The end of May 2016 already. Wow. As always, things quietly happen in the background. Some things you plan for, some things you don't. Other times you don't know what's coming. One thing is certain though, (for me and probably many others) music is unpredictable. It's that element of course, that can create the 'excitement' with the flip side being it can be fraught with uncertainty. It's nice to have the 'buzz' of something potentially new and great to balance with the genuine poignancy of the end of an era.
Hankies ready. Edwin who has been my musical partner for the last three years has sadly decided it's time to hang up his guitar for the time being to concentrate on other work and his family. We played our last gig at a private performance in April . It's taken a long time to write these words. This decision for Edwin wasn't taken lightly of course and has been difficult for himself and me. I don't think i'll be able to share chocolate with anyone else at a rehearsal in quite the same way...yes these things are important. In all honesty, we have achieved a lot in three years,much of which has been documented on this site. For instance, Our Isambard Folk Award nomination or our first TV appearance on STV! We've written some pretty good songs I feel, which will be showcased. There is every chance we will work on unfinished songs too, so you could still hear Edwin in the form of his songs. For now, I think of the laughs on our travels all over the UK to various clubs and festivals. He's a great talent and has been a joy to work with and for those reasons he will be missed. I hope he will be happy. Thanks Edwin for three unforgettable years.
I'm not going to leave you on a low however. There is always good news ;-) Music really is unpredictable. I'm chuffed to announce that i'll be working with top guitarist Sandy Stanage from July onwards. Sandy is highly respected on the scene and for many will need no introduction. We will be looking to prepare for 2017, so keep checking the gigs page for new bookings. They are coming! More information about Sandy below.
It is my intention to be involved with one or two projects throughout the year. I'll keep you posted and will be sure to get the finger out with a few more blogs. In the meantime thank you to all of you for the support. It's always greatly appreciated.
So It's 9.30am (won't be when i'm finished this). Contemplating food. Breakfast is possibly my favourite meal, for all the wrong sorts of reasons. Sometimes the lure of too much grease where you can see your reflection on the plate is just too much...and you don't need a hangover to enjoy it neither.
Anyway, for some time, i've been asked the question about a "new album". When will one appear? In truth, as the album is self funded, it's difficult to answer. Unless you have wads of cash, then the leccy, gas , food and rent must take priority. Mind you, a tin of beans and a wendy hoose with a great album would also be something to consider eh? What I can confirm though, is that recording has started in a big way. There is nothing forced about it and more importantly, it feels right. The way the tracks are going it will be substantially different to 'Thoughts For The Masses'. Previously Bristol songwriter Jonathan Rowland had a massive contribution, so one notable difference will be that the majority of songs will be written by myself and Edwin. With potentially one or two tracks included by another surprise songwriter. Clark Sorley will oversee all production and meetings with him so far, have proved to be very exciting. http://www.clarksorley.com/ Still early days but the ink is flowing from my wee pen and musically, from a writing and creativity point of view, it's never been better. It's a slow process but I think it will be worth the wait. I have my note book and recorder ready for today. I have to take notions for writing and when it's forced it just doesn't work for me. The output generally speaking would be 'shit'. Pardon me. I also seem to work better when the place is tidy, which might inadvertently offer a clue as to why there aren't more songs :-p
June marked a return to the 'Arran Folk Festival' for me, this time with Edwin rather than Pastor Paul, also Stephen there too. What a time the three of us had. Great audience and treated exceptionally well by Arran Events. It was a pleasure to share the stage with the 'Scott Wood band' and 'Emma Sweeney and Jack Rutter'. All musically brilliant. I was a little worse for wear after the late night session...i'd do it again however. June also was great for the return to Glossop, for the third year in a row. It really has become a favourite place for us.
This month of August sees us make our debut at 'Stirling Folk Club' this Monday 10th August at 8pm. We are also playing at 'Crail Folk Club'for the first time on Thursday 27th towards the end of the month. So if you want to join us for that one, it would be great to have your company. Festival details coming up in a future blog.
Mon 10th Aug - 8pm - Stirling Folk Club - Stirling Rugby Club - Stirling , Scotland. Tickets £8
Thurs 27th Aug - 8pm - Crail Folk Club - Crail Town Hall - Crail, Scotland, tickets £7
My wee pen has never been so happy. It takes time to become or indeed call yourself a 'songwriter' and it's not always a title i've been massively comfortable with. It's a question of how prolific you are is it not? So when you know in your heart that new songs are a MUST, this spurs you into action. When it comes to the old songwriting malarkey, there is something between myself and Edwin that is definitely cooking. The smell and the flavours are all there! One of our songs, 'Time Stalling' was performed back in January on STV's Riverside Show. Today though, it really has been brought to life with a trip to the studio today. Clark Sorley, knows what the hell he is doing and having met him last week for a chat about where things should go...things became clear. However today was all about 'Time Stalling'. I heard the song in a way I hadn't imagined. This was exciting. We had guitar, violin, mandolin....and we had a clear vision. Vocals on wednesday but much more to come. This vibe, this feeling was true and spot on. Heading in a direction and happy to continue walking....
It came and it went in the blink of an eye, then it was over. What a memory though. Oh what a night, like the song says.
It started with a nice easy drive to Edinburgh, resulting in us finding a lovely wee cafe near the Queen's Hall. It was much too early for the soundcheck, so it was time to indulge. I had some sort of toasted wrap with jalapenos and steak. As always though, the distant rumbling of 'butterflies' could be felt. Even that early in the day. This opportunity tonight was to be massive for us and we knew it. I'd never have imagined this happening but it definitely was.
At 19.45 there was no more time to be nervous, we walked on to the stage and it was time to face the crowd that were waiting patiently for 'Rumer'. What a lovely warm audience, they laughed at my attempts at humour, they applauded enthusiastically and by the time myself and Ed left the stage, we couldn't have felt more appreciated. Rumer has a loyal fanbase and this showed as we watched Rumer's own show with the band. It was magical, her voice was as stunning as the recordings.
Great surprise to find some guys from 'Falkirk Folk club' had come down to show support! Brilliant. It was a seriously top night and we felt good. It was great to speak to members of the audience after too. This was a real high...
We are back at 'Dunfermline Folk Club' this coming Wednesday 4th March, so if you fancy popping through, The tickets are £6, doors 8pm starts 8.30pm. We'd love to have you there! :-)
January can be a bit of a month, either where you feel some hope (fresh year and all that, the possibilities) Or it can be downright depressing for some due to skintdom, perhaps no gigs if you're a musician. I think I speak for Edwin and myself when I say that this year (musically) has started in such a way, that we can't do anything else but feel hope for what's to come. Recent events have given us a real lift, even with empty pockets :-D
Some really amazing news and developments for myself and Edwin. Before the turn of the year we were booked for Celtic Connections for January 2015, that made us seriously chuffed and then further news came that we had been confirmed as supporting 'Rumer' at the Queens Hall February 2015. It didn't stop there however, as we were also invited to make our TV debut on STV's Riverside Show !
The TV show experience was very nervewracking, a completely different feeling from performing to a live audience. It's almost as if there is a magnifying glass on you. It really was such a buzz when the whole thing had gone well. We made a conscious decision not play any of the older more familiar songs. Instead, we selected three of the more current and yet to be recorded songs. 'Time Stalling' The Dreamer' and 'Unemployment Blues'. the live performance from 'Time Stalling' can be viewed here https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1022643164416373&theater
Out TV slot gave us a massive boost in opening for the 'Pearfishers' at Celtic Connections. After a flat tyre from Ed's car, we eventually arrived at the 'Mitchell Theatre' for the soundcheck on a particularly snowy night. So bad that one or two folk called off coming to see us, but we had strong suppport there. :-) the auditorium was packed and that's when I thought I would announce that I already had an experience of playing the 'Mitchell' at age 11, when I played the backend of a snake! Hearing the audience laugh at this, i've no doubt helped to alleviate some nerves and the set went without a hitch. It was great to feel so appreciated by such a warm audience. Even if a lot of them were not there to see us :) The Pearfishers then came on and played a blinder. Such a great sound.
The end of the month saw our debut live performance in Dumfries for the 'Big Burns Supper' festival. A small audience but a very lovely intimate gig and I hope when we return to Dumfries in March, we'll see even more faces. Stephen did a cracking job on sound and he captured some ace recordings.
Next up for us, is 'Clarks On Lindsay street' in Dundee. If you can join us, please do. It's a great music bar venue which we played last year.
Thurs 19th Feb - 8pm - Clarks on Lindsay Street - Dundee, Scotland - Tickets £5
I know, I know. Late again. I seem to be playing catch up these days, I get there in the end. There is no doubt that musically, 2014 completely surpassed 2013 for us. Two of the particular 2014 highlights I never got to talking about was of our return to Glossop at The Globe Inn last September. Jamie Knowles booked us again and we returned to a packed and wonderful crowd. I'll say it again, there is a vibe in that place like nowhere else i've ever performed before. If you can get to one of Jamie's nights, I strongly recommend it. http://www.theglobeconcerts.co.uk/p/about-globe.html
We were also booked for 'Ceol Cholasa' last September. Primarily a traditional festival but the organisers found space for us,alongside the likes of Belly Hardy and Battlefield Band. In reality, probably a bit of a gamble for them and it paid off. We were greatly received :-) Colonsay was a beautiful island and we made the most of our experience in everyway. I even welcomed the sunshine (I'm more of rain person). I missed out on 'biking' round the island with Edwin and Stephen. (Don't do bikes either you see). Not to sound like the tourist board but check this cracking wee festival out! http://www.ceolcholasa.co.uk/Ceol_Cholasa/Welcome_2014.html
I'll now be moving into 2015's blogs and more than a little excited to share what's been happening. Stay Tuned ;-)
This blog happened back in July, but as my laptop kicked the bucket, it never was posted. Thankfully and for some unknown reason, I decided to copy and paste that day or I really would have been tearing my hair out:-) I've kept it exactly as is and will get straight to writing a more 'current' rambling about what's going on.
Hello all, or to anyone having a sneaky wee read. Yes
you! My apologies that the last blog would have been back in March. I like to
think it's because we have been busy (which we have) but hopefully this should
fill everyone in about what's been going on and I must try to keep up.
It's July 1st, an incredibly hot day. Indoors and out and
my blog begins on a very sad note. After a four year battle with cancer and
poor health, my Aunty Caroline passed away late on Saturday night at the
hospice where she was being looked after. It's going to be sad for all
concerned including my mum. I someimes wish I could take the pain of other
people away. She was a true Glasgow Character, fond of a wee drink, and a song.
I expect merry mayhem up in heaven :) and may you rest in peace Aunty Caroline,
fond memories of nights at our house many years ago. They'll love you up there
It's been a quick year and the summer months are upon us.
A succession of folk club gigs and new experiences have given us real focus and
a burning desire to see the completion of new material and recordings. We
presently have started this process and recently aired our first Pauline/Edwin
song at Shieldbank Coffee Shop just last month (June).
With a suggested title of 'Time Stalling' by an audience
member. This was a lovely evening of stripped back acoustic music and we were
made to feel very welcome. The song writing continues and the collection of
songs will most likely take on a theme of 'Hope and Despair'. The hope and
despair also takes on a sense of realism as we toil with the affordability to
do a new album. Bills must be paid, life must be lived but hope is high.
April became very exciting for us with some unexpected
and amazing news.
I was travelling on a short break to Silloth with oor
Stephen and some friends,then news had filtered through that myself and Edwin
had been nominated and shortlisted for the 'Isambard Folk Award' through
Bristol Folk Festival !! We didn't go on to win but to be one of the 14 finalists
meant a lot to us, as did the support in the form of public voting. I can only
say a huge thank you again.
During this month we also experienced playing at
Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club and The Sunday Song Club at Clarks in Dundee.
Both left us with lasting memories . Kirkcaldy put on an artist buffet at the
end and in Dundee we had some chicken wraps made for us for the journey home.
It's only food I hear you say but the experience of being
considered and looked after as travelling performers, goes a long way ;-)
May has also made for some really exciting times for us.
The main highlight of May was being asked to support Dougie MacLean at the
Scottish Maritime museum, as part of the Festival of Museums. What a night this
was and an honour to share the stage,Dougie was very approachable and down to
earth. Not everyone is or will be. It was wonderful that the support acts, were
asked to join him on stage for an encore of 'The water is Wide' :) A lovely
night and setting.
Towards the end of May, some very sad news came to light
through Facebook land. Presenter of 'The Folk Show' on Bishop FM Terry
Ferdinand, sadly died after battling illness for months. His popularity on
Facebook, for me and many others remains unequalled. Passionate about music and
a great sense of humour and fun. His support of my music since
2010 I will never forget. Thanks to you Terry, I was able
to cross over to England. You played me more than anyone else I think. Hope
there is a Wetherspoons in the sky for you Terry. :)
If you are still reading....and I hope you are. June
provided us with the fantastic chance to make up for missing out on Alcester
Winter folk festival. Back in Feb, I was ill, sneezing to the max and
travelling all the way to Alcester seemed a waste. We were offered the chance
to come back for the summer folk festval only last month and what a time we
had. Few beers no hangovers....well not really ;-)
So much more to come....catch you very soon X
How mad is this....it's March and this is my first blog of 2014! It's a bit late for 'happy new year' but I hope Jan/Feb has been kind to you all !
Yes, busy busy! Lot's of gigs and experiences to speak of. January started of with us participating in a very poignant weekend concert for the 'Clutha' pub tragedy. Organised by 'Celtic Music Radio' and 'Saint Andrews in the Square'. The sad news not only had an impact on Glaswegians everywhere but people throughout Scotland and beyond. 'Folk for the Clutha' raised £3,455.78. We were proud to come along and do our bit.
Other happenings in the month of January included us being invited to perform at the Burns Cottage, in Alloway for the bards birthday. It was a huge honour and a bit of a surprise when the ITV news camera team came to do a feature. It's not everyday you see yourself on the national news! I was mindful of keeping my political thoughts to myself. It's always a good idea!
Another first for us was a performance in Edinburgh at the 'Wee Folk Club' in the Royal Oak pub. Don't bring PA they said....eh?? The fears were for nothing (again). What an intimate venue and a great night which myself and Edwin both enjoyed very much. There was something liberating about being perched on a bar stool and singing with no mic. You were so close to folks you could see the whites of their eyes! Brilliant. We will be returning this year, during the Edinburgh Fringe on 25th August. The month ended in a lovely way with a return to 'Falkirk Folk Club'. We previously had been there to support Barbara Dymock and Chris Marra but this time we were there for a full slot. All good banter and friendly heckling and a few CD sales!
February has proved just as busy for us, with little time to think between gigs. More folk club debuts including Stonehaven, Dunfermline and Rolling Hills. Delighted to have secured a second booking for Dunfermline in 2015. Another 'no PA gig. :-) It's amazing the unique experiences that each of these clubs have been bringing to us. Not one club is the same as the other and because of that you learn.
Round about the 9th February, I performed in my first live show with 'The Grand Gestures' at the CCA. This hugely exciting electronic project really has really provided a challenge for me musically. It has also brought together a variety of artists from the scene and that in itself, gives the whole project great influence and direction. It was a great pleasure to open the show with an unaccompanied version of my collaboration track with Jan/Dave Burnett. 'A Whisper of Sayonara'. I think it provided the eeriness it was supposed to!
Things had been going that well, that I wondered where the fly in the ointment might be! After travelling to Alcester for the 'Alcester Folk festival' on the 23rd Feb, I was sadly ill with a very bad chest infection/cold. It meant having to shorten our set list dramatically. A standby act was arranged and we decided after coming all that way that we would attempt a few songs. We managed three and it was such a lovely ambience and audience. So the 'Alcester' experience was slightly marred but memorable in it's own way. I even had a very hot curry the night before the gig, in the vain hope that I'd wake up and feel better!
The final gig of the month of February for us, was supporting the brilliant Shelagh McDonald at 'Troon New Folk Club'. Although I felt a bit shaky vocally with the cough clearing up, it went very well and Shelagh was hugely impressed with our set and took the time to come over and speak with us. Her own set was stunning and she ended with an unaccompanied version of 'Summertime'. All in all, hugely proud to have played support for this lady and I look forward to hearing her new album.
This month of March is pretty much going to be spent writing and working on new material....all of which will be detailed in the next blog. Watch this space :-)
Well that could be 3 folks or 33! Who knows? I frequently talk to myself anyway. Maybe I just think too loud. It's breakfast time and i'm thinking about putting on a tuna steak to eat. Fish is brain food so maybe not a bad idea. It's also freezing outside and i'm under a blanket as I type but I do enough moaning about blazing hot sun. :-p
So here I am, writing about Oct/Nov and December is nearly upon us. Halloween night on the 31st ended in the most amazing way for us with our first Folk Club gig in England at 'The Globe' in Glossop. Jamie Knowles who booked us, also looked after us and made sure we were ok every inch of the way. We were treated well and that goes a long way. This of course doesn't always happen. I choose not to document any negativity on this page, not because it doesn't happen but it serves no actual purpose. I daresay there will be at least one 'rant' someday! The gig at 'the Globe' itself was great. Loved the venue! I had a feeling about the place as soon as I walked through the door. The Raintown Seers provided lovely support. There was a very respectable turn out and the audience got right behind us. A very memorable night and experience all round. Such an important night for us.
The next morning we headed out to 'Stockport' to meet Rick Stuart of of Pure 107.8FM. We did a live session in 'Barista Cafe Bar' for Rick's 'Roots and Fusion' show. The man himself was a cracking guy and as mellow as i'd imagined! I really enjoyed our chat. The session is available and free to download below.
Edwin and I have been very reflective about this year and just how good it's been. There are a new batch of CD's available of the first album, due to requests at gigs. It's been nice to get CD's to folks who have enquired as far back as September! It is now time to get new material under way however. Edwin is already coming up with some gorgeous melodies and I have so far made a fair attempt to be 'pen happy' . It doesn't always flow for me, when i'm in the zone though, i'm there. I have high hopes about album number 2. It will be different but not to the extreme.
New blog soon....X
Free Download to 'Roots and Fusion' Live session at Barista Cafe Bar in Stockport
We are only ten days into October and already there has been much to reflect upon. Last month was our busiest and I feel it could be described as very successful, with both our folk club and festival gigs. It was nice to cross over to England for 'Folkstock' and we had a lovely feature in 'The Herald' the day before we left to perform.
This month of October started in quite a sad way and I can't not mention the sad and sudden death of 'Russ The FrenchFlier'. Russ James was a Facebook friend to many of us, particularly within various groups of 'Community Radio'. Based in France, and a passionate supporter of 'unsigned' music. I'm very grateful to Russ for his support and words of encouargement for not only my music, but my voice. He affectionately once refered to me as 'Voice of an angel, drinks like a fish'. An indication of his quick wit. Thank you for including my music on your show 'French Toast'. Russ, wherever you may be, rest in peace friend! We all miss you. :)
There are still very positive things happening musically.On October 7th the 'Grand Gestures' Album 'Second' was finally released, which includes my own wee Collaboration with Jan Burnett 'A Whisper of Sayonara'. The first ever 'Grand Gestures' live radio session happened on the 7th too! We performed live on the 'Vic Galloway Show' on BBC Radio Scotland. It was a very exciting experience for us all and particularly for me as I had never been in the BBC studios before. Great night ! :-D
Coming up this Saturday for myself and Edwin is a slot playing at the Glasgow Hilton in aid of a charity event 'Brightest Star'. It was set up to help broken hearted mums and dads. We are proud to do our bit and hopefully add something to the ambience with our music. At the end of the month on Halloween, we will be back in England in Glossop, playing at the 'Globe Inn'. Very excited about that, the following day we will be in Stockport for a live radio session with Rick Stuart of 'Roots and Fusion' Pure Radio 107.8FM.
Thurs 31st Oct - The Globe Concerts - The Globe Inn - with Raintown Seers Supporting - Glossop, England