After a busy Bank Holiday weekend, I will take some time out this week to 'stand and stare', as the Newport born 'tramp poet', W.H. Davies recommended in his famous poem, Leisure. In fact, Davies had more in common with our early folk pioneers than you might think, travelling to America and becoming a hobo, jumping the freight trains like his contemporary, Woody Guthrie. Also. like Woody, his enduring legacy was the power of his words although, in his case these were not set to music.

Davies returned to Wales minus a leg that had to be amputated after an accident in America and took his place in Welsh folklore, whilst Woody went on to capture the injustices of the 1930s and 40s meted out to his fellow countrymen in the Dust Bowl and to the Deportees whose lives meant so little to those in power that 28 of their number who died in a plane crash at Los Gatos airport in January, 1948, were buried, unnamed, in a mass grave. It was not until 2013 that all their names were all traced, and a memorial stone erected. Woody's song, Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos Airport), is still sung today long after those politicians and so-called statesmen have become just dust on the wind.

However, I digress and, much as I admire these pioneers and old timers, it is the young pretenders whom I wish to tell you about, especially the success of a certain local band.

This year we had our very own Wales Folk Awards for the very first time, proving that the Welsh folk and traditional music scene is in a healthy place and now making a big impact on both sides of the border. The awards were created by a partnership between Trac (the folk development for Wales body), BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the Arts Council for Wales and other significant figures from the world of Welsh folk, such as Huw Williams and Stephen Rees. The awards were presented at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff bay and was broadcast a couple of days later Frank Hennessey's, Celtic Heartbeat show (Sundays at 8pm and its Radio Cymru counterpart. There were three live performances during the evening from Gwilym Bowen Rhys, VRi, Calan and The Trials of Cato.

I am delighted to say that all two were award wins at the ceremony and, pride of place goes to the trio, originally from the Wrexham area, Trials of Cato. These three brilliant musicians, singers and writers have featured large in this column over the past two or three years and, as it turns out, with some justification.

They won the Best Emerging Artiste/Band award and were also listed in the last four for Best Original Song. It was good to see other North Wales winners like Gwilym Bowen Rhys (Best Solo Artist) and The Gentle Good (Last four of Best Solo Artist) featuring.

Other winners on the night were Calan (Best Group), Bendigeidfran-Werwen (Best Original Welsh language Song), Dawns Soig/Dawns y GwrMara- Alaw (Best Instrumental Track), Ty ein Todau (Best Album), Ffoles Lllantrisant (Best Traditional Welsh Song), Here Comes the Young - Martyn Joseph (Best Original English language Song) and Penderig (Best Live Act). In addition, to the above there was a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Roy Saer for his many decades of work and scholarship with the traditional Songs of Wales and the special Folk Prize went to Huw Roberts for the best collection of three original tunes. Huw is a virtuoso on the iconic Welsh instruments of the Triple Harp, the Crwth and the Fiddle.

Glaring omissions, in my opinion, were lack of an award to Frank Hennessy and his band The Hennessey's. Frank's songs Farwell To The Rhondda, The Old Carmarthen Oak and The Gypsy were the precursor to many who followed and his BBC Radio Wales folk show, Celtic Heartbeat, has helped to promote both Welsh and English language traditional and contemporary music and song in Wales for many decades. The brilliant Welsh band, Ar Log, are also worthy of recognition for their own contribution to the history of Welsh music over the last 40 to 50 years and I trust that the powers that be will rectify these omissions in the 2020 awards.

On the live gig scene this week we have, this Friday (May 3), two very tasty gigs. On this side of the border, the Geordie fiddler and singer, Tom McConville is in duo with his friend Michael Higgins at Rhyl Folk Club, Tynewydd Community Centre, Coast Road (A458), Rhyl at 8pm with admission just £5 on the door, and, at St Mary's Creative Space, Chester, the latest Soundbox promotion brings another young and exciting duo to this popular city venue, They are Rosie Hodgson & Rowan Piggot, one of the new generation of acoustic singers and musicians fast making a name for themselves. Local singer, Owen Chamberlain, provides support and tickets, at £10, can be bought through the usual website. Another gig to add to the Friday list is a Noson Wern/Folk Evening with the veteran Welsh Band Yr Hwntws and Hen Fegan at The Stiwt, Rhos, Wrexham at 7.30pm. Tickets, at £10 (concessions £5), can be booked through the box office on 01978 841300.

Moving into next week, the busier than ever, John Finnan, at the young age of 80, takes his trio, Welcomme, Finnan and Chrimes, to the Dragon's Breath, Llanfynydd Folk Club, Treuddyn Village Hall near Mold on Tuesday (May7) at 8pm. Admission is payable on the door. On Thursday the Hungry Horse Acoustic, The Whitby Club, Chester Road, Ellesmere Port have a Big Spot with the duo Tennessee Waltz and as is usual on these nights, admission is Free.

We finish, as usual, with a quick look at next weekend and a couple of notes for your forward diary. On Friday (May 10) Soundbox present the Luke Jackson Trio at St. Mary's Space, Chester at 8pm and, on Saturday (May 11), Folk at the Hall, Trelawnyd, near Rhyl have the golden voiced Gracie Petrie at 7.30pm. Finally, The Raven Folk Club, the Bear & Billet, Lower Bridge Street, Chester have Steve Ashley as their guest on Sunday (May 12). Tickets for this one can be booked by phoning either Nick or Chris on 01244 677212/343788.

Plenty to keep you all in harmony so, whatever you do and wherever you go, enjoy your music.

By D.C.M.