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How the Olde Boston Tea Party came about

It started with a band known as “Three Tuns o’ Grass”. This name derived from the name of a pub where the band first used to play called “The Three Tuns” and a feeling that, being a bluegrass band, they should have “grass” somewhere in the name. The band comprised three of the current members of the band: David Hatfield on double bass, Johnny Butten on banjo and Jeremy Cozens on mandolin.

Charlie Boston met up with the band in 2008 and was invited to join as a guitarist. The band played at many pubs in the West Country and twice at the Glastonbury Festival before it broke up. David, Jeremy and Charlie then reformed initially as a trio and, partly because they were playing music in an American style and partly because of Charlie’s surname,



it was suggested that they should call the new band “The New Boston Tea Party”. However, it then emerged that Sarah Palin, the ultra-right wing “hockey mom” governor of Alaska, had established a website with this name for her “Tea Party” political movement and we were therefore obliged to change the name. David suggested The Olde Boston Tea Party.


A year later we encountered fiddle player, Pete Orgill, whom we were delighted to welcome into the band. Pete’s brilliant fiddle playing lifted the band to a new height but the band was still not complete. We were fortunate to play for a while with Gus York, who is almost certainly the greatest pedal steel player in this country, but ultimately the fifth instrument we needed was a banjo.


At this time Johnny Butten was in America working as a session player. When Johnny returned, he was initially employed by Hayseed Dixie, which involved playing world tours to packed stadiums. He is now less inclined to embark on these world tours and is happy to play in the West Country as a member of the Olde Boston Tea Party. So, after various changes, the band that started life as Three Tuns of Grass lives on with three of its original members.



Who are The Olde Boston Tea Party?

(in alphabetical order)



I am the guitar player in the band and handle most of the lead vocals. I started playing gigs in the early 1970’s 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. A member of the PRS, my musical interests have always been in song writing and many of my songs are included in the repertoire of the band. I have played and recorded with some of the finest bluegrass musicians both here and in the States, including Rhonda Vincent, Wayne Benson, Alison Brown, Jim Hurst, Missy Raines, Charlie Cushman, Jimmy van Cleve, Ced Thorose, Chris Comac, Pete Stanley and of course the current members of this band. For those interested in social trivia, it may also be interesting to note that I am the grand-nephew of the conductor and founder of several orchestras, Sir Thomas Beecham Bt.

Charlie Boston

Jeremy is the mandolin player. 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 played with Three Tuns o’ Grass, having been an early member along with 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.

Jeremy Cozens

David is the 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 an a host of bluegrass legends including: Mac Wiseman, Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor, Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, Peter Rowan, Flaco Jimenez, Arlo Guthrie, Tex Logan, Greg Douglas, Gordon Titcomb, Rose Maddox, Don Stover, Bill Clifton, Orrin Star, Pete Sayers, Jim Couza, Ben Waters, Diz Watson, 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.

David Hatfield

Peter, from Plymouth, Devon, is the fiddle player in the band. He rose to prominence in the 1970’s 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 1990’s he was a member Medicine Bow, 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 loves playing Western swing and Cajun music.

Peter Orgill

Gus York is the pedal steel and dobro player. Gus began by playing guitar and banjo at the tender age of 12, playing mainly trad jazz and folk music. Then one day he spotted a strange instrument being played in a London Pub, which transpired to be a Pedal Steel Guitar and his life was changed! Instantly he thought “I must play one of these”.

That was around 40 years ago and pedal steel soon became his first instrument. This led him to play sessions, gigs and tours with many British and American artists covering a wide range of music, including country, blues rock, reggae and now, with the Olde Boston Tea Party, bluegrass. Although Gus breaks new ground by playing pedal steel in a bluegrass band, he also plays dobro, being the more traditional acoustic bluegrass instrument.

Gus York

Other artists associated with Lara Natural Music


Ced has been a mainstay of the British bluegrass scene for more than thirty years, during which time he has played and recorded with virtually every bluegrass player of importance in the UK. Apart from being the most respected resonator guitar player resident in the UK, he is also a fine maker of the instruments and is responsible for several new designs. This is one reason he prefers to describe the instrument as a “resonator guitar” rather than a “dobro”, which is, after all, the trade name of another manufacturer.

Ced is also a writer of a wide variety of instrumental compositions. These range from hard-hitting bluegrass breakdowns to the most delicate and lyrical compositions, many of these are featured on his two albums Diamond Back and Out on the Ridge (a joint project recorded in Nashville in 20111 with Charlie Boston).

Ced Thorose

Leanne was born in London to a musical family with both Irish and American roots. Her mother, Mary, comes from County Donegal and is a fine singer in the Celtic tradition. Her father, Ced Thorose, originates from Maryland, USA, but has lived in the UK most of his life where he has established a unique reputation as the leading maker and player of resophonic bluegrass guitars.

Leanne has played tours with the critically acclaimed Irish dance production ‘Essence of Ireland’ as their leading Fiddle player. In 2012 she went to Nashville to record her debut album, Bluestack Mountain Girl which comprised entirely original material, the music being written by Leanne and the words to the songs being written by Charlie Boston.

Leanne Thorose