Saddling up for Spring, last spotted in Somerset at the beautiful Tin Church as part of last year’s Frome Festival, national touring and internationally-awarded Buffalo Gals, who were formed in Frome, as the impromptu result of a benefit gig nearly 20 years ago, will be opening the outdoor theatre season on the Merlin theatre’s ECOS amphitheatre on May 14th.

An afternoon of old-time country and bluegrass joy, punctuated with funny-woman banter, the band is headed up by Frome-resident, American champion fiddler-player, songwriter, composer and aficionado of the ‘high lonesome’ voice singing style, Kate Lissauer. Indeed most of the band are based in the South West and several are well-recognised Frome residents.

Kate Lissauer moved here with her then-partner, and now-husband, banjo-playing John ‘Johnny’ Whelan 25 years ago. The couple immediately became fans of the Merlin and were delighted to be two of many musicians playing a casual, lively benefit gig in 2003. Nobody is more surprised than Kate and Johnny that, two decades later, a simple ‘Hey let’s make a string-band’ comment has produced a close-knit group of fun-loving performers who have taken both well-known and obscure tunes from the old-time tradition, as well as Kate’s own original compositions, around the UK Americana circuit and on tour to the USA itself, winning awards, repeat gig spots and making CD recording as they go.

Also in the line-up are Sara Marshall-Rose, Sue ‘Sooz’ Clare, Jolene Missing, Pete Dunn and Hippy-Joe Hymas.

Bring picnic blankets and a jacket. The music kicks off at 2pm on Sunday 14th May.

Tickets via