Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Nashville in the Round

I've had a brilliant time on tour supporting "Nashville in the Round" a songwriters circle featuring Jenn Bostic, Sarah Darling and Kyshona Armstrong. The tour has taken in venues around the UK in places including London, Norwich, Birmingham, Southport and Maidenhead. The shows have been sold out, the crowds fantastic and Kyshona, Sarah and Jenn not only fantastic musicians and songwriters but very lovely people too.

Here's some images (of varying quality) from the tour.

Tiny (but comfortable) motel room

Stage set at The Atkinson, Southport

Sarah, Jenn and Kyshona at The Hive, Shrewsbury 

Image by Andy at Photocillin Photography

Sarah, Jenn and Kyshona at a very full and sweaty Bicycle Shop, Norwich

Me and Kyshona
Image by Andy at Photocillin Photography

Me and Kyshona

Me and Jenn 
Me and Sarah 
Image by Andy at Photocillin Photography

Image by Andy at Photocillin Photography

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Well it's been quite a full on three years since I spent a week writing songs in the company of Ray Davies and 15 others wonderful songwriters from around the world. Thanks to Ray for taking the time to listen and gently teaching me that my songs are worth listening to and my ideas and instincts are often pretty spot on!
Thanks also for this memorable exchange;
"Ray you suggested these chords but I'm thinking of doing this..."
"Do it your way it suits you better."
Pause, hand on my shoulder. "It's very John Lennon."
Turns his back and gently walks away. I carry on playing thinking not a lot of it and then realise that has come from a man who actually met and hung out with John Lennon.
A few weeks later I was invited to an art show at his Konk studios and without really saying hello he spots me and sings the chorus of one of my songs at me "Alone now, I'm alone..."
"You remembered it!"
"It's very memorable!"
From the writer of You Really Got Me and Lola.
Thanks Ray!
A few other beautiful and important memories but you know what I might just keep them to myself for a while.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tour Dates
Nashville in the Round Tour
I'm very excited to be playing the opening slot for a tour featuring Sarah Darling, Jenn Bostic and Kyshona Armstrong.
"An evening in the style of the Nashville’s famous Bluebird CafĂ© as Sarah Darling, Jenn Bostic and Kyshona Armstrong come together."
The 9 dates I'm performing on are;
3 Sept The Winemakers Club London EC2
4 Sept The Musician Pub Leicester
5 Sept The Met Studio Stafford
7 Sept The Green Note London NW1
8 Sept Norden Farm Centre for the Arts Maidenhead
10 Sept The Atkinson Southport
11 Sept The Hive Shrewsbury
12 Sept Kitchen Garden Cafe Birmingham
13 Sept The Bicycle Shop Norwich
30 Sept Foley Arms, Great Malvern
Headline Gig dates
5 Oct Lymington Folk Club
Germany mini tour
27 Oct Kulturcafe Lichtung Cologne
28 Oct House Concert Idstein, near Wiesbaden
29 Oct UnterRock Berlin

Sunday, 10 July 2016

I'm back in my favourite part of the world at the moment. Pembrokeshire, South Wales. I spent a lot of my childhood here and it has remained a special place for me. 

I'm performing this afternoon in Laugharne (in the equally beautiful Camarthenshire) at Browns Hotel, famous as a haunt of Dylan Thomas. I'm playing from 3pm. 

On Tuesday night I'll be gigging at The Lifeboat Tavern, Tenby. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Fantastic gig at Wychwood Folk Club last night where I was supporting Ninebarrow. Lovely crowd, some familiar faces who've seen me play at other places in the area. Great chats with people afterwards at the cd selling stand. Pretty perfect!

Later I was sitting outside the venue, Tiddy Hall. It was a pleasant June evening, the birds were singing and Ninebarrow had just started playing again inside. The sky was clear and the sun was setting. It was just one of those moments.

Really lovely!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Germany tour part two; Cologne-Jena

Following the day off in Cologne we needed to get to the train station for an early train to Jena. Jena is a university city almost in the middle of Germany. During the gig in Cologne it became clear that I'd have to work on my pronunciation of Jena as after my performance a couple of audience members were telling me how much I would enjoy Vienna.

The first leg of the journey was a two hour trip to Mainz. The train arrived and on we got, I charged purposefully along the carriage, chose a pair of seats and deposited my suitcase in the overhead rack. At this point Connie noticed and pointed out to me that the seats we reserved, as it seemed all the surrounding ones were. Before we could move the aisle was full of travellers, all examining the reservation notices. Now it would appear that the standard etiquette on German trains when encountering this situation is to be neither rude enough to cause others to move, nor step aside and give way, but instead to remain standing where you are and look at each other. So we were stuck standing next to some seats that we had not reserved, me with a guitar on my back and large suitcase in the luggage rack above me and Connie with her rucksack on her back. The train was moving, we were on our way to our next destination and not exactly in discomfort so we waited in a bemused but happy way to see what happened next. After a while we perched ourselves on the seats. What happened next is that a group of what I can only describe as horrid football wankers, crates of beer in hand, came crushing along the carriage pushing aside all in their way. Old ladies and business men were swept away until they reached their reserved seats. Which were, of course, the seats we were sitting in. The lead wanker shouts at Connie that she's in his seat, she explains that she will be happy to move once it's within the realms of possibility. He tells her "you can move if you want to!" and I lean around the person standing between me and him and suggest he might like to calm down. Another old lady was sent spinning away and this gentleman angrily made his frustrations known; it was clear he wouldn't be waiting for anyone to clear the way. Taking her chance Connie slipped past and then this guy sat in her (or to be more accurate, his) chair, making it even more difficult for me to get my suitcase down. I retrieved it, and made my way down the aisle. Happily the next carriage happened to be the dining car, and we asked if we could sit in there. Certainly we were told, as long as we buy a drink. The dining car was beautiful; quiet and uncrowded, the seats were comfortable and the lady serving us was lovely. We travelled along the Rhine with the river right alongside the train, passing through stunning valleys and attractive little towns and villages. The rainy weather that had been with us since our arrival in Europe had now abated and it was a truly glorious day.

At Mainz we had a five minute transfer which was something we had been nervous about, however it was simply a matter of stepping of the first train and walking across the platform to the next one which was sat there waiting. No reservations on the seats this time so we sat down and had a pleasant three hour journey. One more change at Erfurt at then the final leg to Jena Paradies. On this journey we had our one and only delay of the whole tour; the train sitting at a signal for ten minutes which made us late arriving in Jena. Axel, owner of Brandmarken and organiser of the gig there, was waiting at the station to drive us Radio OKJ for an interview he had organised. 

The interview with Katja went well; her English is very good and she asked some interesting questions. 

Axel dropped us off at a hostel he had arranged for the evening and explained how to find Brandmarken. After a rest and a shower we made our way to the venue and discovered that it was a fantastic bar/restaurant with a shoe shop attached. Axel, his wife Manuela and the rest of the team there were all brilliant and treated us very well. The venue was rammed for the gig and I struggled to finish playing; they kept asking for more! I had assumed the crowd would be regulars at Brandmarken but it turned out that the majority were making their first visit. After my performance I chatted to a lot of them and tried to find out what had attracted them to come to the gig, something that really interests me when I'm playing somewhere new, especially a country I've never visited before. However it turns out nearly everyone had been invited by a friend, husband or wife and I never got to meet any of the people who did the inviting. So I'll guess I'll never know! Another wonderful gig with more names on the mailing list, CDs sold and generous contributions to the hat. 

Only a flying visit as we were off to Dresden the next day, and in future it would be good to explore Jena a little more as it looked to be a very beautiful place.