West Country singer and duet concertina player Geoff Lakeman will be performing in St Albans on a launch tour for his album, After All These Years.

Originally due to take place at the Maltings Arts Theatre, the concert has been transferred to the Abbey Theatre Studio on May 5. He will be supported by duo Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner and young Aberdeenshire singer, Iona Fyfe.

Geoff Lakeman, from Cornwall, is a singer and a leading exponent of the rare Crane Duet concertina. After spending his working life as a Fleet Street journalist while his sons Sean, Sam and Seth Lakeman achieved international renown as folk musicians, Geoff has released his aptly named debut album.

His repertoire of songs ranges from his own compositions, West Country, English, Irish and Scottish folk songs to music as varied as Jimmy Rodgers, the Louvin Brothers, Richard Thompson and Randy Newman. I spoke to him to find out a little more…

Talk me through your career

I’m 69 now, I left school at 16 in Penzance to become a cub reporter on the local paper, went off to London to work for various news agencies and magazines before getting into Fleet Street.

I had a fantastic career...got to meet many famous people and mix with dukes and dustmen, worked with some of the finest writers in Fleet Street over five decades... and covered stories all over Europe, America, Africa, Canada and Japan.

But, proud as I am of my 50 year journalistic career, music is what defines me now.

What is the Crane Duet concertina?

The concertina is the only musical instrument invented by an Englishman called Sir Charles Wheatstone. It was once the most popular instrument in this country due to its compactness making it so easy to carry. The Crane Duet was a particularly sophisticated and difficulty to play variation, used by variety and music hall artists and favoured by Salvation Army bands.

There are very few duet players to a professional standard these days. I use mine to play Irish and English tunes and accompany folk song, Americana and 1920s and 30s jazz, all of which I include in my performances.

Have you always been musical?

I’ve always played music as a hobby. Joy and I were residents at the Helga, one of the leading London folk clubs which is still going. We then had a family band when the three boys were young and they all eventually went on to become successful, internationally-renowned musicians. They badgered me for years to do more gigs and to make a CD, which I was not able to do when covering the West Country for the Daily Mirror - a demanding job. But when I reached 65 I started playing more.

Abbey Theatre Studio, Westminster Lodge, Holywell Hill, AL1 2DL, May 5, 8pm. Details: 01727 857861