THERE'S much to recommend for local folk music fans in the week ahead. My own week starts tonight when I'm back at The Bluebell in Sunderland, which has established itself as one of the most popular clubs in the area. Resident band Pipe Dream have also built up their own following, so it should be an entertaining evening. Tomorrow at Gateshead s Sage, top Irish band Lankum are in concert, and they'll also be at Hartlepool Folk Festival in a few weeks time. On Saturday our choice is between award-winning Sheffield-based duo The Rheingans Sisters at The Witham in Barnard Castle and hard-hitting songwriter Jon Strong at Toft House in Middlesbrough, with Pete Davies opening. On Sunday, Scots balladeer Bob Wood is at Guisborough Rugby Club, a rare visit to the area for him and well-worth checking out for his delicate guitar playing and great songs. Finally, it looks like last week's 60th birthday celebration of Newcastle's Bridge Folk Club was one of the highlights of the year, attracting hoards of nostalgic folkies to the Sage for a great night of music and memories. It's back to normal at The Bridge on Monday, with the fine local trio JIB as the main attraction. I'm off to Canada this week, and I'll be reporting back from the North American folk music scene over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I'm reachable as ever at