THERE'S a warmth on stage tonight that goes far beyond the heat of the stage lighting. Dorset folk duo Jon Whitley and Jay Labouchardiere are the most genial of hosts, who whisked the Barrington Theatre audience away to a special place of folklore, fun and incredible music.

Since 2012, they have released two award-winning albums and done the kind of grassroots touring that takes in quaint village halls, festivals and not often visited communities. It’s this thoughtful decision to take the path not often trod that has resulted in the loyal Ninebarrow following.

The audience mouth the words to lyrics, clap in unison and beam with happiness throughout the show. It feels like a family and that’s because it is.

Married couple Jon and Jay are hugely proud of their family. Tonight’s set-list includes influences from grandparents and the haunting song, Coming Home, written by Jon’s father Bob Whitley, a highly-respected folk musician in his own right (and in the audience).

Ninebarrow are storytellers in the truest form of traditional folk music. They weave narratives with their own musical take on local history and the landscape.

The song Halsewell, with its lyrics about a famous Dorset shipwreck is explained by Jon before its performance. He acknowledges their research included a book on the subject by Dorset author Phillip Browne (also in the audience).

It’s this immediate connection to their material, which makes Ninebarrow all the more compelling. In fact, Dorset arts organisation Artsreach even commissioned the band to write the song Overthrown, which was aimed at raising awareness of the Dorset Ridgeway On stage, the talented duo both sing together and seamlessly move from two harmoniums, an electric piano, mandola and ukulele. Joining them for the live show is cellist Lee Cuff from fellow Dorset folk band Kadia.

Lee has been heavily involved in the Ninebarrow sound in the studio and his beautiful playing adds another touching dimension. As Jon tells the audience. “Lee makes a lot of songs possible that we don’t often play live and he’s given us so much with his arrangements. We’re used to it being the two of us and at times Lee has also been like a marriage counsellor,” he joked.

The show came in two halves and proved to be a thoroughly rewarding evening from some of the brightest home-grown talents on the folk scene. Tickets are now on sale at the Lighthouse theatre in Poole for the launch night of their third album in April and I’d highly recommend it.