The Stationhouse Social Club, held monthly at Ōtaki's Railway Hotel will host another dinner and live music night featuring virtuoso harmonica player Neil Billington as the special guest.

The event, on Thursday 13 February, will be the sixth month in a row of sold-out concerts at the retro hotel, with the combined offering of live music and food having been enthusiastically supported by both locals and attendees from further afield.

It is designed so people commuting on the train from Wellington can stop off and enjoy music and dinner before heading home.

The live music is regularly provided by renowned Kāpiti and Horowhenua musicians Andrew and Kirsten London and band The Salty Hearts along with a different special guest each time.


A two-course meal by local catering company Grub's Up is included in the ticket price and caters to all tastes, said Salty Hearts band member Ange Glindemann.

She said live music would start at 6.30pm with a set by the Londons, a husband and wife duo known for being "musical, clever and funny with swingy, jazzy originals and hits from right throughout the 20th century".

"Andrew London is the Kāpiti Coast's answer to John Clarke, Tim Minchin, Flanders and Swann and many more," she said.

As dinner is being brought out, the Salty Hearts, made up of Greg Sayer, Dave Allen, Richard Guerin and Glindemann would take the stage, playing a country and blues mix of 70s and 80s songs and a few of Sayer's originals.

Special guest Billington, known as New Zealand's foremost harmonica exponent, will follow, showcasing his skills on both the standard diatonic blues harp popularised by legends like Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and Midge Marsden, along with the more rare and difficult chromatic harmonica favoured by Stevie Wonder, Larry Adler, Max Geldray and Toots Thielemans.

Glindemann said Billington had played around the jazz and blues scene in Wellington for many years, as well as touring extensively with London in the early 2000s, playing festivals all over New Zealand and also in Australia, Norfolk Island and the Middle East.

He had also been part of other collaborations including a series of international tours with acoustic blues guitarist Mike Garner. At one event he was invited to sit in with the legendary American guitarist Sonny Landreth.

"Neil's extraordinary ability and showmanship continue to draw crowds around New Zealand," Glindemann said.


"A recent comment from an audience member [was] 'Oh my God I didn't know you could do that with a harmonica!'".

At the end of the Ōtaki evening, all the musicians take back to the stage for what has been termed 'The Big Ugly' and play a few well known up tempo hits to send everyone off at around 9pm," Glindemann said.

"This is usually a bit riotous and unruly and a whole lot of unrehearsed fun".

Stationhouse Social Club, Thursday 13 February, 6.30pm to 9pm, Ōtaki Railway Hotel.
Tickets $45 (including meal) from Ōtaki Travel, or email for account details. No door sales or holds.