I bet you were wondering where I've been! Well like most I got caught up in the stampede to the end of term... and then I went on holiday. I realise that's no real excuse as I haven't written in here since I went to Scotland but a lot of drama has come to pass and sometimes you just don't want to write about it because you don't want to give it more power over you. Know what I mean?
So where am I now in the grand scheme of things? To quote myself, "right, where I've always been" - how pretentious am I, quoting my own song, you know what if you can guess the title I'll give you a free CD at my next gig! Now there's incentive. Ha ha no seriously though I really am right where I've always been, humming underneath the radar, reminiscing and romanticising... but the truth is, and this will shock you, I don't want to write about those sad things anymore. Time did a lot of damage but the one positive thing that album did for me is it truly helped me get over losing my Dad. I'm at peace with it now and you'll have to forgive me but I don't really want to remember the pain anymore; Too Soon had its time and its place and its in the past now.
"Alright so what are you doing now?" I hear you cry, or murmur... honestly I do feel pretty forgotten which is pretty sick after 10 years of gigging, but hey maybe I'm just knackered. Gigging is fickle and a two way thing, if you're not prepared to go out every week and play you get left behind, that's the way it is and has always been and I just haven't got the time or energy to gig that much. I don't think I ever did actually, I always felt like - for me at least - to gig that often would take the magic out of it.
It's no secret I've been winding down this year and spending my time (in between working my butt off) finding myself. I haven't liked all I've found and I've been trying to change that and I can feel a positive change happening. I've even been writing again, and not just reams of madness scribbled on the back of an envelope; PROPER musical musings. It's all very exciting as I was starting to feel like maybe the well had dried up but no it's there. There's a spring in the bottom and it's refilling, at long last!
I've even been thinking, and I mean seriously thinking about making another album. I have actually re-recorded Evergreen - it was a side project over christmas to try and rekindle the fire - but we've but it on the back burner for the moment while we figure out how to pull it all together. I was very proud of that album when it came out and I want that again with the next one. I have some songs and a theme so I'm going to go with it and see where the journey leads me.
That kind of brings us up to date really, I'm very much looking forward to playing at Wilderness fest as that seems very much up my street as does the Dorset Steam Fair. Still not sure how I got that gig but I am so psyched for that one. I'll be singing on the carousel all night!
Love as always and thanks for the continued support. I know you're out there... said the X Files fan...
I feel like I'm stuck on repeat a bit here but yet again I find myself fighting to keep my voice and shuffling off a nasty virus. I'm not sure how long I can keep blaming it on stress... Some of it has to be work environment! Thankfully though the notes do seem to be returning, slowly but surely breaking through the cloud like some determined sunbeam!
Scotland was a mixed bag, not unlike trail mix... I'd go from playing to an oblivious and indifferent audience to performing for a rowdy and very much involved crowd so my mood tended to reflect the roller coaster ride and poor Ben had to put up with a lot of self-doubt. Imagine my disappointment at the flagship gig being cancelled with less than 24 notice... So after that exhausting and costly headache I'm back in Devon recuperating, working hard and reflecting on just how damn nice the Edinburgh folk are - they gave me free cake!
I'm hoping my voice returns in time for the palladium gig as it'd be nice to sing some of my favourites again and not have to keep playing it safe! I've got lots of wild ideas for the next year, a different musical avenue has sprouted in my mind so I might try something adventurous, largely for my own amusement, when I've got some free time but don't worry as ever there's the dream of a new album and it IS coming. It might be less packaged than the last endeavour but it's bound to cheer us both up and hopefully it'll reawaken that magic that's been missing lately.
I'm keeping the faith
Now I'm pretty sure all Friday's are good by default but "Good Friday" should be even better than usual - okay this is border lining on arrogance here - as I'm heading for Swimbridge's Jack Russell to deliver some candle lit tunes. It feels like the first time in a long time that I won't be pushing Time! How refreshing :) I'm very much looking forward to renewing some old tunes and seeing what comes out.
We are getting very close now to my up-country-trek to Scotland which is becoming something of an annual event and I'm getting more and more excited. You know it's a holiday when your packing list includes a dressing gown and jelly... I should stress though it's a lot more than just a holiday, it's also a mini-tour which is just what the doctor ordered for me to reconnect with my music. I definitely feel like we've been straying lately from each other so I'm hoping the road will be the cure to our indifference. For the first time in what feels like yonks I've been writing again, all angsty nonsense of course but it's a start; come to think of it the lines have come in the car so there you have it, it's a sign! Roll on Scotland...
Easter ends with a gig at the Convent which avid readers (wink) will recall is where I recorded Time. I'm hoping to return without a kidney infection this time and to be able to drink something other than Cranberry juice and southern comfort! I'm also looking at some new covers and breathing life into some old friends so hopefully that'll be a night to remember. Big thank you to Max actually, your words of encouragement are helping me get back on track :-)
That's pretty much all that is going on at the moment and as you can tell my head is full of deadlines, set lists and interventions. I'll check in just before the long drive North X
What a rollercoaster of symptoms this term has been! Somehow (I'll show you how) I managed to claw my voice back just enough to complete Friday's gig at the Jack Russell in Swimbridge but good grief what a week!
It all started on the last day of term... well actually it probably started weeks before
as I'd literally only just shaken the last virus that throttled me a la launch but anyway on Thursday I felt my voice going. Now usually it gets wobbly, squeaky, and low but normally I can just about get a tune out of it. Not this time. Not even close so I stopped talking Thursday night - much to the amusement of Ben - and continued in silence until 6pm the next day - much to the amusement of Ben's family who had to put up with my mute-rudeness at a Good Friday lunch....
A quick google search had revealed utter rest, no whispering was a very VERY good idea along with 'harnessing the power of steam' and drinking lots of water cue lots of strange selfies of me towel-a-fied bent over the hob. Have to say though it did get my through and I had a lovely night with Del, Paul, Kev, Julie and just about everyone in swimbridge! The pub was packed and no wonder, the pizza was IMMENSE! Wonderful people, lovely atmosphere = a very forgiving audience. Thank you Jack Russell you made my Easter :)
On other news, after 6 years of entries and scribbles I have finally finished volume two of my lyric books! The first entry was on July 7th 2010 and the last 27th of March 2016 and a quick tally reveals around 155 songs in here, 25 of which have been professionally recorded - and I complain when I get a dry spell.... It's quite mind boggling when I think about it actually, there's still a lot of stories crying out to be heard so I'd better get my butt in gear in the coming year! In the meantime though I need to find another old book for the next tome...
Somehow... I pulled it off this week! I have no idea how that happened but despite losing my voice, developing a sniffle and not getting enough sleep I managed to deliver two diverse sets with minimal wobbles. Let's start with the first:
Culm Valley Music & Performance Club - I love you. What an understanding bunch you are and so kind! I'd had to alter my set a bit as I couldn't get those high notes mid week and still I had people complimenting my voice afterwards. I was like, "really??" squeak squeak. A lovely lovely bunch that put up with me bringing three instruments to a support slot set... sorry! When will I learn?
Gig 2 was the album launch of Time but before that I managed to cram in another band practice pre-launch on Thursday which was also my birthday so *sucks in air* I feel the need to share the random of that day first. Day after Culm Valley and I was shattered so I lurched into work *cue the screaming kids* and groaned my way through the morning til we were lead down the hill to strawberry lane to collect frog spawn with the class - how cute is that? The sun was shining, the kids weren't screaming any more, it was bliss. Fast forward and after school I picked up my Ben and he took me shopping. I love shopping and finding unusual things and we shuffled through the charity shops and found Simon & Garfunkel The Sound of Silence for £1 - a friggin steal! Then we remembered I had a parcel to pick up from the post office, opened it to find a handmade sewing kit from Rad *made me cry.* Then it was dinner at the chinese and a candle in my fritter :D As 'happy birthday' blared out over the tannoy and the waitress sang to me I felt guilty (like I'd wrecked the serenity of the restaurant for the couple behind and to the right of me) but also I was loving it. I'm such a child, having a restaurant make a fuss of me on my birthday was one of my big wishes in life haha sad right? Then it was band practice in the evening where we established some of those songs had to go as I couldn't hit them and Trudes had a brain wave and offered up her keyboard. " It's missing the sustain pedal" "that's alright I'd only milk it to death" as Max knows all too well....
So Friday buzzed through and we got to the venue all dressed in black - no idea how we managed that as a team without communicating dress code - and it was a success! I have some things to thank for this, namely southern comfort. Now I'm not encouraging performers to drink by any means but I have to admit that without it that set would've been inaudible. Whiskey just has a knack for numbing wounds and is like the WD40 of vocal chords for me so yes I had a tiny little taster-size bottle polished off before the 1st set arrived and a baileys to follow for the second... apologies.
Hopefully I didn't glaze over too much! I should also thank the team of musicians who helped me put it together and supported me throughout. Trudi you little firecracker you, Ian you bodhran beast, Barbara you fluttered on the flute and Mike, where do I even begin? It was a pleasure to play with you again and I honestly didn't want 'Eighteen Years' to end, which when you think about it is kinda ironic haha Ben took some lovely videos of our rehearsals which we will now make live so you can sneak a peak at what went on in preparation and it proves that I did have a voice once!
Thank you to everyone who came, thank you to the trio of The Retro Rhythm Rascals - if you liked what you heard please check 'em out on facebook by typing that in the search bar - thank you to Niks for the sound, Shannon for the lights, Alan for pictures and anyone who bought a CD.
We did it!