Hello, all. The album project with Zoë mentioned in the last of these missives is still going strong – we’re nearly finished recording, and expect to release Crow Coyote Buffalo under our band name, Mama, in late November – watch this space for details of both the album and the Mama website, which is still under construction at the moment. Contrary to what I told you last time round, my new solo album, I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning, is now set for release on the 20th October! About time, too. Again, watch this space ....
In the meantime, when I haven’t been collaborating with Zoë I’ve been collaborating with lots of other fascinating and talented individuals. Soon after my move to Cornwall, my fellow music journo/book author/musician/songwriter Colin Harper got in touch with me to ask if I’d be willing to sing a song on a new album he was making, consisting of his compositions performed by various singers and bands. I jumped at the chance, and thanks to today's technology I didn’t even have to travel to Colin’s base in Belfast to do it. He emailed the backing track to the Sawmills Studio just up the road from me in Fowey (a most exotic place, accessible only by either a boat or a precarious walk across a railroad bridge, used for recording by the likes of Oasis, Stone Roses, XTC et al – see www.sawmills.co.uk for more info), and I spent a beautiful afternoon there putting down lead and harmony vocals on Colin’s song “Three Syllable Time”. The result can now be heard on the new album “Freedom & the Dream Penguin”, released under the collective name The Field Mouse Conspiracy. Besides myself, other artists featured include Judy Dyble (ex-Fairport Convention), Alison O’Donnell (ex-Mellow Candle), Peter Wilson (a.k.a. Duke Special), Susie Young, Joe Echo and Tina McSherry, not to mention numerous others – see www.thefieldmouseconspiracy.com or www.myspace.com/thefieldmouseconspiracy for the full list! If you’d like to hear a sample of “Three Syllable Time”, the track on which I sang, click here:
In December, I did a double bill with Rob King and Pippa Marland of the excellent trad/jazz outfit Carmina (www.carmina.co.uk) at the Nova Scotia in Bristol. I joined them for four songs at the end of their set, and it went so well that we decided to have another go in June – same lineup, same venue, but this time I’d sat down with their CD for a proper rehearsal beforehand, so was able to contribute harmony vocals and backing guitar for most of their set. It was such a pleasure to work with them, and I do hope that we can do more together in the months and years to come!
In the lead-up to the Alcester Folk Festival, where I played in June, I spotted a familiar name on the bill – Mike Agranoff (www.mikeagranoff.com), a musician I’d met years before in New Jersey, where he ran a lovely little folk club called the Minstrel Coffeehouse. I sent him a “remember me?” email and was delighted when he not only replied within minutes, but asked if I’d like to play some backing guitar during his set. We met at the festival, had a frenzied three-minute rehearsal, and I duly joined him on guitar when he played “The Temperance Reel” on the concertina, then trotted back up to sing harmonies on his encore rendition of “The Water Is Wide”. It was brilliant fun – as indeed was the whole of the festival – and wonderful to be able to renew an old acquaintance.
A few more collaborations are still in the offing. In November I'll be sharing a bill with Holland-based Irish singer/songwriter Danny Guinan (www.dannyguinan.com) at the Theater Karroessel in Geleen, Netherlands, and in December there’s a double bill at the Séamus Ennis Centre in Navan with the great Niamh Parsons (www.niamhparsons.com). I’ve jammed with Danny at his home place in Ferbane, County Offaly, and Niamh was kind enough to duet with me on my first album, so you never know what might happen .... Meanwhile, the relentless touring continues – see upcoming dates on my CALENDAR. I’ve got a wonderful new agent now, Bob Butler – see the CONTACT page for details – so don’t expect any letup in the near future!