* Nikki Loy made her name as a busker, tirelessly working her way up from playing with a hat of coins in Oxford’s Cornmarket, with a rich repertoire of her own tunes. This week she celebrates the launch of the first of four solo acoustic albums — the result of an ambitious year-long songwriting challenge.

The solo acoustic album Naked – Part 1 follows a mission she set herself to write a new song every Tuesday, video it, and post it on YouTube the same evening. Once all four Naked albums have been released she will ask fans to vote for their favourite songs, which will form the basis for a new album.

Tonight she marks the occasion with a set at the First Thursday Music Club in Thame. Joining her at The James Figg pub, will be drummer Phil Heard and bassist Pete Sherman.

The show starts at 8pm.

* There was a surprise in store for fans of Oxford Americana band The Dreaming Spires, at their album launch last Friday.

As part of the band’s guest-slot studded line-up at The Bullingdon, Cowley Road, Bennett brothers Robin and Joe invited onstage ‘90s heartthrob Sarah Cracknell, frontwoman of dream-pop band Saint Etienne.

The singer, who lives just outside Oxford, joined the lads for just one song, in front of a somewhat stunned audience. The guest spot saw the Only Love Can Break Your Heart singer returning the favour after The Bennetts backed St Etienne at their recent shows. Also joining the lads, and making it a real family affair, was their sister Katy Rose — the artist formerly known as KTB. Full story in next week’s Oxford Times.

* Jessie J has been added to the bill at this year’s Henley Festival. The London singer headlines the event’s Wednesday night, joining a line-up which already boasts Lionel Richie, Laura Mvula and new signing, Gipsy Kings.

Details from henley-festival.co.uk