It’s been a busy summer! In June I spent two weeks in Ireland finishing off my new album. There’s one day of mixing still to be done, which I have to leave in the extremely capable hands of my producer, Gerry O’Beirne, and engineer Trevor Hutchinson. Having already made two albums with this crack team, I know they’ll do a lovely job of finishing it off in September while I’m on the road, and I hope to have the album ready for release early next year.
Tentatively titled The Plum Tree and the Rose, it’s going to be a bit of a departure from my previous CDs in that the tracks are nearly all originals – three of them co-written with Gerry. To go with all those new songs I’ve got a few very old ones: ‘New Oysters New’, a canon published in 1609 by Thomas Ravenscroft in his Pammelia: Mvsicks Miscellanie, with my old friend Niamh Parsons and baritone Tom Barry singing the other two parts; 16th century Elizabethan composer John Dowland’s ‘Can She Excuse My Wrongs’; and ‘S’Anc Fuy Belha Ni Prezada’, a 13th century “alba” or dawn song in Old Occitan – plus a cover of John Martyn’s ‘Solid Air’.
Back in 2009, when I first came across ‘S’Anc Fuy Belha Ni Prezada’, I went hunting via the Internet for a transcription of the melody and a definitive version of the lyrics. I managed to track down a copy of a book containing them in the collection of one Joseph Baldassarre, professor emeritus at Boise State University. He very kindly scanned in the music and emailed it to me, then sent me a copy of a lovely album he recorded, as an eventual result of which he’s now scheduled to be the opening act at my gig in Boise on the 5th of October! It’ll be great to finally meet and hear him in person after two years of emails back and forth across the pond.
Other highlights of the tour include an official showcase at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) conference, as well as a gig at Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Café, where I'll be performing in the round with Louise Mosrie (who also has an official showcase at FARM! Louise was my roommate at the International Folk Alliance Conference last February, and she’s a lovely person and a great songwriter, so I couldn’t be more delighted), Peter Cooper and Ben Bedford. All four of us had No. 1 albums on the Folk DJ chart thanks to the sterling work of Nashville-based PR ace Kari Estrin, who’s promoting the show.
The final bit of news is that while I’m definitely going to continue touring as a solo performer, I’ve put a three-piece band together with an eye on next summer’s festival season. At our second rehearsal (in a friend’s converted barn here in Cornwall), we decided to set a few video cameras up on tripods to capture the band look and sound, and I hope to have the results up on the Music page within the next week or two, so keep an eye out for that!
Hope to see you at a gig down the road ....