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Rob and Mark Ellen from Sheerness host country music show at Dancing Dog Saloon, Bobbing

By John Nurden

Canny country-loving Rob Ellen is staging his Medicine Show country music revue at the Dancing Dog Saloon at Bobbing near Sittingbourne on Sunday (February 4) at 7pm.

The Stetson-wearing kilt-clad Scot is touring the country in a 20-year-old Renault camper van, which doubles as a recording studio, and has rolled into Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey where his brother Mark, a former drummer with 1970s pop band Vanity Fare (Hitchin’ A Ride) and a Labour councillor on Swale council, lives.

The pair present a community radio show on Sheppey FM on Sundays at 3pm.

Scotsman Rob Ellen, who lives in a Renault camper van converted into a mobile recording studio, and his brother Mark, a Swale councillor and former drummer with Vanity Fare, are in Sheerness promoting a Medicine Show country music revue at the Dancing Dog Saloon,Bobbing on Sunday, February 4.

Scotsman Rob Ellen, who lives in a Renault camper van converted into a mobile recording studio, and his brother Mark, a Swale councillor and former drummer with Vanity Fare, are in Sheerness promoting a Medicine Show country music revue at the Dancing Dog Saloon,Bobbing on Sunday, February 4.

Rob, 62, is trying to spread the word about House Concerts. These aren’t loud, booming discos but intimate affairs loved by Americans.

He explained: "When folk-lovers started opening clubs in the back rooms of their locals 30 years ago, the Americans were stumped. They didn’t have our pub culture. So they invited bands to play in their front rooms instead.

"The idea is spreading. It’s like an underground movement. It’s taking music back to its roots.”

Rob Ellen in his mobile camper van studio with copies of his CDs

Rob Ellen in his mobile camper van "studio" with copies of his CDs

To prove his point, he is taking over the Dancing Dog on Sunday.

The former quaint English village pub has been converted into a Wild West saloon by its owners, complete with Indian headdresses, rodeo saddles and a completed Wild West town in the beer garden at the back.

Danny George Wilson, who performs as Danny and the Champs, will headline the finale of a weekend of “listening room concerts” organised by the European House Concert Hub. It will be broadcast via Facebook Live.

Ye-ha! Country promoter Rob Ellen is on the road.

Ye-ha! Country promoter Rob Ellen is on the road.

Also on the bill will be The Glass Mountains, the duo Hope In High Water who are starting a seven-date UK tour, and Sheppey singer Rob Ansell making his concert debut.

Admission is free but in the tradition of house concerts a donation should be given to Rob’s £10,000 “invasion” of the USA.

Days after the show, he flies to Canada and then to the States to introduce the 14 European acts on his Medicine Show Records CD to the Folk Alliance conference in Kansas City.

He explained: “It’s relatively easy for Americans to perform in Europe but quite difficult for us to play over there. I’m hoping to change all that.”

The new Moosemobile for the American tour

The new Moosemobile for the American tour

He has bought a 1982 Chevrolet RV and plans to turn it into the Merican Moose Mobile when he gets there.

He will be driving it across the States and will be teaming up with singer Ruth Purves Smith.

To help fund the venture, visit www.gofundme.com/MericanMooseMobile.

If you can't get to Sunday's show, watch it live at www.facebook.com/moosemobile.

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