Dogwatch are folk duo John (that's me) & Joy Rennie. We both sing, I play English concertina and Joy plays Melodeons, recorders and digital piano. We play tunes and sing songs about subjects both at sea and on dry land. Some of these are traditional, some are made up of wonderful poetry set to music by Joy and some are all our own but there's a good mixture of serious and light hearted stuff and lots of "joiney in" bits.
We were first introduced to the folk world in the mid nineteen nineties, when we were taken to Stockton Folk Club by our daughter. Having found out about folk clubs, we quickly became regulars at several, including the Wilsons' club in Wolviston. After a period of being first silent audience and then chorus-singing audience, we began doing floor spots individually - I'd never sung since I was a kid but was bullied into having a go by Ken Wilson. Eventually, we started performing as a duo at the start of the new millennium and since then have been booked at lots of folk clubs and festivals.
We've got a huge and constantly growing number of songs and tunes covering all the usual folkie subjects (e.g. loads of death and sexual innuendo) but a large proportion are related to the sea and sea-faring men, mainly in the days of sail.
In the British navy, sailors then, as now, spent time "on watch", i.e. on duty and time "below", i.e. off duty. The normal watch length was four hours but there were two, two hour watches each day, and these were called the first and last "Dog Watch".
Since 1989, Joy & I have been puppy walkers and fundraisers for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. During this time we've had great fun bringing up loads of guide dog puppies and have helped to raise loads of dosh to help the cause.
Because of our involvement with dogs and sea songs, when we needed a name for our duo, Dogwatch just seemed the obvious choice.
In 2008 (unfortunately, just after we'd finished recording our second album), Joy got a C/F melodeon to go with her original D/G model. It's given us much more flexibility and has allowed us to develop loads of new song arrangements. We absolutely love it and it was definitely worth waiting the nine months it took to get it from Italy.
Until the end of 2007, I also sang with "The Endeavour Shanty Men", who've appeared at various festivals in this country and around Europe. Joy also sings with a popular five part female group called "The Raffleites" who sing some lovely songs with very pleasing multi part harmonies. In 2005, we and several friends formed "The Otterby Band" (say it quickly to get the true meaning of the name) and we've had a number of club and festival bookings. As well as all that, we both play for a border morris dancing side called "Locos in Motion", who're also in great demand. We're busy little B's but loving it!!!
Our three CDs to date can be bought either from Ken and Jan at Chantey Cabin or direct from ourselves, in which case, they'll set you back £10 if you buy one or £10 for the first and £5 for each subsequent one if you buy more than one at once. More details/links on our website at www.dogwatch.org.uk