Songwriter Ant Noel lives just down the hill from Priddy, in the city of Wells. Having been born and raised on the small Channel Island of Jersey, Ant moved to ‘big bad Bristol’ in 2003, staying for a music degree and ten years of plying his trade as a musician (piano, fiddle, guitar, mandolin & harmonica) and teacher before relocating to the haven of Somerset. Ant spent the past decade releasing three original albums and performing in venues across the South West in a variety of roles, some rather kitsch (‘cocktail pianist’ for P&O ferries), others more suited to traditional tastes (session fiddle player, folk festival performer).
In 2011, Ant formed backing band The Peabody Drakes in order to flesh out the bare bones of his music. The band’s current line-up includes James Stallwood (clarinet), Anneka Johnson (percussion), Alex Pearson (double bass), Peter Wilk (accordion) and Paul Dix (fiddle). Ant Noel & The Peabody Drakes perform Ant’s original music which enlists a melting-pot of styles, be it celtic, klezmer, americana or cajun. Often described as lively and upbeat, these are songs of travel, ale and coffee drinking, french love stories and west country rambles!
In 2014, Ant released his most recent album ‘The Water’s Line’ to critical acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, Somer Valley FM and the Musicians Union who picked the cd as their ‘stand out’ release of the winter that year: “Ant Noel is proving a rising star on stages across the south west and beyond thanks to a winning way with a tune and an intriguing lyric.His third album is packed with melodic twists and he steps out from his folk roots to capture a wider audience with his endearing songs.” (The Musician Magazine)
Following on the heels of regular performances at the likes of Bristol Harbourside, Burnham Folkfest, the famous Old Duke and even Wookey Hole and the Fringe Tent of Priddy itself, Ant and the band can’t wait to make their debut on the Eastwater Stage at Priddy Folkfest 2016.
When he’s not performing on stage, you will find Ant teaching much younger talent at St. Cuthbert’s School in Wells; running a regular folk session every Monday night with Paul Dix at the George Inn in Croscombe; or leading amateur folk musicians in Bristol as director of the Raggedy Folk Players.