How’s everyone doing out there? I have to admit that I’m struggling a bit – I keep thinking that I’m doing fine and coping well with the situation, and then some totally innocuous thing sends me over the edge. Just yesterday morning I burst into tears while doing the dishes and listening to what was actually a really cheery, upbeat piece of music on the radio: a medley of radio show theme tunes, commissioned by BBC Radio 4’s “Broadcasting House” in response to a listener challenge and recorded by BBC Philharmonic musicians at their various homes in lockdown isolation (you can listen back to it here on the BBC website). Introducing it, presenter Paddy O’Connell explained that it would be followed by “the sound of individual clapping sent to us by Radio 4 listeners, what we think is the first ever ‘applause in isolation’, which is for artists, roadies, stage managers, performers” – and by the time we were a minute or two into the piece I was standing bawling in the kitchen and had to take a break from the washing-up until I’d calmed down and was no longer at risk of dripping tears and snot on the dishes ....
But I do have two pieces of good news, the first of which is that thanks to the 180 lovely people who contributed to my FundRazr campaign, we reached the goal ahead of the deadline and were able to do the recording and filming for The St Buryan Sessions — see photos in my previous news post here. Huge thanks to all the contributors, as well as to my longtime manager and sound engineer Martin Stansbury (who’s finally got round to putting up his own Facebook page – check it out here and give it a like!), filmmaker Mawgan Lewis, 2nd camera operator John Crooks, to the St Buryan Male Voice Choir for kind permission to use their beautiful grand piano, and to Reverend Canon Vanda Perrett and all at St Buryan Church. There’s still a lot of sound mixing and video editing work to be done before we have any finished videos to put up, and even more funds to raise to get us to the finished album and feature-length film, so I’m leaving the campaign open for anyone who’d like to contribute further. It’s a great feeling to have the raw material “in the can,” though, and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s helped to make it possible.
The other bit of good news is that I’ve now made my second pair of “Story Behind ...” and “How To Play ...” videos, this time featuring my song “Hardwick’s Lofty Towers”. Embedded below is a public ‘trailer’ on YouTube in which I say a few words about them, then sing and play a verse of the song itself by way of a taster. Please do share it with any friends you think might be interested!
To gain access to the full “Story Behind ...” and “How To Play ...” video series, as well as other exclusive content for my Patreon supporters, you can contribute as little as £1, €1 or $1 a month (choose whichever currency works best for you) via Patreon, for as long as you like; you can stop or reduce your contributions at any time. By contributing, you’ll be helping me to continue doing what I do — writing songs, making recordings and videos, putting my music out there — and I’d be tremendously grateful for any support you can offer, however minimal.
I’m also grateful to Kevin Rogan of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, New York for sending me a wonderful videoof my performance (with live looping by Martin Stansbury) of the classic Bill Withers song “Lean On Me” at the library in October 2019. Here it is:
Stay tuned for a couple more live videos from my recent tours that I’ve just been sent and haven’t yet uploaded. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you’ll be notified of new videos as soon as I put them up.
As always, massive thanks for all your kindness and support, and please keep the feedback, comments, shares and reposts coming. It’s not always easy to stay positive, but it really, really helps to know that you’re out there rooting for me and for all my fellow musicians. I’m determined to keep plugging away for as long as I can, and I hope with all my heart that we’re able to meet at a live concert in a future year.