I’ve had lots of adventures since my last missive, starting with a lovely tour of Ireland in April, where as usual the highlights were all furnished by the people I met along the way. There was an impressive take-up to my open invitation for concertgoers to join me in singing my canon “In Gratitude I Sing” (for anyone else out there who wants to give it a go, it’s still up on the Home page). At my show at St. John’s Theatre & Arts Centre in Listowel (to which I’m happy to say I’ll be returning the same time next year), fellow guitarist Paul de Grae went way beyond the call of duty: not only did he organise the choir for the canon, he also loaned me his wonderful G7th capo, then made me a present of it at the end of the concert after telling me the story of how Johnny Cash famously gave his guitar to Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival. “I'm not going to give you my guitar,” said Paul, “but I will give you my capo.” And he did.
On the Photos page, you’ll find a snap taken of myself, Paul and the other two members of “the choir” at the pub later that evening, alongside a photo of the prettiest toilet in Ireland (or so I’m told – have a look and judge for yourself!) and a couple of pics from the final night of the tour – a packed triple bill at the Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo with NoCrows and The Unwanted. Cathy Jordan (of the Unwanted, and of course also of Dervish) joined me onstage during my set for an a cappella duet on Peggy Lee’s “Fever”, and the entire ensemble joined forces at the end of the evening for a grand finale. This latter included the aforementioned canon sung by no less than 13 singers: myself, NoCrows (Felip Carbonell, Steve Wickham, Eddie Lee and Anna Houston), The Unwanted (Cathy, Seamie O’Dowd and Rick Epping) and the four members, plus the conductor, of barber shop quartet Own-A-Chord, who opened the show. For those who weren’t there on the night, my entire 45-minute set, incuding the duet with Cathy Jordan, is viewable from start to finish on SligoTV.
In June I had my first-ever gig in Germany, at the Greenfarm Festival near Munich. A superbly run event, where I met up with a few old friends and made some lovely new ones. Now I’m getting ready to set off for various shows around England’s midlands before heading over to Ireland, where I’ll return to Trevor Hutchinson’s Glasnevin studio for the recording of my third solo album, once again with Trevor engineering and Gerry O’Beirne producing. I’m not a little apprehensive about the trip, as I’ve had difficulties with driving for the past three months: it appears that a very nasty cold I had in late March (which forced the rescheduling of my planned gig at the Barley Sheaf in Liskeard to September) has left me with inflammation in my ears that’s causing me to have attacks of vertigo, particularly when I’m driving. Very scary. I’ve managed to organise trains for the UK tour, but I’ll still have to drive from Cardiff over to Ireland and then around Ireland once I’m there. If you spot a red Berlingo trundling along very slowly and carefully in the outside lane, that’ll be me.
On a happier note, Aled Jones played (for the second time!) a track from I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning on his BBC Radio 2 show in May – “A lovely voice this lady’s got,” he said. Very nice.
I’ve also recently had airplay on Fiona Ritchie’s Thistle & Shamrock, Radio ISW-FM in Germany, Folk Radio UK, Roz Larman’s FolkScene, Gene Shay’s Folk Show on WXPN, Death Valley Radio, KVMR, KBCS, WFRG, WPSU and several plays on Karen Miller’s The Miller Tells Her Tale, which can be heard on podcast as well as on kYouRadio.com and Radio Six International – see www.themillertellshertale.co.uk for more info.
Various reviews have been added to the Press page, including a lovely one from the US folk magazine Sing Out! as well as several reviews in Dutch magazines for which Renee Koopman was kind enough to supply English translations. Listed on the Calendar page are all the upcoming shows I've managed to upload. There are a fair few more still to be added, as I’m struggling to cope with the email avalanche, so do check back in a few months for more – I’m hoping that I can catch up with everything once the new album is recorded!