It’s slightly scary to see that another year has slipped by, though I’m not sure we will lament the passing of 2019. Here, anyway, are my annual musical musings.
‘Never enough’, which we launched at the end of last year, has been well received. I seem to have been busy playing gigs through the year – the highlight was the inaugural Royston Folk Club Summer Shindig on the August bank holiday weekend, where Matt and Lucinda joined me on violin and viola and we had a lovely welcome from the audience – including some who had travelled from Oxford and Milton Keynes! There is a video of us playing La Fayette live here – all in evocative black and white.
And I have several gigs planned already for next year. I’m particularly pleased that my friends Thursday’s Band and I have at least three more church concerts to look forward to: on February 16th in Stotfold, near Hitchin; on February 29th in Ashwell, near Roystom (though this one is to be confirmed); and on May 30th in the delightful little church in Kettlebaston in Suffolk. More details are here – and if your church would like such entertainment to help with the restoration fund, do let me know. We really enjoy playing unplugged with the acoustics that churches provide.
Our trip to India and Nepal in April opened the flood gates of my songwriting and, after a barren year, I have eight new songs – several inspired by our experience there and also a new song inspired by my home town of Rochdale – which I’m currently testing out on long-suffering audiences. Rhys and I are starting to turn our attention to reworking some of my older songs for a retrospective album as well so 2020 promises to be busy.
In other music my favourite album of the year has been the ever-innovative Bon Iver’s ‘ii’; see for example, ‘Hey ma‘. I’ve also just discovered that the delightful and often epic Her name is Calla have released their final album this year. Sad news, but at least they left us ‘Kaleidoscoping‘. I have also just come across a French duo called Grand Veymont – L’odyssée du petit parleur is beautiful.
In fact I’ve been listening to quite a lot of French music this year – some interesting new music from Bertrand Belin, Keren Ann, Alain Chamfort, Malik Djoudi and Jean-Louis Murat. Song title of the year? Emily Loizeau’s ‘Viens avec moi mon vieux pays‘ and a rather nice video from a country that still knows how to protest (and of which I am now a citizen!)
Thankyou for your continued support. And may I wish you Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2020.