FOLK legend Maddy Prior is playing at Exeter Corn Exchange at the end of this month.
The voice of Steeleye Span for 34 years, Maddy has earned her title as a folk star and dazzles on stage.
Over the years she has worked with an assortment of musical partners including Mike Oldfield, June Tabor, the Levellers, Martin Carthy, Jethro Tull and Status Quo. More recently she has toured in a trio with Giles Lewin and Hannah James and fronted Early Music ensemble the Carnival Band while continuing to perform on the festival and theatre circuit with Steeleye Span.
Since 2003, Maddy has also run and hosted an arts centre called Stones Barn in Cumbria offering residential courses that focus on singing, meditation, cookery and performance.
Here she tells us of her musical influences and tastes.
1. What was the first record/CD you bought?
The first record I remember at home was Hound Dog by Elvis, but my brother must have bought that. The first one I actually bought was Island of Dreams by The Springfields. I loved their harmonies and, of course, Dusty's voice…
2. Who was your first musical crush?
That would probably be Kathleen Ferrier. I heard her when I was very young and desperately wanted a record player so that I could listen to her while falling asleep. The only flaw in the plan was in those days you had to get up to turn off the player.
3.What's the best gig you've enjoyed?
Just recently I saw the Spooky Men's Chorale in Hexham. They have a brilliant way of treading the line between new men and macho humour. It was an absolutely delightful evening.
4. What is your guilty music pleasure/cheesiest CD?
One of my favourite CDs for walking or exercising to is Up by Shania Twain. It's unusual to get a whole album that is up tempo while still containing songs of real quality.
5. Who are you listening to now in the car or on your iPod?
I have been playing Karine Polwart's album Traces. She has been a tutor at Stones Barn where we run weekend courses. Her music responds to deeper listening. She chooses her subjects well, but then doesn't approach them from the obvious direction.
6. What is your favourite Karaoke song/song to sing in the shower?
I don't feel the need for Karaoke, I work with such great musicians… Steeleye, The Carnivals and Hannah and Giles.
Maddy is at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, on September 29 and the Corn Exchange, Exeter, on September 30, with Giles Lewin and Hannah James. She's with Steeleye Span in November at Barnstaple's Queen's Theatre, November 21, and Exmouth Pavilion, November 23. See venue websites or at: www.maddyprior.co.uk