A FORMER John Masefield student is touring North America as part of a two man band that has attracted 8.5m viewers on Youtube.

Heymoonshaker is made up of David Crowe, aged 26, whose mother Annette owns the 'Past and Present' jewellery business on the Homend, and guitarist Andy Balcon, who first met Mr Crowe in New Zealand, five years ago.

After another chance meeting in Sweden, the pair started to perform together, - forming a unique musical combo which the Rolling Stones magazine has described as "dazzling", in an article.

Now the self-funded band, which has put out several albums, including "Shakerism", is about to put out a third, longer and as yet un-named album, which was actually written in Ledbury.

The duo are now in a happy position where they can and have turned down record and commercial deals, to allow their music to evolve in its own special way.

Mrs Crowe said: "Everyone of his age in Ledbury knows Dave. When he comes home, they say 'hey Dave, how's it going?'

"I am extremely proud of my son. this has taken a lot of work and they are completely self-financed.They just want the music to go where it needs to go. They have lots of followers, with millions of viewers on Youtube."

But it could have been all so different, because Mr Crowe studied ballet and contemporary dance at Leeds University, and he saw his future as a dancer until he suffered a bad knee injury during a performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He started to experiment with "beat-box" technique, originally as a hobby, and this entails making rhythmic and drum-like sounds with the mouth. With Balcon's driving blues guitar and vocals, the duo are able to produce a huge, original sound which, to the listener, often comes across as half traditional bluegrass and half "street".

Earlier this month they gave well-received performances at Cambridge, MA, New York, at the Rockwood Music Hall, and at Brooklyn.

They also thrilled audiences at Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles.

The tour will end with a gig in Mexico City, on March 25.