Flashback to hours spent at school with Jenny perfecting our northern accents joost incayse we eva got t'chance ta take it for a test roon. Alas I just couldn't do it to you Yorkshire...
I sped up Sunday evening alone on the train to finish the album and was met by heavy rain, the kind that made wearing my shiny pink mac and getting copious amounts of I-can't-believe-what-she-is-wearing-stares completely worth it. My poor bag was getting soaked as I tottled down the road but thankfully the hotel was dead ahead and it wasn't long before I was met by that amazing room. Not only was there a soft, squishy bed but there was also a bath, hot chocolate and bourbon biscuits waiting for me. So that was breakfast sorted then...
Fast forward to the next day and the final stages of mixing began with Julie Matthews in her studio shed, or sted? ;) I met her very lovely dog Dillan and groomed him continuously - wrecking all soft furnishings in sight - while we tweaked some delays and fiddled with a penny whistle. There wasn't too much to do so I finished pretty early and then it was back to the hotel and my severe home sickness. It was like those first few nights at Uni where you just have that overwhelming sense of loneliness but at least I had facebook - Ben did his best to provide me with silly faces for comfort. Day two, as a result, dragged as the album only took an hour or so to master and then there was lots of sitting around listening critically to it. After three whole runs of it (2 consecutively I realised I had become immune and could not longer tell if the splosives on 'Out' were detectable. I'm sure I just looked wide-eyed and worn out! Sadly the train home wasn't until 6pm so it was a long wait but once I was on the final sheffield - tiverton stretch I felt a lot happier and began to rush through my Morrissey book. [I've been reading this for over a year in small segments as I enjoy it so much so that I don't want it to end].
When I finally got off the train, in the dark moody rain, I ran to the footbridge, shuffled behind another passenger and then ran in a very wounded fashion towards Ben on the other side. Think I sprained something what with all the tottling, running and shuffling! All in all I was a very wounded animal in the car on the way home, gorging on Dominoes' Pizza, and I've been recovering ever since.
I can however celebrate the fact that 'Time' is finally mixed & mastered and ready for manufacture and I still remain hopeful it'll be in your ears by October. I am still negotiating a launch date and things are still on the horizon, including Appledore book festival on October 1st. I'm toying with the idea of debuting a few new tunes and ideas at that one so it should be a good night.
So keep watching this space as there is most certainly more news to come and, as always, thank you for your continued support :-)
Broadstairs was brilliant! Allow me to explain...
After a six hour drive (saw Stonehenge at sunset, love it!) to get up there we snuggled, gratefully, into bed ready for a day of dodging flash flooding and thunderstorms although we weren't really aware of the imminent madness on the horizon... until a lightning bolt hit the bay the next day and Ken scarpered at the sound of thunder. I'm the kind of girl that grew up in awe of thunder and lightning but still retained some primal fear of it too so although it was pretty epic it was also a bit frightening, especially when the rain began to fall... but we'll get to that! Gig first :)
We had a quick look at an angry sea whipping waves over the small market on the front, checked out my first board walk and walked it (their sand is very yellow compared to ours) and then after we loaded up on an oreo milkshake - and heard the weather warning first hand - we headed over to the Sailing Club for my acoustic hour slot. What a great crowd! I think we packed that room out and it was so much fun. I'd been wanting to try out some new material and figured this was the set I'd try it in, thank goodness I did! The crowd were very warm and appreciative which has given me some confidence in my new banjo tunes. (Banjo tunes always make me nervous)
I couldn't resist opening the set with 'Red Sky' to suit the weather but half way through 'Seafaring Stranger' the sky literally went black and it felt like we'd been enveloped in chaos. Down came the rain, hard and heavy and soaked us instantly as we made a run for the car. I'd hoped to wear the same outfit for my evening slot but after that it was impossible! I was drenched! So we went back to our house-on-loan, someone had very kindly let out their house to artists for the festival, and I wrote two new songs on banjo and piano although I think I like the latter more. I never get to play piano enough as I don't own one so that was an absolute joy.
Fast-forward and night fell, time for the final main stage gig. Unfortunately the rain hadn't stopped falling and that thunder and lightning that had shuffled through the bay and rumbled away earlier had returned with a vengeance. Multiple powercuts later and we were told the electrician doesn't think it's safe to start yet, would I mind delaying the set. To which I replied, 'I don't think it's safe either!' I remember horror stories in college about the singer in big country being propelled backwards across the stage from a fault in the system so I didn't fancy that. Strangely though the sound engineer still looked on in amazement at my compliance! Anyway it got to a point where it was now or never so with a quick line check I got on stage and delivered my set. The standout moment for me was having us all sing Amazing Grace together, especially in that weather, it was as if time had stopped and we were just in that moment together. Magic.
Awoke the next day to the softest cat lolloping on my arm which put me in a good mood. After an 8 hour drive home the weekend went very slowly for us as we lazed around trying to regain some normality! Although I've left the roads behind I am hitting the trains next week to sheffield to try and finish the new album - which has been being mixed in the background this whole time. I'm hoping I can still make an October launch date but we'll see. Watch this space and wish me luck, been a long time since I've been on a train for that long so I'm expecting cabin fever...
Finally to everyone who came to see me, to everyone who bought an album and to the lovely people who gave us a roof over our heads for two days, thank you!!! You made the final folk festival of the season very special indeed and I hope to see you all again :)
That sounds like a punchy duo doesn't it? Last week I had two festivals to play, 171 miles between them and a whole lot of road. Ben did his usual routine with Wickham... "oh it'll only take us 3 hours" which of course jinxed it.
There was sadly an accident on the main road which extended it to four hours (okay not as bad as it could've been) through back roads but that did mean we cut it very close to our contracted sound check time; arriving with 20 mins to collet wristbands, tune up, go to the toilet and get on stage. Luckily they didn't need us right away so we could chill... IN MY DRESSING ROOM! I know, right! In my cool, portable dressing room there was a bucket of ice and in the bucket of ice (I feel like I'm writing a funny bones novel by the way) there were cans of fanta, pepsi and bottles of beer! I can honestly say we felt like we'd made it haha So I unpacked, relaxed and began tuning up. Outside I could hear Carlos Nunez warming up and I jammed slightly, and by all accounts anonymously, on my banjo to the pipes. He has no idea of course as I remain chronically shy...
Eventually a soundcheck sort of went out of the window as 5pm was quickly approaching and it was time to start so a quick line check and I stepped out onto the main stage in front of about 500 people and gave it my all. What a euphoric and surreal experience to have that many people applauding and whistling with video cameras whizzing from side to side watching you at the foot of the stage as you sing. Incredible. I had an amazing time in that brief 40 mins and when I came off Ashley, one of the team of sound engineers backstage who kindly removed my instruments from the stage - another novel experience for me! - said, "just think... you've opened Wickham." I can tell you now that feeling of "YEAH!!!!" doesn't go away for at least a week and a half, I'm still buzzing from it!
After the set we had celebratory ciders then made the mistake of pitching our tent. Sorry Ben. I believe I spent the entire time laughing my head off and rolling around on the ground sheet. Whoops... we then went exploring around the site. Whilst buying a vest a rather inebriated fellow in pink fluffy attire slurred, "you were great!" and then as I made my way to the mechanical bull - you heard me - for another round of let's-humiliate-ourselves a little girl with a voice straight out of Oliver said, "You're Roseanna Ball!!" "..er..errr... yes I am" I stuttered back. "You were amazing!" She continued, as did my awkward replies. One day I might be articulate, maybe when I'm not so shocked at being recognised at a festival full of huge names where I'm in no way 'known.' Oh and by the way I lasted 30 seconds on the bull, 10 seconds shy of the trophy, and my thighs are still paying for it.
After a very lumpy sleep, where I was sure I was woken up by the Beautiful South's (now known as the South) tour bus arriving in the early hours of Friday morning, we hit the road and headed back in the direction of Barnstaple where we crashed for the night at Nev's before attempting Croyde the next morning. I tell you an air bed can feel like a king size memory foam mattress after sleeping rough camping! So after that glorious rest we went on to locate Croyde View and had a lovely chilled out time in the sun waking up the campers and warming them up for Chris Millington. It was a humbling, chilled out way to end a crazy week and I have the say the hog roasts were out of this world! We decided we should make the most of the epic weather and what little energy reserves we had left by going for a swim in the sea, unfortunately I was stupid enough to wear my jellies into the breakers and off one flew, never to be seen again. New look must love me, I keep the orders coming in!
So there you have it, two awesome festivals in one rollercoaster week.
Next week: Broadstairs!