Goodbye 2020

I don’t think any of us will be too sad to say goodbye to 2020. It has been a difficult year for everyone, and I hope you have been able to survive so far. Here are my annual musical reflections.

I managed a handful of gigs before the lockdowns started, though that all seems a very long time ago now! Thursday’s Band I played a lovely concert to a packed Stotfold Church (Bedfordshire) in February and with Mark Gamon’s help managed to film a new song, ‘Progress’, with Lucinda Fudge on viola and Matt Kelly on violin. You can watch it here:

After that the only scope for live music was Zoom and Facebook Live – not the real thing of course, but it helped to keep us slightly saner. Most of the concerts I have taken part in (and helped organise in the case of Cambridge Acoustic Nights) are still available online – there are links on my gigs page.

Despite all the problems there has been some really good new music this year. Here are some of my favourites:

– Adrianne Lenker’s ‘Songs and instrumentals’
– Juliana Barwick’s ‘Healing is a miracle’
– Swedish duo I Break Horses’ ‘Warnings’
– Harpist Mary Lattimore’s ‘Silver ladders’
– Scottish/Lancastrian band Modern Studies’ ‘Signs of use’
– Yorkshire group The Howl and the Hum’s ‘Hostages
– The sensational ‘Kick‘ from Spanish Love Songs

It’s been a tough year for musicians – the absence of their usual revenue from live concerts leaves music sales as their main source of income. So please consider buying music direct from the artists (I have given Bandcamp addresses where possible), or from independent record shops, rather than streaming via Spotify et al who pay artists virtually nothing.

Away from the music, it’s been a difficult year for us personally, as indeed for so many people. We lost both my sister and Isabelle’s mum in the autumn – indeed the two funerals took place just a week apart. I gave a tribute to my sister which you can read here.

I did at least have more time for my ecological survey work. If that interests you, there are more details here.

Here’s hoping that once enough of us are vaccinated (my 94 year-old mum has just had her first one) live music will once again become more feasible and that we’ll perhaps be able to share a real concert before too long. And here’s wishing you as good a festive season as will be possible in this so unusual year, and good health for the year to come.

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