need a room - blokes can just nip in a toilet to change!”

The band’s 25-date tour started in early November and continues through to the end of February 2019, culminating in a hometown gig at the state-of-the-art Storyhouse in Chester.

“We started booking the tour a year ago and we only had one place we wanted to play in Chester and that was Storyhouse,” says Mike. “We kept hounding them because we love it there. Jay has just been to see the Wizard of Oz there and we use it as our library and coffee house fairly regularly.”

Mike and Jay manage to make a living as full-time musicians but as the mandolin and guitar player admits it isn’t easy.

“I think most musicians have a multitude of things going on,” he adds. “I run a website teaching mandolin and I have mandolin students as well as being in another band and Jay teaches violin in a primary school - music itself is a profession but not many bands on our scene can be full-time. It means you have to have several irons in several fires!”

Jaywalkers play Garrett Theatre, Chester Storyhouse on Saturday, February 2, at 8pm, Tickets £10 from or 01244 409113.