As 2018 draws to a close…

My new album ‘Never enough’ is now well and truly launched and has been getting some radio play. I’ve had some nice comments from reviewers: ‘Really thought-provoking and interesting songs’ (Genevieve Tudor, BBC Radio Shropshire).‘There is some beautiful writing on Never enough (Greg Russell, BBC Radio Sheffield). Never enough is possibly John Meed’s finest work, finding him totally in control of his palette of words and ideas’ (Les Ray, Unicorn). ‘John Meed has created something that is at once highly engaging and equally thought-provoking’ (Allan Wilkinson, Northern Sky). ‘The rewards are worth the reaping’ (Mike Davies, FATEA).

I’m grateful to everyone who came to the launch at CB2 earlier in November – you created a lovely atmosphere. If you missed it, or would like to repeat the experience, we will be doing much the same set at the Cambridge Folk Club on January 25th. The club meets in the The Golden Hind, 355 Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1SP – the evening starts at 8pm and we shall be on at around 10pm. I’ll be joined by Rhys on guitars, Andy on bass, Matt on violin and Lucinda on viola. Tickets here.

You can listen to or download the songs, or order the CD, here:

There is a live video of the title track (with Matt and Lucinda) in the lovely Suffolk church of Felsham here:

There is also a live version of Blackbirds here:

As it’s getting to the end of the year, here is some of the other music I have been enjoying this year. My album of the year has been Low’s ‘Double negative’ though you need to be able to cope with doses of distortion – all apparently a reaction to living in Trump’s America. It’s worth persisting, though.
It’s also well worth trying:
– Nenah Cherry’s ‘Broken Politics’ and its standout track ‘Kong
– Ed Harcourt’s piano pieces on ‘Beyond the end’ including the lovely ‘Duet for ghosts
– Phoebe Bridgers’ ’Stranger in the Alps’ – try ‘Motion sickness
And if you feel like venturing away from the English language, try Catalan singer Joanjo Bosk’s Albera.
My favourite new film of the year – by some way – was ‘Shoplifters’ by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda.
Finally, can I take the chance to thank you all for your support, and to wish you all the best for the year to come.

A review of 2016

Looking back, 2016 has been a rum old year. Politically we’ve had to endure Brexit while the rest of the world has had to endure Putin, Erdogan, Assad and now the prospect of Trump. Musically we have lost Leonard Cohen and David Bowie, two of my musical touchstones, as well as Prince, George Michael and a host of others. And personally, we have lost two good friends, people we won’t be able to replace.

So what was good about the year? Well, ironically, my favourite album of the year was David Bowie’s ‘Black Star’, released a couple of days before he died. Indeed, it has replaced Heroes as my favourite of all Bowie albums. As with all his best work, it’s challenging, innovative and musically stunning. Above all, it’s one of those rare albums where we start with Track 1 and do nothing else until we have reached the end.  There has also been good music from Bon Iver, whose third album ’22, A Million’ is another challenging but satisfying listen. Try this. ‘A Moon-shaped Pool’ from Radiohead is also rather good and I enjoyed the debut album from Lanterns on the Lake. We were also able to see a concert from my favourite flamenco guitarist, Vicente Amigo.

I’ve been musically busy as well. My sixth album. ‘The Hills of Arran’ attracted some nice reviews and I also produced videos of the two Spanish-flavoured songs: ‘Andalucia‘ and ‘Santa Maria‘. Finally, there’s a live band version of ‘Ashes and rust’. As well as my usual gigs in the region I also played four small festivals, a gig at the 12 Bar Club and a set in support of Philip Henry and Hannah Martin in the Peak District. And I have been writing lots of new material, some of which we will do on Jan 27th.

Thankyou for your support last year, and here’s wishing you all the very best for the year to come.

It’s summer! Must be camper van time…

As summer seems to be here it must be time to venture out into the countryside. So I have posted a video of a live, full-band version of the Camper Van Song, which even features Rhys on electric guitar and a couple of photos of Mike Harding’s camper van (thanks, Mike)! There are also photos of our friends Kevin and Amanda Goode in and around a purple VW –  I wrote the song for their wedding, and they have just had a baby boy. It must be something to do with the second verse… Anyway – here it is:

Hopedale

We’ve just got back from a lovely weekend in Hopedale, in the heart of the Peak District. I played a couple of short sets on the Saturday night in Alstonefield Village Hall, supporting Flossie Malavialle, and then on Sunday lunchtime we joined the session in the Royal Oak in Wetton. In between times we managed to climb Baley Hill, walk along the River Dove, and get drenched – twice.

We first met Dave Littlehales – who organises the events in the village hall – and his wife Val just over four years ago. We were staying in a local bed and breakfast and had gone to the rather fine Watts Russell Arms for a meal in the evening, when we overheard someone talking about the Cambridge Folk Festival. When we said we were from Cambridge and musicians, instruments appeared as if by magic and an impromptu session ensued.

Dave and Val have since become good friends, and have introduced us to members of Dave’s group, the Festival Ceilidh Band, as well as to numerous inhabitants of Hopedale and Alstonefield. We have been made most welcome in one of the most beautiful corners of England – and will be back very soon!

And the reviews? ‘What could be nicer than supper at the village hall? Well, obviously, supper with entertainments and on Saturday, 7th July, on a balmy if somewhat damp evening, we were treated not just to pie, peas and strawberries but also to an evening of musical delight. Excellently supported by John Meed, Flossie Malavialle, the girl from Nimes who became that woman from Darlington, treated us to an evening that was simultaneously très bien and proper mint like.’ (Rob Handscombe, on the Alstonefield website)

‘Then we come to the music. The support was John Meed, a singer/songwriter from Cambridge who did a short spot in each half. His songs were all quite different from each other, and very entertaining. I especially liked Don’t Blame it on Belper. He was an utterly charming man and I hope to get the opportunity to see him again. The main guest was Flossie Mallaville whom we have seen before, I think we first saw her at Maghull in 2002 when Colum Sands invited her up in his set to do a song and then at the same festival in 2003 when we saw her do a whole set. I remember being amazed by her voice then, I am even more amazed now by both her voice and her humour. I genuinely enjoyed everything she did. Best value night out anywhere at £12 a ticket.’ (Wally and Lorna Davies who edit the local folk newsletter)