Just to go and show what a talented musical bunch of creatives we are here at the Gazette, three former news reporters are appearing on the live music scene this Friday.

First-up there’s a double bill of news men at the Three Wise Monkeys when reporter Rob Mead brings his guitar-rock trio Dog on a Stick to the venue, and former chief reporter Tom Parkes plays with his Blackwater boys.

Now based in West London, with Rob on drums, the rest of the band are made-up of Liam Hole on vocals and bass and Rick Senley on guitars, keys and backing vocals, who together perform alternative inspired numbers inspired by the likes of the Pixies and The Cramps.

Joining Rob on the night will be Tom Parkes and his band, who marry the rich musical heritage of America from the honky-tonks to the swamps with melodies and lyrics that have emerged like salty oysters from the Essex mud.

Songwriter Tom won fans including BBC Radio’s Steve Lamacq with his band Ghost Train Porters.

And some of his finest work to date can be found on his new album Stranger In Town - from bank robber’s lament Alfredo (When It All Goes Wrong) to Shakespeare/Jerry Lee Lewis mash-up Good Old Days.

The Blackwater Boys sprang out of the Stranger In Town recording sessions, for which Tom called on the aid of Jake Rattlesnake Murrells on dobro and lap steel, cousin Jamie Parkes on fiddle, plus producer Diamond David Booth on drums.

With a line-up featuring Jake, Anthony Jones the Patron Saint of Bass and (on occasion) David and Jamie, the band went on to play shows in the summer of 2018 at Camden’s Green Note, legendary east London shindig What’s Cookin’ and Suffolk hoedown extraordinaire the Maverick Festival.

Headlining the night is London-based Leontas, a band that doesn’t haven’t a connection to the newspaper, but performs a pretty mean raw mix of heavy guitar riffs, melodic choruses and honest lyrics.

Doors on the top floor of the Colchester High Street bar open at 8pm with tickets priced £5.

On the same night at the Red Lion in Manningtree, the former editor of the paper Martin McNeill returns with his Bottleneck Blues Trio. Headlining is Ben Waters Upstairs at the South Street venue which starts at 8pm and is £17 entry. For more information, call 01206 391880.