Canals, that wonderful tangles web of Inland Waterways, that criss-cross Britain, loom large in the folk and roots landscape this week.

One of the biggest Boat and Folk Festivals of the year, the Middlewhich Folk and Boat (now abbreviated to FAB) Festival, takes place next weekend so, to enable you to book tickets and make arrangements, I will give you a good heads up on that one below.

First, however, some unfinished business from last week, courtesy of our wandering band of waterway minstrels, The Canal Boat Crew. Just to reprise, a band of singers and musicians calling themselves, The Canal Boat Crew, are travelling along our beautiful inland waterways in one of those brightly painted narrowboats. As they wind their way along the scenic route of the Llangollen Canal the Shropshire Union Canal, the Middlewhich Branch Canal, the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Chester Canal they have been stopping, each night, at a different hostelry to, no doubt, slake their thirst that will, inevitably, be brought on by all that hard work opening the paddle gear on the many locks on their musical journey. More importantly, from our point of view, they have invited us all to go along and play, join in or just listen to their FREE, and friendly, sessions of acoustic music. No doubt they will be including a few shanties (inland ones of course!) and canal songs in their repertoire and, maybe, you will be able to contribute a few of your own too.

The first week of their journey ends today (June 7) at The Barbridge Inn, Barbridge, near Nantwich, and Saturday (June 8) will find them moored up for the evening at The Cheshire Cheese, Middlewhich.

If you fancy going along and joining in with our waterway minstrels on their June 2019 Tour, their second, and final, week's itinerary is as follows: Friday (June 7) Barbridge Inn, Barbridge, near Nantwich; Saturday (June 8) The Cheshire Cheese, Middlewhich; Sunday (June 9) Stanley Arms, Anderton; Monday (June 10) Narrow Boat Inn, Middlewhich; Tuesday (June 11) Cheshire Cat, Christleton, Chester; Wednesday (June 12) Bunbury Arms, Stoak, near Ellesmere Port; Thursday (June 13) The Lock Keeper, Canalside, Frodsham Street, Chester; Friday (June 14) Barbridge Inn, Barbridge, near Nantwich

All sessions start at 8.30pm and, maybe, one day, you will be tempted to try your own musical waterway journey?

The conclusion of The Canal Boat Crew's June 2019 Tour brings us neatly to the festival I referred to at the top of the column, The Middlewhich FAB Festival. It runs from Thursday (June 13) through to Sunday (June 16) and, although the musical content has moved towards more mainstream pop music, there is still a strong acoustic Fringe Festival running alongside the main concert venues and, of course, the boating element of the weekend still makes this a unique one in the calendar.

Also, most of the events on the field and around the town, apart from the main stage concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, are free. The other striking feature is that this unique festival combines the best of a canal tradition stretching back over 200 years with the best of contemporary and roots music. The banks of the Trent & Mersey Canal through this ancient salt town are expected to be lined once again with a variety of colourful craft, from wooden narrowboats, symbols of the great days of the carrying trade, to cocky little cruisers elbowing in between their "big brothers" like the almost forgotten runts of the litter. To the sounds of the lapping waters add the equally fluid melodies of the multitude of musicians and singers descending upon the town and you will see why this is one of the most popular of all festivals. As well as attractions alongside the canal, the whole town becomes part of the festival, with street performers, a street parade, dance workshops, Morris dancing, artists from all over the world, a large marquee for concerts, as well as a variety of other venues around the town and in the pubs.

Headliners are Toploader Friday (June 14) with support from singer songwriter Emma Stevens and The Peacocks. On Saturday (June 15) chart toppers, Showaddywaddy, top the bill with Backwoods Creek, Wildfire Folk, Felicia Neilson (Sweden), Baskey (Sweden), Cinder Hill and Izzie Walsh in support and, on Sunday (June 16), Electric Swing Circus are the top name but, from our point of view, I would say that the main attractions will be folk rockers, Merry Hell, Chris Jagger's Acoustic Roots and local North Wales duo, Vicar's Son. The festival has a very comprehensive website, including ticket booking instructions, if you want to see any of the big names in concert.

There will be plenty to occupy everyone and if you fancy a walk along the towpath there will be those beautifully painted narrowboats, some selling food and drink and, of course, traditional painted canal ware. Go along and enjoy.

Now, back to this week and a summary of the live gigs you can enjoy. This Saturday (June 8) Stoke-based duo, Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer, are playing a pub gig at The White Lion, Wem, Shropshire from 9.30pm to 11.15pm while, over on the North Wales coast, at Rhyl Pavilion Theatre, there is a Celebration of the Music of Ireland in the show, One Night in Dublin, with award-winning Irish band, The Wild Murphys, performing many popular hits by Irish legends such as The Dubliners, The Saw Doctors, Steve Earle, Foster and Allen, Van Morrison, Daniel O'Donnell and The Fureys, among others. Phone the Box Office on 01745 330000 to book tickets.

Moving on to Monday (June 10) Wales Folk Award Winners, Trials of Cato, are the guests of Conwy Folk Club, Conwy Comrades Social Club, 8 Church Street, Conwy at 8pm while Anglo Irish resident band, The Celtic Notes, welcome Shaky Jake as the latest guests to their Mucky Duck Folk Club, Ewloe Social Club, Ewloe at 8pm. Both gigs are pay at the door.

On Thursday (June 13) the Bram Taylor Band will be at the Hungry Horse Acoustic Club, Whitby Club, Chester Road, Ellesmere Port at 8pm, while, on the same evening, Alexanders Live, Rufus Court, Off Northgate Street, Chester have a great night for fans of the great Canadian singer songwriter, Joni Mitchell. The tribute show, The Joni Mitchell Songbook, with Both Sides Now rolls into town on its UK tour. Tickets, at £15.40 each, can be bought through the usual websites.

Finally, back to next weekend (if that makes sense!) and a heads up about the latest Soundbox presentation at St Mary's Creative Space, St Mary's Hill, Chester on the Friday (June 14) at 7pm. One of the most creative musicians of her generation, Nancy Kerr, will be performing a solo gig at this popular Chester venue and tickets can be booked, as usual, through the Soundbox website.

Another breathless trawl through my gig diary and I hope there is something there to tickle your fancy. Until we meet again, whatever you do, and wherever you go, enjoy your music.

By D.C.M.