It’s a new year. Different from the last one as it has been assigned a different number. So far I’ve found that it’s been quite an active one. I was lucky enough to get a trip to Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand with Faustus in January where we played the Cygnet, Illawarra and Aukland Folk Festivals, respectively. An amazing adventure, we managed to escape the horror of the fires that Australia has been experiencing, only seeing the evidence in smoke. People were obviously quite shocked by the extremity of it all, hard to imagine the scenes they’ve had to deal with.
I find the flora and fauna fascinating over there as it’s so completely different from the UK, especially the bird life. Different sounds, different colours and huge variety. They do fly in a similar way – with their wings, in the air – and they generally seem to have feathers.
Anyway, it was a great excursion and it only took a week or so to get over the jet lag. I’m not sure the human body was designed to go from winter into summer and back again in a month…
After about a week I went off on tour with Seth Lakeman, whom I haven’t toured with for some years. He asked me to be involved in the project ‘A Pilgrim’s Tale’, the story of the journey of the pilgrim fathers (as they became known) to the Netherlands then over the Atlantic in their ship, The Mayflower, to the new world in 1620. Seth and I recorded the album in a day in Devon (with others sending in their overdubs afterwards) and the music will feature (played live) in a theatre production at The Theatre Royal in Plymouth in June as part of the ‘Mayflower 400’ celebrations. 400 years you see, 1620 to 2020. That’s just quick maths so it could be different if you did some proper sums. What ensued after they arrived over there and the many Europeans that followed them is, of course, another story.
Also on tour was Ben Nicholls, Seth’s regular bass player (a colossal individual, in musical knowledge and capability as well as stature) and Alex Hart, a new collaborator for me, whose singing is exquisite; phrasing and harmonies joyfully and satisfyingly precise. All were a pleasure to tour with, and it was great to be on the road with Seth again. The ‘Pilgrim’ band will be playing for the theatre show as well as doing more dates later in the year.
Back at home (what is that?!) and back to some practice of my own for Excess gigs in March and April as well as for a live session with Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6 Music. Also prepping for a tour with Rowan Godel in Feb/March; she has her debut album ‘Where The Wild Horses Roam’, produced by Al Scott (Levellers/Oysterband) finished and ready to sell at the gigs, check out the dates with her trio (with Tim Cotterell) here https://rowangodel.co.uk/live-dates/ Rowan is an excellent singer and songwriter and the album won’t disappoint.
I don’t think I can find anything else to drone on about…
Been a bit of rain about, the title of this piece is inspired by it, in case that wasn’t obvious enough… (overuse of the ellipsis?)
Quite a concoction of climatic variety that the world has received lately.