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The Olde Boston Tea Party

In 2010 a band known as “Three Tuns o’ Grass” played a gig for the second year running at the Glastonbury Festival and was then dissolved. Three members, however, carried on under a new name, that being The Olde Boston Tea Party. Those members were David Hatfield (double bass), Jeremy Cozens (mandolin) and Charlie Boston (guitar).

It was not long before they met up with two of the countries finest bluegrass and country fiddle players: Pete Orgill and John Boston. Both fiddle players have since gigged extensively with the Olde Boston Tea Party, which is now a well established quartet.

Coincidentally Charlie Boston and John Boston are not knowingly related. Even more coincidentally, the name “Olde Boston Tea Party”, which was chosen by David Hatfield, was not based on either band member’s surname, but on the style of music we play. That style is predominantly bluegrass.

Bluegrass music is essentially traditional Celtic music that has been adopted by American folk musicians, who have given it its own voice. It derives from a band formed in the 1930s in the State of Kentucky.

So what, you might ask, has that got to do with Boston, which is more than 900 miles away in the state of Massachusetts? The truth it is ironical. While the folk musicians that brought Celtic music to the States were busy building bridges, in 1773, in the harbour of the city of Boston, they were busy blowing it apart.

But, as is so often the case, a war-torn country that experiences more tragedies than triumphs inevitably produces heartfelt folk music. Almost 100 years later, America was again at war, but this time in a bitter civil war, the legacy of which was some of the most enduring folk music that has ever been written.

Much of traditional bluegrass music draws on those two American wars fought on American soil, but the music from the old continent remains in its DNA.

Bluegrass music is unavoidably associated with that 1930s band, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. The line-up of Monroe’s band was similar to the Hot Club of France, formed by Django Reinhardt at around the same time. The style of music that each band played was very different, with Django playing his own version of gypsy jazz and Monroe playing his own version of folk music. But in terms of the instrumentation, there were many similarities.

Both bands were essentially an acoustic string band. Neither band had brass or wind instruments. Neither band had drums or percussion. Both bands had a double bass player, a fiddle player and three other instruments. Django’s other instruments were all guitars, whereas Monroe had one guitar, one mandolin and one banjo.

We are sometimes joined by a banjo player, but in a similar vein to the Tony Rice Unit, we usually play as a quartet without banjo.

We play gigs mainly in Dorset and Somerset where all the band members live. The venues vary from local pubs to formal venues such as Cedars Hall in Wells and, of course, festivals. We are also regularly asked to play at wedding parties and other private events

We have published two CDs under the Lara Natural Music label, “Back Across the Water” and “Stringing it Together”. Charlie Boston has also recorded a further six CDs of his own songs both in London and in Nashville.

For all bookings please contact either :

David Hatfield
07970 711368

Charlie Boston
07740 950067

We are on Facebook and our gig schedule is listed in the blog section of this website.

Who are The Olde Boston Tea Party?
(in alphabetical order)

Charlie is the guitar player and handles most of the lead vocals. He started playing gigs in the early 1970s and performed with the Medicine Ball Theatre Company at the Edinburgh Festival in 1977 and 1978 and at the Glastonbury Festival with the Olde Boston Tea Party in 2010 and 2011. In 1999 he created the record label Lara Natural Music and has since recorded nine CDs, mostly of his own songs. In Nashville he has recorded with some of the most respected bluegrass artists including Bryan Sutton, Rhonda Vincent, Wayne Benson, Alison Brown, Jim Hurst, Missy Raines, Aubrey Haynie, Adam Steffey, Scott Vestal and Jimmy van Cleve. In England he has recorded with Ced Thorose, Chris Comac, Pete Stanley, Nick Pynn, Tim “Trundle” Purkess and of course members of this band. A member of the PRS, his musical interests have always been in song writing and two singles released from his albums have won UK Country Radio Awards.

John (not knowingly related to Charlie Boston) plays fiddle, but has dabbled with all the Bluegrass instruments. He started in the 1970s playing banjo, mandolin and fiddle with Chris Moreton’s band. John has played a lot of corporate and square dance events with Del Robinson and the Rocky Island Boys. He has also played with Monroe’s Revenge, String Fever, Mendip String Band, the Kittyhawks and the Morris Boys, (with whom he played at the Rosine and Madison bluegrass festivals in the USA.) He has taught fiddle at Sore Fingers Summer School and played in the Leon Hunt N-Tet. John occasionally fronts his own band The Boston Boys, but plays mostly with the Olde Boston Tea Party, where he has introduced a large array of bluegrass fiddle tunes to the repertoire as well as providing guidance as to how such tunes are best arranged.

Jeremy is the mandolin player and provides vocal harmonies. Jeremy discovered bluegrass in the early 1970s when visiting the Cambridge Folk Festival and was inspired both by the instruments and vocal harmonies. With a natural tenor voice Jeremy was soon in demand playing a wide range of stringed instruments with various folk and bluegrass bands before settling on the mandolin in the 1990s. He has played with a wide range of bands including bluegrass legend Peter Rowan, The Dorset Folk Orchestra, The Shoestring Band, No Mean Feet, Jiggery Polkery and The Reel Thing. Before joining The Olde Boston Tea Party, Jeremy was one of the original members of a bluegrass band known as Three Tuns o’ Grass which featured David Hatfield and banjo player, Johnny Butten. Jeremy is also a private pilot, which enabled him a few years ago to make the only air arrival at the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival held on Kemble Airfield.

David is the double bass player and acts as the band leader. One of the UK’s most respected bass players, David began playing bluegrass in 1967 with the Morris Boys and became the resident double bassist on several BBC Radio Shows and the Cambridge Folk Festival from 1977 to 1995. He has since played and toured with a host of musicians including: Arlo Guthrie, Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor, Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, Peter Rowan, Flaco Jimenez, Gene Parsons (The Byrds), Mac Wiseman, Tex Logan, Greg Douglass, Juggernaut String Band, Dave Van Ronk, Gordon Titcomb, Rose Maddox, Don Stover, Bill Clifton, Orrin Star, Pete Sayers, Jim Couza, Ben Waters, Diz Watson, Chris Jagger, Pete Stanley, Ced Thorose, Roger Knowles, Malcolm Price, Brian Golbey and the Kursaal Flyers. In 1979 he set up Waterfront Music, releasing several bluegrass LP’s as well as playing sessions for Flying Fish Records and Transatlantic Records. He has also played on numerous television and radio shows.

Peter, from Plymouth, Devon, also plays fiddle in the band. He rose to prominence in the 1970s as a founder member of Asgard, a band championed by the Moody Blues, which recorded on the prestigious Threshold label, earning critical acclaim from the likes of John Peel. A few years later Peter joined The Pheasant Pluckers, his first dedicated bluegrass band, which went on to win ITV’s Pub Entertainer of the Year Award. In the 1990s he was a member of Medicine Bow, which was nominated Britain’s top country band. He went on to tour Britain, Europe and America, backing some of the best American artists of the day. Before joining The Olde Boston Tea Party, Peter’s most recent bands were The Morris Boys and Out to Grass. In addition to fiddle, Peter plays guitar, mandolin, saxophone and viola. He also loves playing Western swing and Cajun music.