So who is Nigel Hobbins? Well, firstly, he has a partner and two sons and has spent the last 30 years plus, living in Whitstable, Kent. He was born in 1956 and was brought up in the village of Challock on the North Downs in Kent. A rural upbringing that has had an enduring influence on him. He also works as a wood carver and adds to his income by turning his hand to gardening, general outside work, tutoring and music. Music has always had a big influence on him, right back to when his Grandad sang at family occasions.
His Grandparents moved to Challock in the late 1890’s, his Grandad worked most of his life for the local council, looking after a stretch of road between Challock and Boughton Aluph. He was a part time gardener and cobbler, he grew and cured his own tobacco and he is remembered for his singing in the two pubs in the village. His Grandmother earned money as a charlady and at weekends she sold posies of flowers (garden & wild) to the growing traffic of people who stopped off at the Halfway House Inn on their way to and from London and the coast. Nigel’s father, uncles and aunts all had a part to play in gathering flowers locally when they were children.
His father established himself as a carpenter and builder in Challock after the Second World War. His mother looked after the home and raised two other brothers and two sisters. During school holidays Nigel worked for his father for pocket money but spent most of his time playing where he should and shouldn’t have in and around Challock. Kings Wood, as far as Nigel was concerned, was his back garden. He also played football “Up The Lees” and on the “Cricket Ground”, built his own bikes from spares, which he used to cycle to the river Stour at Wye and Olantigh, and the gravel pits at Chilham and Chartham to go fishing. Sometime in between he went to school.
Nigel considers himself lucky (no matter how fine the thread) to have been able to keep links over three generations in the same corner of Kent. For him this is a history worth hanging on to and has always been a foundation that he refers back to.
1976 to 1979- Studied Fine Art at Canterbury Art College. Since graduating music, painting and woodcarving has been a consistent passion and occupation.
1980 to 1985- Sang and played guitar with Ashford based group 'Emotional Play'. A 12 inch single “Stranger in my home town” was released in 1984 on the Edible Music label. (Edible Music were a group who also organised musical events)
1986 to 2000- Played with Canterbury based group “Happy Accidents”
1987- Moved to Whitstable and helped to setup 'Whitstable Musicians Co-operative'. A group which regularly organised mainly music events in East Kent, encouraging a platform for local music. It later developed into the Whitstable Artists and Musicians Co-operative.
2000- Began playing solo and duets, conversely at the same time, ridiculous noise abatement rulings were limiting the number of musicians who could join together and play at the same session in pubs and clubs that did not have the appropriate license. (It’s amazing how many Siamese twins played music with Nigel).
2004- Formed 'Back Room Boys' band.
2012- Co-organiser of Whitstable Folk Club.
2013- Formed 'Nigel Hobbins and the Dreamlanders'.