Where to start?

It’s been a while since we blogged.

Things have been manic at Bootlegger HQ over the last few month.

So what’s going on?


So, earlier in the year we said we were aiming to get our album out by the end of the year.

That date is going to be pushed back to Spring/Summer 2019.

We have around 8 songs now written, and more tracks are in progress, so material isn’t the issue.

It just finding the time—and the funds—for studio time.

We are booked into the studio to record a special song written by Nathan about the horrors of war, in particular, the Battle of The Somme. This track will see Nathan on lead vocals for a change as well as playing guitar!

Once that song is recorded we aim to get in the studio once a month and start working on the album.

We’ll will likely drop a single or two along the way.

If anybody wants to sponsor the album and help fund it sooner, then get in touch and we can talk! Hint hint! Haha.

But seriously. Get in touch.


Our debut single “Here For You (Always)” dropped in April and whilst we aren’t breaking records and hitting the charts, the numbers have far exceeded our expectations. We’re just two lads who take nothing for granted and feel like we’re blagging it every single day so, to have so many of you download and stream our first single (and still doing so) in the first three months, means a lot to us both. Thank you!


The beer is selling really well with venues around Yorkshire and Teesside kindly stocking it on the bar. The great news is that the awesome guys at Hambleton Ales Brewery have decided to let us have a bottled beer too!

Bootlegger IPA (5%) should be available in the next month or so and we have big plans (and high hopes) for this one!

Those of you who are vegan will be happy to know that it’ll be vegan friendly too!


We’ve been on BBC Radio York and Minster FM since we last blogged too.

BBC Radio saw us perform our own track “Here For You (Always)” and chat about our plans on the Adam and Anna show.

Minster FM saw us perform Amy McDonald’s “This is The Life” on the Ben and Roxy Breakfast Show… Minus Roxy who was recovering from her nasty car crash. It was an honour to play on the show as Ben explained the whole section of the show was created after Roxy saw us play at the Little3 in Thirsk and really wanted us on the show!

We can’t wait to get back on both stations again in the near future… Once Roxy has finished in the Big Brother house.


It has been very busy for us over the last few month and we can’t thank all the venues and private customers enough! We love getting out there, meeting you all and providing the soundtrack to your good times.

We have decided to take the August bank holiday weekend off.

The first time in 4 years.

We apologise to the venues and event organisers that have tried to book us but, we need some time to rest and spend with our families.

I’m sure you’ll forgive us.

We are performing a charity gig at The Frankland Arms in Thirsk tomorrow (18th Aug) and then we are back in September for the start of a very busy 4 months as we run-up to Christmas…. where does the time go!?

Be sure to check the Facebook Page @TheBootleggersUK for all our upcoming gigs.


We have decided to start uploading regular content to our YouTube channel and work on a weekly(ish) music video so please head to the channel and subscribe.

We’re pretty new to the video recording/vlogging scene so bear with us please… The content will get better as we go.

Any requests or suggestions, get in touch!


That’s all for now.

As ever, thank you so much for your continued support. It really does mean so much to us both.

Please keep an eye on all our social media accounts for updates. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Big love,

The Bootleggers





It’s been a little while since we last update The Bootleggers Blog.

With things being so busy for The Bootleggers right now there isn’t always time to write about each and every gig and so it’s been decided here at Bootlegger HQ to just put out new blog content as and when there is something exciting, different, special, important… to talk about.

Like this for example…



We can’t explain just how excited we are at Bootlegger HQ about this awesome new venture.

You might remember us telling you about how Hambleton Ales Brewery approached The Bootleggers in January and offered the chance to work with them and brew a beer. We might have mentioned it just once or twice on our Facebook page and we blogged about it here too

Well, on Sunday the lads were up bright and early (and in Dave’s case, hungover) to start a full shift at Hambleton Ales Brewery in Melmerby at 6am. Despite being a bit rough from Saturday’s beer and music filled session The Bootleggers were like kids at Christmas as they stepped over the threshold of the place where [beer] magic happens!



After a quick coffee and a tour of the brewery from Ben, the Brewery and Production Manager, it was straight down to business emptying the sacks of malted grains into the large grain mill.

This was then transported over to the Mash Tun where the grain would be mixed with hot water and left for an hour or so breaking down the starches in the malt into sugars and producing the sweet malty liquid which would later become beer.


If the lifting and pouring of sacks of grain didn’t work off Dave’s hangover then the next part certainly did!

It was time for Dave to get his cleaning kit on. On went the wellies, apron, visor and rubber gloves and into the beer tank he climbed to get it cleaned out and ready to hold Bootleggers Beer.

This was one of three cleaning jobs the lads would have to do during the process and it’s still being debated who got the short straw!… You will have to decide as you keep reading.

So next up it was time to transfer the sweet liquid from the Mash Tun and into a giant kettle leaving the grain husks behind in the Tun. The liquid would sit in the kettle for a few hours at a steady temperature bringing it to a steady boil before the hops were added.

Nath and Dave set about weighing out their hops… and pointing out how they looked suspiciously like something else… We can assure you it is definitely hops!

Bootlegger Beer is being brewed with Citra, Chinook and Mosaic hops which will give it a lovely crisp, hoppy, almost craft like flavor. Each were added to the mix at different stages and left to boil with the liquid for different lengths of time to allow for a distinctive taste.

With all this waiting time in between there was no time for relaxing!

Nathan had cleaning job number two to crack on with… he had to climb inside the Mash Tun almost knee high in hot grain husks and dig it all out into a bin. If the lads thought brewing beer was all glamour and rock ‘n’ roll they couldn’t have been more wrong.


But, not afraid to pull their weight and help the guys at Hambleton Ales out, they got on with the job and then moved on to cleaning the kegs and inserting fresh keystones.

Being a former pub landlord Dave often wondered how they got these things cleaned out and ready to use again so found this quite enjoyable… Or maybe it was just because he got to press a button on a machine. Who knows?


So with the hops soaking and the beer brewing away in the kettle it was time for a spot of breakfast. Now you can’t go to a brewery and not drink beer!

Even at ten in the morning!

Even with a hangover!

Breakfast pints turned out to be exactly what were needed after a spot of hungover graft and provided The Bootleggers fuel for more bootlegging!


With all three hops now in the mix it was time to cool the liquid and transfer it to the Fermentation Tank (which Dave had cleaned out earlier in the day) where the lads added the yeast making the liquid officially BEER!

The beer will sit in the tank for the week where the yeast will eat up all the sugar and produce the alcohol. During this process the gurus at Hambelton Ales will take care of the remaining processes, tests and kegging and get the beer ready to hit the pubs!

With the lads’ involvement in the brewing process now over all that was left to do was the third and final cleaning job… Digging out all the hot, wet hops from the bottom of the kettle, filling up sacks and lifting them out to Nathan who was watching (and laughing) from above!

After around 30 minutes a hot and sweaty Dave emerged up the ladder and out of the kettle.

Job done.


The Bootleggers now have their own beer sitting in a brewery waiting to be kegged and Dave and Nathan are now waiting like two excited kids counting down the number of sleeps till Christmas as they eagerly await the taste test!

There are talks underway to produce a bottled beer so you can get your hands on Bootlegger Beer from Bootlegger HQ and fill your fridges at home but for now the beer is a Cask Ale and available at all good pubs!

If you are a venue and want to stock Bootlegger Beer then get in touch and we will explain how you can get your hands on it!

Until next time…

Cheers… and always remember to drink responsibly!

The Bootleggers


Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about us using the name The Sneaky Blinders to release our own music?

Well all that has changed.

I had a long hard think.

Then me and Nath had a long hard chat.

And the gist of it is… We’re The Bootleggers, not The Sneaky Blinders.

You guys have loved and supported The Bootleggers along the way. Not The Sneaky Blinders.

Our success has been as The Bootleggers.

Our beer is named after The Bootleggers.

So bollocks to The Sneaky Blinders. We are staying as we are. The Bootleggers.

Those of you with eagle eyes might have spotted that our Facebook and Instagram pages have had a slight name change. We are now The Bootleggers UK instead of The Bootleggers Thirsk.

Moving forward, our music will be released independently under this name starting this April with our very first single…


Here For You (Always) was written by me last year as a song for my daughters. I played it for Nathan (badly on my guitar) and he liked it, which was good because I wanted him to play the guitar on it! To my delight and eternal gratitude Nathan suggested we use it to launch our own music.

So, with a bit of musical rearrangement from Nath, a harmonica solo from me and some harmonious harmonies thrown in on top we took the song to the studio.

Here Mr John P Taylor the Wizard-like (in skills not appearance) Producer & Owner of Mirage Studios (the same studio used back int’ day by James Arthur) worked his magic and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

It’s a great sounding, British, rootsy (yes that’s a word), from-the-heart song that anybody with kids will relate to I am certain.


We aim to release the single mid-April once all the boring behind the scenes stuff is sorted out and we might just give you a sneak peak (or listen to be precise) very soon so keep your eyes on our Facebook & Instagram pages as well as our Twitter account so that you don’t miss out!

As always, thank you all for your continued support both at gigs and online.

I know everybody says this and I am sure most mean it but it genuinely does mean everything to myself and Nath. If it wasn’t for you guys and the venues that support live music then we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

I’m off for a little R&R next week so below is where you can catch us next and for the whole of April across Yorkshire and the North East. Till then, keep your eyes peeled on social media.

Here for you always (do you see what I did there?)

The Bootleggers



Log yourself onto the Hambleton Ales website and it begins;

“Hambleton Ales was born in 1991, when Nick Stafford decided to start a brewery at the bottom of his in-laws garden. Armed with nothing more than a pair of wellies, some old steel tanks and rusty Peugeot 205, Nick built his brewery with blood, sweat & tears. Why did he do this? Simply because he wanted to make great beer”

That’s the kind of entrepreneurial success story I love! A bloke armed with nothing more than a passion for great beer and a great idea ends up with one of the greatest breweries in Yorkshire…if not the UK.

Achieving an output of 800 gallons a week within it’s first 6 months and producing an award winning beer within it’s first year Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales Brewery have now won multiple awards over their 26 years of providing us with outstanding ales. They are masters of innovation producing gluten free and vegan friendly beers and regularly export their fine ales to Europe and the USA!


So imagine our shock and excitement when in January of this year we received a message on our Facebook page from the lovely Kate who works for Hambleton Ales asking us if The Bootleggers would be interested in working with them to produce our own beer!

Now those who know us well and those who only know us a little will know for a fact that if there’s one thing that excites us almost as much as great music, it’s great beer! In fact, if it wasn’t for beer then “The Bootleggers, Thirsk” would not exist.

It was beer that introduced us to each-other and music that formed the bond of friendship. Most of (if not all) of our plans have been made sat in the pub over several pints and often scribbled on the back of a beer mat. We even once accepted payment for a gig in the form of a case of Hambleton Ale’s “Stallion” which happens to be one of my all time favourite session beers.

We could not believe our luck! It took us all of 0.3 seconds (if that) to respond and say “YES PLEASE” and we have been so excited to tell you all about it ever since!

We made the announcement live on YO1 Radio on Thursday morning hosted by our friends and long time supporters Chris & Jayne where we also performed our upcoming debut single “Here For You (Always)” and one of our classic covers from Amy McDonald. You can hear the broadcast here.

Since then we’ve been inundated with interest and questions from friends and followers.

“How did that happen?”

“When can we buy it?”

“Where can we buy it?”

“What’s it going to be called”

Well all we can say at this stage is that Hambleton Ales’ great design team are working on the imagery and once that is complete we will be popping along to the brewery to have a chat, go over the details, agree on the particulars and get a look around and involved in the brewing process! As I type those words I still can’t believe how lucky we are and how grateful we both are to Hambleton Ales.

So watch this space and I will bring you more booze news as it lands!



I want to get serious for just a few minutes if that’s alright…

Whilst there are no 100% accurate figures when it comes to the number of homeless people in the UK due to the fact that each nation measures “homelessness” differently and most homeless people don’t show up on national stats it is estimated that 1 in every 200 people in the UK are homeless!

Homelessness is devastating and life threatening with a homeless person being 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence and the average homeless person dying at just 47 years old!

Windsor Council caused outrage in December when they shamelessly insisted that all homeless people in their constituency be removed from sight before the Royal Wedding on May 19th!

As a result Musicians Against Homelessness are encouraging musicians around the UK to hold gigs of any size possible on the day of the Royal Wedding and to help raise awareness of the issue AND money for CRISIS, an amazing charity that work side by side with homeless people to help them rebuild their lives.

For that reason The Bootleggers together with the great people of Bedale’s Riverside Club will be trying to raise a few quid towards this amazing cause at our gig on May 19th. Full details are yet to be ironed out but we would be very grateful if as many of you as possible could come and join us for a great night of live music (as standard) and to help an excellent cause.

Cheers Guys

MaH NIght (1)



We are only 3 weeks into 2018 and already there are some REALLY exciting things in the pipeline. Some things we can’t divulge yet due to contractual obligations but we are chomping at the bit to tell you about but believe me, it will be worth the wait!

One thing we can tell you about is our plan to record.

If you follow us on Facebook then you may have heard the live rehearsal recording of our upcoming first single Here For You (Always). If not then you can have a listen right here

I wrote the song last year for my girls and after posting this video to my own YouTube channel Nathan said he really liked it and he thinks we should take look at working on it as The Bootleggers. That meant a hell of a lot to me and I was keen to get Nathan to play the guitar on the track rather than my own fumbling strumming ability and knew with the addition of his vocals the song would become much more.

The recording above was the result of a couple of hours practice at Bootlegger HQ with Nathan arranging the song a little, adding his awesome guitar skills and harmonious backing vocals and then I threw in a little harmonica too. We really like the result and so have booked into the studio in February to record it properly and aim to release it in March/April as our debut single.

Here lies the issue…

The band name “The Bootleggers” is not original. There’s a Party Band in Sheffield, an Irish Folk band in Ireland and a well established, already recording band in the US all using the Bootlegger name. The latter is the main issue as if we release music under the same name things get very confusing and tricky on iTunes, Google Play etc.

So we got our heads together and have decided that moving forward, our recording name will be The Sneaky Blinders.


We have registered and secured the name on the International Band Name Registry which is pretty cool and have set up our Facebook page here if you would be kind enough to give it a LIKE.

The plan is to continue to gig as The Bootleggers, Thirsk but for purpose of recording and releasing music we will use The Sneaky Blinders. Eventually it will all come under a wider umbrella of another project we have in the planning stages but that is another story altogether and one for another day!

So please continue to follow and support us and also head across to The Sneaky Blinders page and like & follow us there too.


The Bootleggers

2017 Was a crazy year for us with so many firsts and amazing gigs taking place so picking our top 3 was no easy task! We drank more beer though and it seemed to help with the decision making and so here are our top 3 gigs of 2017…



If you know us well then you know that The Bootleggers came together at The Frankland Arms in Thirsk. I was the Landlord of the pub and my family had the place for 13 years and Nathan was practically part of the fixtures and fittings.

I used to host regular karaoke nights at the pub and quite often it would result in myself and Nathan trying to get one up on each other. I would sing a song, Nathan would get up and belt one out. I would get up and try and out-do him and Nathan would follow… And so it went on. Don’t get me wrong, it was all friendly and fun but there was definitely a competitive bond forming.

One night Nathan happened to have his guitar in the pub and karaoke turned into “Guitaraoke” (we have copyright on that term!) with Nath strumming along and displaying his freakishly awesome talent of being able to just tune in and play any song that the customers chose to sing. It was at the end of this night we both sat and had a beer (or several) followed no doubt by a boat load of Sailor Jerry rum and we decided to team up.

Originally settling on the (very bad) name “The Frankland Dogs” we set about writing down a short set list and agreeing to meet up and practice. The name was tested out on a few close friends and met with frowns and so thankfully, after days of random band name generators online and bits of paper in a hat, Nathan said “What do you think of The Bootleggers? It has links to booze and to music…?”…. The rest they say is history.

The Frankland became our HQ. All our early rehearsals took place there during the hours the pub was closed and we road tested a few tracks at the Open Mic Nights I started to host. Things went well, people seemed to like us and so our very first full gig was booked in at The Frankland Arms, Thirsk on Friday 13th November 2015!

Fast forward to May 2017 and I had decided to give up the pub and the doors opened for one last time as The Bootleggers performed their final gig at The Frankland. My Parents were over from Turkey which was really nice and I wrote a song called “The Happy Times” which we performed on the night. It was a bittersweet experience filled with emotions, memories, tears and beers!

The Frankland Arms has a very special place in our hearts and our history and that is why our final gig has made it into the top 3 of 2017…

Well, I say our final gig… The new Landlord, Neil, has recently been in touch and we will be playing back there in June this year! I must admit, it will be nice to play, pack up and leave the drunks, empty glasses and cleaning for somebody else to deal with!



2017 saw us performing at our first wedding for our good friends Myles & Ginna. The stunning Aldwark Manor played host to a fantastic wedding party which had me (and Katie) proudly acting as witness to the marriage for the happy couple and running back and forth between my meal and setting up the gear for the night doo as Nathan was working. It was a sweaty, tiring doo getting ready as the venue had no easy access from the car park and saw us hauling our gear through the health spa… but once the music started it was business as usual!

The fantastic evening was made all the more special when we were joined by the happy couple’s rockstar daughter, Jodie, who asked if she could sing the first verse of her favourite song “Sweet Child of Mine” with us. She insisted “I am only singing the first verse and then I am out of there!”.

As the first verse came to the chorus she continued to sing. As the first chorus came to and end I asked Jodie if she was done… “NO I WANNA KEEP SINGING!” she said as she pulled the mic away from me! I think she discovered her inner rockstar AND her inner diva at the same time!… Some would say (not me, cause I am not that brave) that she is just like her mother!

What a performance she give as her friends and family gathered around. If Myles and Ginna were the stars of the day then Jodie was the true star of the night!

Our first wedding was a thoroughly enjoyable success and we want to say a huge thanks to The Strudwick for inviting us along to be a part of their very special day.





We have not had a more humbling gig than this one. To be asked to perform on stage in Thirsk Market Place in front of several hundred people for such a great charitable cause was amazing.

Hundreds of bikers from Squires Cafe Bar in Sherburn in Elmet, many dressed as Father Christmas, rode on bikes adorned with Christmas decorations to Thirsk to deliver sacks full of toys for two amazing local charities, Thirsk Clock and Thirsk Community Care.


The image above doesn’t even show a quarter of the bikers that turned up. The Market Place was rammed with locals and bikers and the atmosphere was as festive as it gets. It was an amazing day and fantastic end to Thirsk Christmas Fair. It was made even more special for us as it came just 2 days after we switched on the Xmas lights and performed with our former band The Baffled Kings. A really special weekend for us.

We want to say a very special thank you to Calverts for making it all possible and sponsoring the entire thing.




So there are our top 3 gigs of 2017! We truly appreciate and enjoy every single gig we get and can not thank all the people and live music venues that continue to support us and live music in general enough! Without you guys we would not be able to do what we love so much!

There are some amazing things coming this year for The Bootleggers, Thirsk and we invite you all along on the journey!

Thanks guys.

Dave & Nathan

The Bootleggers, Thirsk.


So Christmas has been and gone and we have tumbled out of another year. And what a year it has been for us! I will be looking back on 2017 in the next blog with both Nathan and I picking our top 3 most memorable gigs each! It won’t be easy to pick but it will be nice to look back on all the fun we have had.

December 2017… What a crazy month that was! We crammed in 8 gigs in 3 weeks and it all seems like a blur now! So here we go…



Yorkshire Heart 3

Bootlegging in a brewery! It was a dream come true!

Yorkshire Heart in Nun Monkton, York produce some excellent beers and wines and have a cool little on-site bar that serves decent grub and has recently began hosting live music nights. We were excited to be invited along and even more excited to be invited back to play at their Beer Festival in May!

We also met the very talented photographer Phil Barker who was on hand to shoot some publicity shots for the venue and kindly offered to take some shots of us too! You can find Phil’s website here and the image above the ones below are all taken by him too.



Riverside 2

We played this venue for the first time in July (Blog below) and we had a great night and so we were glad to be back to give the guys in Bedale another good night of music and banter. A great little club with a great crowd and means we get to stop at McDonalds on the way home so what’s not to like!?

We’re back on May 19th!


The Royal

A local one for us and the first time we have ever played at The Royal.

This pub has had a dubious history with many landlords coming in and not lasting very long. Then Carl came along about 18months ago and has turned the pub completely around! A much friendlier pub now and it’s great to have another landlord in Thirsk that supports local live music.

We had a great first gig and were invited back to play on Boxing Day too which again was packed out and lively. We’re looking forward to playing back here in 2018!


Little3 (1)

Another local one and another great live music supporting venue!

We never fail to have a great night at Little 3 and love how the crowd and the staff always join in the songs and the piss-taking too. I think it is safe to say that Little 3 has taken the title of Thirsk’s Premier Live Music Venue now with live music every Thursday and increasingly on Saturdays too!

You can catch us here again on Saturday 24th February


Our 4th trip to Stockton and our 3rd time at Ivy House where we are building a nice little following and have had the privilege of meeting some great people.

This time Stockton was looking exceptionally good and not at all like the Stockton I remember from growing up! This is the greeting we got as we pulled up to Ivy House!

IvyHouse Stockton

Another great night and it was really nice to hear the feedback and requests for us to play at other venues too!

Stockton, we will see you again on 9th Feb with some new songs too!


This one came to us thanks to the awesome band We Are Replicants who we had the pleasure of playing with and then drinking with at The Music Lounge in Stockton in early 2017. These guys have some serious talent.

We Are Replicants were originally booked to play this gig for Chester le Street Golf Club’s Christmas party but had to pull out and so recommended us. It was a bit of a road trip but it was a great gig.

Having to lug the sound equipment up flights of stairs was unexpected and a bit of a work out but was made all better by being given our own “Green Room” with free bar, food and Sky TV to relax in during the raffle etc halfway through the night!

Chester 2

A wrong turn by Nathan on the way out resulted in us stuck in chaotic traffic outside Lumley Castle where another Xmas party must have been taking place but it was worth the delay for the view of the Castle lit up at night. A nice end to a nice little gig.



This is one of my favourite place to play! Never a dull night at The Quays and the guys are absolutely spot on!

It is thanks to The Quays or more accurately the former Door Supervisor, Bev, that we now have Rag’n’Bone Man in our set list. Basically, the first time we played there Bev told us that if we didn’t learn it then she would knock us out… That kinda worked!

Bev joined us for this gig, our last before Christmas and requested some other songs. This time without the threats but with hugs. Sadly her request was for Wham and “Last Christmas” so even if she had threatened to knock us out again I would have taken the crack to avoid singing the song!

Bev’s told us that her son is one of the stars of Geordie Shore and that she would get him to share our Facebook page… Well if you’re reading Bev, we’re still waiting and there’ll be no more Rag’n’Bone Man till it happens! LOL.

We are not back at The Quays till August as it stands right now but I am sure we will see you all again before then… I’m hoping anyway!


New Songs

So we made it to 2018!

We have decided to take January off so we can focus on learning new material for our set and plan out the year. We have some pretty awesome things lined up this year including The Bootleggers debut album containing songs from our set plus some original material me an Nathan have been working on too!

We also have another project brewing under the band name “The Sneaky Blinders” (now officially registered to us) which will see us recording and collaborating with others! So we are pretty excited about that.


2018 is looking set to be a fun, interesting and busy year and we have already hit the ground running with 5 new songs currently being learned and more to follow for our first gig of the year on January 27th at The Black Swan in Ripon!

We want to both say a HUGE thank you to everybody who has supported us over the last couple of years, a big thank you and welcome to those who have just joined us on our journey and we hope to see you all at some point over the next 12 months!

Happy New Year

Dave & Nathan

Be Right Back (1)


Dave & Nathan will be reflecting back on 2017 and both choosing their top 3 gigs of the year.






Welcome back.

It’s been another busy month for The Bootleggers as we fast approach the end of another successful year! So let’s look at November…..


This was a strange occurrence because we happened to play at Little 3 the exact same time last year too! This was a very special night as The Bootleggers celebrated their 2nd Birthday!

Two years Bootlegging has absolutely flown and we’ve loved every single second of it. We had all our friends with us for the celebrations including my old man who had flown over from Turkey for the week to see us and things must have gotten so messy that no pictures were taken! I can’t find a single one!

We can’t wait to see what year 3 brings us and have some big plans and ideas lined up so watch this space… Maybe we’ll celebrate Birthday No3 at Little 3 too!



We not only celebrated The Bootleggers birthday but also celebrated A Bootleggers birthday too! Nathan turned another year older and so a sneaky little get together was arranged by his better half and honorary Bootlegger, Zoe. Many will have met Zoe at our gigs.

We all got together at The Kings Arms, Sandhutton (where we play December 21st) for a fantastic meal and drinks. My better half, Katie and our friends Miki & Aaron joined us too. The food was great and the night was topped off in amazing fashion when this cake was brought out!


How amazing is THAT! Made by Zoe’s niece in Nottingham this cake is an exact replica of Nathan’s very first electric guitar! The parts moved and everything! As you can tell by Nathan’s face, he was more than happy with his surprise.




We always love boarding The Ship Inn in Guisborough. It’s always a great friendly crew that join in and have a bit of banter which is exactly the kind of crowd we like! It’s always a bit of a mission here to see how many times we can make the dreaded council installed sound monitor turn red! It happens quite often and always gives us a sinking feeling when it glows bright red but there was no harm done and we sailed through the gig as normal.

This was our final 2017 gig for The Ship but we hope to cast off with them again in 2018! Enough of the boat related jokes? I think knot!

Zoe even managed to catch me dancing on camera! Honest, I am dancing, not farting! I’m sure there could be joke aboud wind in the sails there but I’ll stop.




A new venue for us and just 10 minutes up the road. The Fleece has a great reputation as a music venue with many up and coming bands such as The Sherlocks having played there. The last time I stepped foot in The Fleece was about 13 years ago when I joined a group of Ghost Hunters including some of the Most Haunted cast to do an overnight investigation in the pub! There were a few spooky goings on that night! It has changed a lot compared to what I remembered but it’s a cracking old pub!

It’s always tricky when you play a new venue in a new town as people don’t know you yet and so the turn out often starts out low. Never the less it was a fun gig with a reasonable turn-out of people who all had a great time, joined in, had a dance and seemingly enjoyed the gig.

We hope to be back in 2018 for more fun in The Fleece




This gig was possibly one of the most enjoyable yet for me. Not just because there were literally HUNDREDS of people watching. Not just because there was HUNDREDS of amazing motorbikes around Thirsk Market Square. But because we were honoured to have been invited to perform on stage in front of our home town for such an amazing charity event!


This was the 2nd time that weekend that Nathan and I had performed on stage, in our town, to a huge crowd having also been involved in the Xmas light switch on with our other band The Baffled Kings for my last ever gig with them.

That was fun but THIS was amazing and very, very humbling.

Hundreds of bikers rode from Squires Bikers Cafe in Sherburn in Elmet to Thirsk with sacks and sacks full of toys for children involved in two local charities. Most of the bikers dressed as Santa and their bikes were decorated in an amazing fashion. It really did have to be seen to be believed.


The picture above doesn’t even show a quarter of the crowd!

For The Bootleggers to be invited along to be involved in this event and for us to be able to give something back to our town genuinely meant everything to us and we hope to work with all the guys involved in making it happen again sometime.




The 28th November saw us attending a great event organised by our friends at YO1 Radio.

This was the first of hopefully many Curryoke Nights held at Jaipur Spice in Haxby, York.

We decided that given how hard we are working over December that we would make this night our Christmas doo and take along Zoe & Katie and let our hair down (so to speak) for the night.

Having first turned up at the wrong restaurant (I drove us to Easingwald instead of Haxby) we arrived and were greeted by the lovely Jayne Clark and the awesome Chris Marsden from YO1 and then shown to our seats amongst other presenters and friends of the station.

YO1 are HUGE supporters of local live music and had been with us the previous weekend covering the Xmas light switch on and the Squires event too so it was a nice way to let off some steam and celebrate the success with them after a busy weekend.

The food was great! For just £15 a each I couldn’t believe the amount we got. It certainly filled a fat lad like me! I was massively impressed. As we ate there was a music quiz (we came 4th) followed by a game of flip the coin (we lost) followed by an old favourite of Nath and I…. Karaoke!

The Bootleggers formed thanks to Karaoke at my old pub The Frankland Arms. Nathan and I would often try and out-do each other on Karaoke nights until we reached a point where we realised the old saying is true… If you can’t beat them, join them! hahaha! We decided to try a few songs together, realised it worked and from there The Bootleggers (originally shamefully called The Frankland Dogs) were born.

There was no competing this time around however with us both getting up to do several numbers together. It just wouldn’t feel right singing alone or with somebody else now!


The night was going perfectly well with Chris Marsden shocking us all with his amazing renditions of some famous show tunes and a stunning version of Spanish Eyes…. until….

A group of student teachers who were also out celebrating that night asked us…

“Are you two famous?…. Didn’t you used to be in Fleetwood Mac?”

Now I am not sure if they got the band they had in mind wrong or they just thought me and Nathan were a lot older but I am intrigued as to who the hell they thought we were!




So we are into December and already have a couple of gigs under our belts which I will write about at the end of the month but here is a list of all our upcoming Christmas gigs as we say a fond farewell to 2017 and head into another amazing year.

Make sure you try and catch us if you can…. If not, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


The above image was taken at our first December gig at Yorkshire Heart Vinyard (more in December’s blog) by a very talented young photographer called Phil Barker. We plan on working with him some more in 2018. You can view his work by clicking HERE


The Bootlegging Continues… September to October

It’s been a long time since I blogged on what The Bootleggers are up to. So long in fact the time it has taken me to compile a list and find out the photo’s to match the gig has made me realise I need to get on top of this and update it as we go!

So, what have we been up to. I know many of you follow us on social media but you sadly don’t get to follow us around to each gig and so this is what’s been going on.

August ended & September started with Nathan getting himself all glammed up and hitting the pubs on a bank holiday session leaving Dave behind at home…

But all was forgiven and September saw us start one of our busiest months to date with the very first M-FEST!

M-FEST – Melmerby

We were honoured that the guys behind planning Melmerby Village’s first festival asked us along to provide the live music. We played for these guys a few months ago at a charity event to try and save their local pre-school. The night was a success but sadly the pre-school was lost a few months later. M-FEST, which helped raise money for the local area as well as Yorkshire Air Ambulance was a huge success and the planning and organising that went into the event was second to none! The team really pulled it off and we are excited to be in talks for playing again next year.

M Fest


The Board Inn, Whitby

Board Inn

We have played here twice since last blogging. Once in September and once in October. This pub has got one of, if not THE best view of any pub I have ever been in. The view across Whitby Harbour is stunning. Both the pictures here were taken from the window behind where we stand to perform. Stunning.

A great traditional pub at the bottom of the steps up to the Abbey and always a great crowd. With Whitby being a huge tourist town the audience are never the same and we love meeting people from all over the UK and further afield at The Board Inn. This has got to be the smallest area we have ever played in to date which although makes it tricky to move around (not that we do much dancing) it is always quite an intimate little gig and lets us have a laugh with those watching.

There is never a shortage of colourful characters too. I feel mean for forgetting his name but we had our very own videographer last time we played here with some random guy walking in off the street, pulling out laptops, wires, web cams, cameras and battery packs from a rucksack and just crack on filming and streaming us….God only knows where those videos are today because they never actually made it to our Facebook page!

If you have never been to The Board Inn, give it a try. They serve food and have rooms too!

Board Inn - Whitby


Helperby Beer Festival

This was a pretty amazing and very messy day for us! With hindsight we should have been more closely supervised. The Bootleggers at a beer festival with around 40 different ales to choose from! What could possibly go wrong?

We were honoured to be invited along to open up the show which consisted of loads of amazing bands and singers including the phenominal “Chu Ma Shu”, the uniquely amazing “Fat Medicine”, the award winning DJ Rory Hoy, one of the best rock bands I have ever heard on the circuit “The Mothers”, our local friends “Citizen Smith” AND on top of all that we got to perform our debut gig with our other band The Baffled Kings!

This really is an unbelievable festival and one you should definitely try and attend next year. It’s packed with live music, great beers, prosecco and food… What more can you ask for?

The evening ended with me not even knowing how I got home and Nathan dad dancing till late into the evening… It was well worth the hangover and I hope to be back in 2018 to do it all over again!

Check out the pictures and videos here… https://www.facebook.com/HelperbyBeerFest/

Helperby Beer Fest


Ivy House, Stockton

A brand new venue for us and already becoming a favourite. We have played here twice since I last blogged and it was great to see so many people from our first visit return for the second gig.

Ivy House is on Dovecot Street in Stockton, an area we are hoping to break into a lot more in the new year. I’m told it used to be the old “Pound Pub” and was not a very desirably spot…. Well the new owners have certainly turned it around cause the place is stunning.

Ivy House - External

A really nice, comfortable, friendly & modern bar that serves grub that smells great (I’m yet to sample it) and a great selection of booze.

In the two gigs we have played here so far we have met some brilliant people and been humbled by the feedback. We met an amazing guy called Roy who is off to Africa to help those less fortunate for several months. What makes Roy even more amazing is he bought us lots of beer! lol. If you’re reading this Roy, thanks for your support mate and have an amazing time in Africa. You’re an inspiration and we will catch up in the new year!

We’re back at Ivy House in December so if you fancy a night out in a great bar listening to great music (even if I do say so myself!) then come and join us!

Ivy House


The Lettered Board, Pickering

Another visit to one of our regular haunts in Pickering. Always a fun night at The Lettered Board with some friendly familiar faces each time we play. The last couple of times we’ve been joined by our friends Mark and Jake from the amazing “Acoustic Brew”.

This was our last gig of 2017 at The Lettered Board but hopefully we’ll see everybody again in the new year.

The only photo I got of this visit was of the most important member of The Bootleggers just taking a break before the 2nd set…

Lettered Board


Northallerton Beer Festival

The 3rd and final festival of September and another great night. This one was not so messy with both of us returning home for an rare early night!

The festival take place upstairs in the town hall at Northallerton and it was a fairly busy affair… Spot the Bootlegger (or Where’s Wally) below….

Northallerton Beer Fest

After sampling a few of the beers on offer whilst listening to the young lads who were on before us, we took to the stage to close the festival with a short set. It’s always nice to play to new people and even nicer to get the feedback afterwards.

This was our first time playing in Northallerton despite it only being 5 minutes up the road but we are back later this month at The Fleece Inn so be sure to pop along and catch us if you can!

Northallerton Beer Festival


The Coach House, Rosedale Abbey – The Beast of Rosedale…

Coachhouse - Rosedale

The gig we almost never made… The story goes like this.

It was a dark, cold September evening. The Bootleggers were on there way to perform their second gig at The Coach House in the beautiful, picturesque village of Rosedale Abbey in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

The journey was going smoothly. The roads were clear and the weather was fine as The Bootleggers travelled along the A170 listening to soulful sounds of Rag’nBone Man in the car. As they turned into Cropton a thin layer of mist was beginning to form flowing like a stream across the surface of the road. It was almost as if somebody had turned on a smoke machine to create an eeiry atmosphere.

Over the cattle grid The Bootleggers went as they entered the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, the stone welcome marker advising them to drive carefully. On the treacherously narrow, winding roads complete with some of the steepest inclines you’ll find there is no other option but to drive carefully.

The mist turned to fog and the further along the road the thicker it got. Dave joked to Nathan that it’s quite a spooky looking terrain and he would hate to break down out there in the middle of nowhere with no lights for miles and no phone signal either. It had all the hallmarks of a classic horror movie they thought. As they travelled on slowly, barely going over 15mph in the dense wall of fog which had now formed Nathan pointed out the sign on the left which warned of sheep in the road.

With almost scripted timing Dave caught site of something through the fog ahead. Two glowing eyes standing about 4ft high staring straight at them. As the drew closer the eye seemed to lower to the ground. “What the f**k is that!?” Dave said as a huge dark mound slowly appeared through the fog as they edged ever closer.

Whatever it was seemed to blocking the road and had no intention of moving anytime soon. With visions of American Werewolf in London and Hound of The Baskervilles in his mind Dave had no intention of stopping and was forced over the right side of the road skirting the edge and the short drop into the Moors to get around the beast before them.

As they passed the evil creature on their right Dave looked down and made eye contact with the biggest, blackest, most evil looking Ram you could ever imagine! As he took up his position in the middle of the road, clearly resting after devouring a party of hikers, his satanic eyes bore through to Dave’s soul as his snarl seemed to say “This is my road knobhead. Move on!”.

Black Ram Rosedale

And move on we did! After flagging down and warning another motorist heading toward the killer Ram (I’ve no idea if he has ever been seen since) we made it safely to The Coach House for an awesome evening of music, beer and laughs.

The crowd were great with folk up dancing right from the start thanks to a wee Scottish lad there with his family who got the party started early. We played late into the evening, met some great people and we hope to be back there again in 2018… If the Rosedale Ram will let us pass!

Coachhouse Rosedale


Private Birthday Parties

October saw us having the honour of playing at two big milestone birthdays in our local area.

A 40th at Thirk Athletics Club which despite a party goer deciding to stage dive taking my mic stand with her (no major damage caused and she was unhurt) turned out to be a fun night!

40th at Athletics Club

Then we had a 60th at Sutton under Whitestonecliffe Inn. A fantastic night with a big crowd of Birthday boy’s family and friends with many coming from Germany and even Texas, US! The pub was amazingly decorated and the atmosphere was fantastic. The night even took an unexpected turn as Donald Trump turned up wearing a tutu!

60th at Sutton.jpg

If you would like to book The Bootleggers for any private function then please get in touch on our Facebook page or by emailing us at thebootleggersthirsk@gmail.com


Little 3, Thirsk

It had been around 6 month since we last played in Thirsk when we descended on the Little 3 for a wild night. The Little 3 has fast become the premier music venue of Thirsk since both it and The Frankland Arms changed hands.

With live music nights every Thursday night and now more frequently on Saturdays too, Little 3 does more than it’s fair share of supporting the local live music scene!

It was a special night too as we celebrated the Birthday of my better half, Katie and it was nice to see so many friends and familiar faces out to join in the fun. It was also nice to perform to our home crowd again after taking a break from Thirsk to venture out further afield.

As usual when we play at the Little 3 it was a late and messy night and well worth the hangover the next day!

We are back there this coming Thursday 16th November celebrating both Nathan’s Birthday AND The Bootleggers 2nd Birthday! There’s even free beer up for grabs as a thank you so come and join us!

Little 3 - 2


The Wedding of Myles & Ginna Strudwick

October saw The Bootleggers perform at their first wedding for our friends Myles & Ginna. It was an honour for me to not only perform for them but to sign the register as witness to their marriage and be part of such an amazing day.

The evening event took place at the stunning Aldwark Manor Hotel


The evening went amazingly and we were joined on stage by a very special guest in the form of Myles & Ginna’s daughter, Jodie who has an amazing taste in music! After insisting we sing “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns n Roses I asked her if she would like to join us and sing along. She told me “I am only singing the first verse and the chorus and that’s it”… By the time she got to the end of the first chorus there was no stopping her! When I asked if she was going to sing the rest I was met with a very determined “YES!” before she rocked out the rest of the song in front of her mum and the crowd that had gathered on the dance floor.


The Bootleggers have already taken some bookings for weddings in 2018 so if you want us to come and play for your special day then get in touch today!


Gold Cup, Nether Silton

Another one just up road. The Gold Cup is a quaint family run Yorkshire village pub in Nether Silton. Not the busiest of venues we have played but definitely one of the friendliest! This was the second time playing here and the crowd were great. They joined in, danced, sung and didn’t mind the occasional bit of cheeky banter either.

To top it off one little dude sat with his parents sketched us this picture during the gig!

Gold Cup

How cool is that!?

We hope to be back in Nether Silton in the new year so keep your eyes peeled!

Gold Cup Nether Silton


Wine Bar, Pickering

Just touching slighting into November and last night’s gig at Wine Bar in Pickering…

It was our final gig of 2017 at Wine Bar and in Pickering and what a great night it was! The place was rammed and everybody joined in right from the start. It was so busy I didn’t even get chance to grab a photo.

We’re yet to secure any dates for 2018 in Pickering but watch this space!



So what next? Well we are entering into our final stretch for 2017 with possibly the highlight for me being performing in front of hundreds of people in Thirsk Market Square to support the Squires Bikers Cafe charity bike run which will see them deliver sacks of toys to Thirsk for those children less fortunate. What an absolute honour and privilege it is to even be asked to take part in this amazing charity event. You can catch us on stage at some point after 12pm on Sunday 26th November.

But that’s not all! Just look at the list below and catch us if you can…

Still to Come

We have big plans for 2018 too with booking already being taken, new territories being scoped out and plans for our first album being made after postponing it in September.

Onwards and upwards for The Bootleggers and we are honoured to have you all along on our journey!

See you all soon!

The  Bootleggers.jpg