This is probably a generational thing but as I type this I find myself channeling the Buffy the vampire slayer musical episode singing, 'going through the motions' to myself.... Strangely this is pretty much the tone this blog will take.
January was a juggle of incomes and expectations that ended rather badly and so far February has felt very much the same - hence why I haven't blogged - but I've got two gigs coming up in the next week so I thought it best to break the silence and get back on the horse. It hasn't helped that I lost my voice for a week and a half and it has literally only just returned in the last 2 days (thank goodness). When you're constantly reminded that your voice is everything it sure hurts when it suddenly isn't there but it was a stern reminder that I'm a lot more than just a singer; but hey it's back so crisis over!
So I'm excited because this means that I can *hopefully* deliver a good, sparkly set at Culm Valley this Wednesday as I've been looking forward to it for a while. I also have the album launch of Time on Friday at Tapeley Park which should be interesting and a nice bunch of musicians to back me up. I'm very grateful for their support (and never-ending supply of cider) and I'm hoping we can pull it off and have a good time.
That's pretty much it for now, recovery continues, my voice is returning and banjo-surgery ensues,
wish me luck!
This will be a classic blog entry in the sense that it will include some classic examples of me trying to be good and failing miserably ;) Are you ready? Let us begin...
So I've been holding off on updating you as I've been waiting for some dates and confirmations to come in but I can confirm that rehearsals for the launch of Time begin this friday and thus the inevitable instrument teasing of my illustrious backing band will begin - 'cause I've got to do something to keep y'all guessing right? Also I will be returning to Scotland this year (super psyched to be returning to Edinburgh) and I'll be taking part in Springfest 2016 on the Loch Lomond Shores which I'm sure will inspire another 'by the clan' moment. I'll also finally get to see Glasgow so I am really excited, so much so I bought a flask for the road trip - that's preparation Ro-style....
Speaking of the flask, we baptised it in hot chocolate this weekend as it had its first outing... Destination: Dartmoor or more accurately...Destination: SNOW! Now this'll sound like madness to anyone North (or even East) of Devon but snow for us is a novelty and when it comes you absolutely have to drop what you're doing and make a snowman. These are the rules. So Ben kindly drove us over to Postbridge on Saturday and we watched the sunrise paint the Tors pink and show us where the best patches of snow were.
Several boggy steps later (and after feeding a lot of ponies) we found the perfect spot and endeavoured to roll our snowman into shape. Yes I actually bought a carrot especially for his nose and yes I accidentally left it in the car so I'm pretty much the worst girlfriend in the world as Ben went back to get it and it was a long way up the hill... I should say he volunteered and this gave me the necessary time to create a snow-top-hat but no matter how I word it I'm still the worst girlfriend in the world....
It was a good end to a shocking week really and I should mention my alarm and disbelief of finding out Bowie had died then discovering with equal shock and horror on Thursday that Alan Rickman had also died. Both huge talents, it goes without saying, and I have brilliant memories of our tribe from school imitating both - particularly when Sweeney Todd came out. It's nice to see the internet celebrating their lives though and shedding light of stuff they did that had been somewhat forgotten though - Rickman was sooo much more than just Hans Gruber and Snape - and equally Bowie was a lot more than just Aladdin Sane; particularly for my generation, he was the snowman kid and the goblin king! Movie boffing aside, loved them both, gutted they are gone but so glad they lived.
So... onto my classic balls up then. I should probably patent that, ball-s-up (get it?) I do it so often anyway... I thought I'd take a trek down to Bude yesterday to see rad (the peanuts movie) and check out the folk club. Now I lived in Bude for 20 years and had no idea this nifty club existed until about 5-6 years ago which was sadly around about the time I left so it was great to finally make the connection face to face but also pretty embarrassing when I was told it had been around for at least 12 years.I was hoping to make a good impression and the first song went well despite my karaoke nerves but then I was kinda mind-blown with the arrival of an old mate and the immediate compulsion to catch up in the other room. Didn't really clock the fact that everyone could still hear me and my laugh that makes dogs wince on account of the rooms only partially separated by a wooden panel and the door being left open. Dammit. So I'm thinking first impressions are wrecked maybe I can claw it back with some songs? Nope. Not even a little. My brain decided to mince my words and nerves kind of took hold for the first time in a LONG time. The song after that was fine but unfortunately my friend saw the weakest which left me feeling embarrassed as there I was showing her my new album and filling her in on what I'd been up to and there I was dying on stage haha oh well I did get to have a go on a harp ( love love love ) and people were very kind and understanding so hopefully I can return there maybe next month once my humiliation has died down a bit and make a better go of it!
Honestly what am I like.... so there you have it hopefully this week will have less casualties
I had a lovely start to my week with the Braunton History Group who invited me to play at their Christmas function on Tuesday. Now normally I don't name names when I've done a private gig - I'm not really sure why, might be a 'professional-overkill-habit' but I have so many nice things to say about this jolly group I'm going to have to give 'em a mention.
First off I met Neil who thankfully did the sound for me and provided a PA. I haven't really accepted it yet or told many people but my speakers were sadly stolen earlier this year though curiously they left the stands? Very strange but I won't dwell on it, I'm seeing it as a fresh start seeing as I'd had them since 2008 the jokes on them really. Anyway... so we set up in a cosy nook to the side of the bar and right in front of the door to the kitchen. Cue the many times we both looked at equipment rock as staff bustled by and took a deep breath of fear.
So after we'd set up we snuggled into a brilliant christmas meal with CRACKERS! Now I will never ever get over the novelty of crackers, when I used to run open mics crackers always came out on the tables when we got near christmas so imagine how stoked I was to find a pack of cards in mine! A quick game of patience ensued as Tony told me tales of the Mitchel Mariners and Cider Press Brothers... there are definitely some songs in there we just have to watch and wait.
I'm really pleased with how the actual set went down as I wasn't entirely sure what to play, I never am when it's a private gig and normally break out the covers, this was no exception but I did limit it to 3 festive numbers and it was wonderful to have the audience singing along to the carols. They even sang along to something stupid despite me doing something stupid and forgetting what key I do that one in.... whoops. It was also lovely to break out songs I hadn't played in a while like East of the water and The Line and for them to have a fresh audience. You can tell I had a great time so before I forget I would like to thank Jon, Sue, Tony and Neil for making it probably the most memorable Tuesday ever!
I also forgot to mention in my last blog post that I received a note a week or so ago from a kickstarter backer who had listened to Time and wanted to give me their thoughts on it. Naturally this made my day so I feel I've got to share it with you and thank him officially for being a sweety. I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the Cranberries, they're like this forgotten gem from the 90s.
Few more festive gigs to come to stay tuned for more nonsense!
Well I hope you've all had a wonderful christmas and I hope you are prepping yourselves for the best new year celebration you can muster! It's been a mixed year and indeed a mixed christmas so I'll share my thoughts you as we teeter on the edge of 2016...
First off my heart goes out to Cumbria and the many venues and households that have suffered the flood waters this winter. I had a wonderful time gigging in Carlisle and the surrounding area earlier this year and I can only hope that the wonderful northern spirit endures and Cumbria is able to get back on its feet as soon as possible. xx
Feel a bit spoilt now to be talking about presents but I was a very very lucky girl this Christmas as I received three very important musical presents: firstly a new snark tuner - DESPERATELY needed as anyone who has heard me live lately will know. Secondly the promise of Bodhran lessons - thank goodness 'cause no matter how much I try with youtube tutorials it's just not happening without a tutor... and finally my favourite Tori Amos album on vinyl, 'under the pink.' Absolutely gorgeous. I can honestly say I feel renewed and revived through listening to it... music is coming!
I've been writing loads lately but I am reminded to focus on 'Time' and I should tell you all that I am currently sorting out some tremendous talents to back me up for my album launch which I can now confirm will be at Tapeley Park February 26th (a day after my birthday I might add so we've got to make it extra special ;). Rehearsals should begin mid-january and I'll, of course, be teasing you with artistic snap shots of peoples feet and what not to keep you all guessing about what instruments will be joining me.
So that's the news for now! It's been a long year, here's to a smoother ride in 2016
ps. Oh and it goes without saying I love you all and I remain eternally grateful to the kickstarter backers and anyone who ever bought an album. You have all given me a hell of a lot of support this year and I have really appreciated it. Onwards and upwards together, happy 2016 everyone! x
Time for an update! No pun intended...
I finally have Time back from the manufacturers which means my tiny apartment is jam-packed with copies and what with the christmas tree and all it's getting rather cosy in here! I'm pleased to say the album is available to pre-order on Amazon (see the 'albums' link above, next to 'home') and everyone who has heard it has been very kind, most notably Jackson Cooper of Riviera FM who wrote a jolly nice review which you can read by Clicking Here!
Hopefully now everyone who stated a CD or a download in the backers' rewards section of Kickstarter have now received their copy - thank you to those who have posted your glee on my twitter and facebook, I'm chuffed to bits that you like it! I was worried for sometime you'd all listen to it and be like, "really?" haha so there we go, we're nearly there! So the next stage is a launch - January 15th, venue TBC - which will be something of a party if I have anything to do with it! I'm thinking balloons and streamers, maybe even a buffet ;)
So that's very exciting and I've also got a few gigs lined up for December which means I get to break out some cheesy christmas covers *yay!* and keep my form on top. I've got a week and a bit to get my covers up to scratch - that's the trouble with christmas songs you don't tend to play them at any other time of the year so they can get very rusty indeed....
That's about it for now but I'll do my best to keep you better updated this holiday season :)
ps. Oh and it goes without saying, once again, a huge thank you to the kickstarter backers and indeed anyone who's ever bought an album from me for making 'Time' possible. Couldn't of done it without you.