What an astonishing musical year! Through the Spring and Summer I collaborated with my friend and PA, Sara Vian from Graceful Solutions, to promote 'Darkling. We lined up a flurry of gigs and connected with the wonderful world of radio. By the Autumn, Darkling was ready for digital release.
After being advised by Sara to not release the album without a PR campaign in place I luckily stumbled across the wonderful James Soars, who put my work in front of the reviewers and radio DJs who might like it and the reviews started to roll in! Many of the writers made me feel truly seen and heard, which is a fabulous feeling and I even got lucky with a review in a national newspaper which was a landmark moment!
So what next? Last Autumn, amongst all the wonderful stuff, my dad died. He had been ill for a few years but for the last months my sister and I abandoned everyday life to go home and be with him and the family. Nothing in my life has been so hard or so transformational. I have been MIA for some months. Life is settling down now although I am often away from home with my mum.
My Dad was my greatest fan and what ever I do next will honour that. He has made sure I can afford to record another album and negotiations have begun. I will be in Josh Clark's studio, near Bath, in early January, but only for a couple of days as we get the feel of the new album. The whole thing will take a wee bit longer than that!
Ideas for new songs and the concepts which string an album together are beginning to emerge. This one will be about musicians, poets, painters, ne'er-do-wells, process and purposes. so expect smokey stories, slippery tunes and strange coincidences. Too shy to reveal more yet, or the working title, but it's coming!
Because these new songs are so much about musicians and because I have been so very solo recently, It felt like a forehead slapping epiphany moment when I realised that I had to get more involved; find a band, connect with my tribe. Of course! - I was driving the long road from Monmouth to Bristol at that moment!
So it begins and I am very excited about it.
Another influential meeting this year was with the soulful Mr Gabriel Moreno whose music and poetry truly floats my airship. He's been on my radar for a while but we finally met when I went down to London to play 'Folk in the Garden' in Deptford, a day long festival, arranged by Bo Bodium another great supporter of the arts to whom I owe much. Gabriel came to Frome to support my album launch and afterwards we played more gigs together as a double bill. Long may this continue.
I am firming up details for a further series of gigs with Gabriel around Frome, Bath and Bristol between March 16 and 21st. After that, I'm hoping to pull together a tour around Ireland where some of those fab reviews came from and in London where Gabriel will help connect me up with venues etc.
Another idea for performances next year comes at Josh Clark's suggestion. I intend to explore the world of house gigs; Intimate settings suit my music and this may be a productive way to go.
I also need to say a thank you to Sarah Larkham who invited me to open at her EP launch party. A great voice and a generous support. She also teaches singing if you would like to pursue that.
Much of the fun this year has come from being on the radio... on the radio... on the radio...
I think the guys who run community radio are heroes. Many thanks to Patrick Moss of Magpie's Folk Cafe in Frome, which is everything a local radio show should be, and to Brian Player, Tim Moon, Russ Evans and many more. You are twinkling stars in my firmament.
Thank you so much for coming to my gigs and listening to my music. I wish you all a peaceful year's end and a powerhouse of energy and joy in the year to come.