Simon began his singing career with the West of England based ‘Richard G.Harpers Blue Jazz’, a popular 6-piece Mainstream, Swing and Blues band formed by the late Edward Piper, the extraordinary Jazz pianist, Artist and Photographer. The Band performed regularly throughout the UK with occasional excursions to the Continent in the guise of ‘Blue Jazz’s’ alter-ego ‘The Bond Street Band. In the late 1980’s Simon also appeared with the French-Jazz inspired ‘Hot Strings’ based in Bath, England, and a regular attraction at Southern English venues and events including Devon’s popular Lynton Jazz Festival.
Following a 7 year period living and performing in Australia In 2003 Simon returned to the UK and found new success with individual performances at various events such as his appearance in France at the Forges-les-aux Casino in 2004, but most significantly with The veteran pianist and musical arranger Allan Baillie and his band ‘The Ben Marcato Trio’.
SIMON ATKINSON & The Ben Marcato Trio went on to become a popular combo performing at numerous events and festivals including two appearances at The Glastonbury Festival in 2007 and 2008.
Discovering an ability to create original music led Simon to begin to re visit his lifelong passion for a very different musical genre – Folk Music. The result, after a lengthy period of musical exploration and development has been the formation of Simon Atkinson & The foundryman’s Apprentice.
Simon has been very fortunate to be able to call on the skills of a group of Scotland’s most talented and versatile musicians, several of whom have worked with him on previous occasions; Martin Henderson(Bass) Ron Rodger (Guitar) Richard Hamilton - previously Bert Craig ( Drums & Percussion) Mike Daly (Cornet) Karen Henderson(Fiddle) & Becky Crichton (Cello). All from entirely different musical backgrounds and genres, adding their own unique styles to develop and enrich Simon’s music. The Pawnbroker recordings also feature Bassist Iain Harkness and Saxophonist 'Spike' Bayne.
Martin started playing professionally in 1978 with various bands in Ayrshire as well as playing in summer seasons in the theatre in Butlins.
In 1984, Martin played for the pantomime in the Ayr Gaiety and so embarked on a 25 year career in theatre playing with the Jimmy Cosker Trio. Martin has worked with Jules Holland, Ronnie Corbet, Jack Bruce, Allan Stewart, Kenneth McKellar, Johnny Beattie, Moira Anderson, Peter Morrison and an unending list of variety and music stars.
Martin’s music has not been confined to theatre; however, he has played in Jazz and Blues festivals around Scotland and worked extensively in Europe for corporate functions; one of the many highlights being playing with Simon Atkinson at Glastonbury.
Martin is considered to be one of Scotland’s most experienced bass players and remains highly sought after.
Featured drummer on SA & TFA early gigs and THE PAWNBROKER recordings - Bert Craig is a veteran in most styles of drumming and an all round delightful person. In his long career he has worked with numerous bands and performed almost every conceivable type of music including Blues, Folk, Scottish dance music, Country Western....Country Rock and Jazz & Swing. He has performed and recorded with a wide variety of bands ranging from Jazz trio's to a 17 piece big band and an 8 piece Trad outfit and has been a regular on the Scottish club scene, playing for dancing and backing cabaret.
Ron Rodger’s musical career began at age 10 with the arrival of his first acoustic guitar, followed at the age of 16 by his first electric with which he formed the high school band 'Night Creatures' performing covers of Bowie / Zeppelin songs. Over subsequent years He performed in numerous bands playing in all the working mens clubs from Dumbarton to Stirling - lYarrows Shipyards , The boilermakers @ Clydebank and Alexanders Buses @ Falkirk. A rapid learning curve from which Ron learned two very good lessons...timing for all the dances...and make sure you stop for the bingo !!
In the past 10 years Ron has developed and performed with the popular Ayrshire band 'Aftershock' providing slick covers for a wide variety of events and functions throughout the UK. Aftershock’s keyboard player also performs with Echo & The Bunnymen at selected concerts including as Coldplay support at Madisson Square Garden in New York in 2010.
Mike started playing cornet at 13years old and fell in love with jazz after hearing Bix Beiderbecke and Bobby Hackett. He began Playing in a band with local school friends before meeting trumpet player Duncan Whyte whom he worked with till the end of his career. Mike’s ability to play a wide variety of musical styles also led to work with numerous show bands and he has backed cabaret shows throughout the UK. Mike is the founding member and leader of the popular Jazz combo The Rhythm Kings and performs regularly with the Nova Scotia Jazz Band at concerts and events including an appearance at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival.
Photograph Copyright Jackson Frater 2012
Karen Henderson studied classical music at the RSAMD, however, it was to be a love of traditional music that formed Karen’s career.
In 1983 Karen was invited to play on ‘Thingumyjig’ for STV and was immediately launched in to the world of Scottish entertainment. Tours of Japan, America, playing in Las Vegas at the Tropicana, as well as extensive tours from St John’s to Vancouver in Canada followed. Karen also has solo recordings which include her own compositions. Karen has played for many radio and television shows including playing live for the first national Hogmanay show, New Faces and Double Bill with the wonderful Bill McCue.
Karen has worked in most of Scotland’s theatres, playing in shows in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and of course Ayr, at the famous Gaiety Whirl where she met her husband Martin Henderson, bassist with SA & TFA
Two years ago, Karen was forced to retire from professional playing due to a trapped nerve, however, after a very successful operation she is enjoying her violin once again with SIMON ATKINSON & The Foundryman’s Apprentice.
Becky started her cello adventure at the age of nine. Three years later, she started playing her mum's lovely cello and still hasn't given it back. Becky is currently studying to be a music teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD). She also teaches the piano, and teaches drums for the Youth Music Initiative in Falkirk.
She is a member of the Stirling-based Heart of Scotland Choir, and is an assistant leader at the Heart of Scotland Junior Chorus. She also regularly plays for shows for local theatre groups. She drums for the band Falkirk-based band The JRs, which is named after the legendary jazz and woodwind teacher Jerry Randalls.
Becky is enjoying performing with Simon Atkinson and the Foundryman's Apprentice, and has been secretly enjoying the freedom of playing something on her cello which was not written by Beethoven, Elgar or Bach!
John Duffy describes himself as being 'born behind an upright piano in Sunderland whilst both parents were out stealing coal'!
He is an immensely popular 'musicians musician' on the Wearside, London, Yorkshire and Scottish music scenes. 'Duffy' comes from a very strong family tradition of players and has been performing throught the UK, Ireland and Europe since the age of 15.
He is currently playing a hand-built Bailey Bouzouki with the immensely popular 'Duffy's Gypsy Band', 'The Fabulous Duffy Gibbons' and now a regular guest performer adding his unique sound to the music of SIMON ATKINSON & The Foundryman's Apprentice.
Photograph Copyright Moyra Turner 2013