THERE’S such a wide variety of folk music in the region this week, starting tonight with the classy duo Quicksilver at The Copper Beech in Darlington, featuring Hilary Spencer and former “That’s Life” TV Star Grant Baynham. Tomorrow, Jim Moray is at Middlesbrough Town Hall, and there’s a choice on Sunday between top Celtic band Talisk at Gateshead’s Sage, and American songwriter Ian Felice at Gateshead’s Little Theatre. That’s two highly recommended shows on the same night, within a mile of each other. On Tuesday, Lyn Heraud and Pat Turner are at The Britannia in Darlington , and on Wednesday, Irish troubadour Maurice Dixon is at The Benedictine Social Club in Cramlington. Meanwhile, I’ve heard nothing but glowing reports about last weekend’s Hartlepool Folk Festival. Well done to everyone involved, and hopefully next year’s event will be just as successful. I’m back, weary but well-nourished, from my month-long North American Tour with James Keelaghan, and I’ll be playing locally this week, at The Smiths Arms near Chester-le-Street in Monday, and at The Place in Sunderland on Wednesday, for a special night devoted to my recent novel, The Dillen Doll. I’ve bumped into lots of exiled North Easterners on my recent travels, and it’s good to know how much our local folk music means to so many people.