A week's tour, 4 gigs, two countries - what could possibly go wrong? Well, we nearly didn't make it out of London, let alone to Holland or Germany. John's van (John is the wonderful John Matts, who was on guitar, backing vocals and driving duties) I was assured, had just had a full service and £700 worth of work done to make sure that it was ship shape for the tour. Nevertheless there was a strange knocking sound coming from what sounded like the front right wheel, which, though ignorable at first, seemed to get worse and worse very quickly as we were driving towards the outskirts of London. So bad in fact that we pulled over at a services, John checked all the tyres and pumped them up again; we drove a bit more; the knocking was still there. We pulled over into a side road (I should mention that it was tipping it down with rain). John rang the AA - we were told a 3 hour possible waiting time. It was already 9:30 at night and we were hoping to reach Harwich at a sensible hour to get up early the next morning for a 9am ferry (that's very early in musician time btw). It looked like we might not get there at all.
John got down on his hands and knees to look under the car and puled off a huge bit of non-essential plastic that he thought to be the problem. We cancelled the AA and drove on, but didn't get far as the sound had somehow got even worse. We called the AA again and were given a slightly shorter waiting time. We listened to September by Earth, Wind and Fire on repeat to try and cheer ourselves up and discussed the worst case scenario (having to drive back to mine, dump the van and take my car which wouldn't fit all the kit in it).
The AA guy eventually arrived and took a look at the wheel - nothing seemed to be wrong with it that he could see and nothing he could do for us at the roadside. We'd have to drive it back and take it to a garage, i.e. worst case scenario. Our heads drooping, we got back in the car and started our potentially loud and slow journey back to mine. We got 10 metres before we realised this van was definitely not safe to drive. I waved at the AA man to come and help us again. When he pulled up, he said he'd been screaming at us to stop driving because he could now see the problem. It was the other front wheel and it was wobbling all over the place. On further inspection it turned out that we were missing 3 wheel nuts, yes 3, as in there was only one left on the wheel my side, and that one was loose. The guys at KwikFit had somehow forgotten to tighten the nuts on one of John's new wheels and we were about half a mile from losing the wheel completely - arghhhhh, scarily close call through someone's absentmindedness! Anyway, our AA guy then took a wheel nut from a couple of the other wheels to add to my wheel and after all of the drama we were soon on our way to Harwich singing along to Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again". What a crazy start to the tour, the rest of which went off without a hitch :-) Thanks to everyone who hosted us on our travels and gave us a stage to share some tunes.
I hope you've been enjoying August's CD and are ready for something a bit different from September's limited edition, "Honestly". See below for little preview video of my cover of A&E by Goldfrapp. All the tracks this month come from electronic bands, but I've recorded them in my own acoustic style. Here's the full track listing:
Laura - Bat for Lashes
A&E - Goldfrapp
Glory Box - Portishead
Let Me Love You - DJ Snake, Justin Bieber
With Every Heartbeat - Robyn
La La La - Naughty Boy, Sam Smith
There are a few copies left, which you can snap up via my 12 Months of Madness page http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness. Get in there quick as I'm sending out the first batch tomorrow :-) Thanks again to Martyn Royce for the awesome cover art.
My final piece of news is that I'll be performing at the BBC Goodfood Tower of London Feast this Saturday. The full festival runs from 22nd-24th, but I'm only performing on Saturday.
That is all :-)
I hope you've been enjoying "Hide" EP! Click here if you haven't yet seen the live video for "Never Been In Love Before", here if you'd like to buy the CD, and here for downloads and streaming.
Welcome to another month of madness! We've got a real treat for you to start the summer with happy ears. June's 12MoM limited edition is called "The Trio Sessions" - an album of specially chosen songs from my back catalogue, re-recorded live as a trio with Jasmine Scott Neale (cello, backing vocals) and Matt Park (guitar, pedal steel). It's a great opportunity to revisit some pre 2017 songs that I still love to perform at gigs, and record them with a different vibe and sound.
Preorders are now open and there are less than 40 copies available so get in there quick!
If you're interested in hearing the band and I talk about "Hide" EP and hearing some of the tracks on the radio then you're in luck! I'm going to be the "Main Event" on BBC introducing in the West tomorrow night with John Oldham. Tune in to BBC Radio Bristol from 8pm Saturday for the full broadcast - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radiobristol.
Last weekend I had 3 fantastic sold out gigs - Uxbridge Folk Club, Hindhead Golf Club and a beautiful art gallery in Swanage called the Old Stables. If you were there with us I hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did and welcome if you've just joined the mailing list! My first gig at a golf club and an art gallery and I'd thoroughly recommend both! The day after the Swanage gig, Jas and I were treated to breakfast on the seafront by our lovely hosts - it doesn't get much better than that. Don't forget, we're back for Swanage Folk Festival in September!
This Saturday (tomorrow!) I've got 2 gigs in Lewes, East Sussex courtesy of Union Music Store. I'm supporting Cale Tyson at Union Music Store itself (FREE ENTRY) at 3pm and then again in the evening at the Con Club, 7:30. Fingers crossed you can make it to one of them!
Tickets for the Con Club here - ow.ly/mpcR30cbHa4
Last but not least, Jas and I would love to play a Living Room Gig for you on June 22nd, somewhere between London and Leeds. Let me know if you're interested and check out my house concerts page for more info http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/house-concerts.
Just 8 days to go until I can share my new songs with you, whoop whoop!
Click above to see a clip of the live video for "Never Been In Love Before", recorded by Peter Waterman and filmed by Ian Wallman. The full video will be out on Monday!
I'll be joined by my exceptionally cool band members, Jasmine Scott Neale and Matt Park (both in the video), at both launch gigs! London has sold out but there are still tickets available for the Stroud launch on May 19th! Details below on the poster and tickets available from Patrick in the shop or here (scroll to the bottom):
"Hide" will be out on all the normal online digital platforms as well as on CD. If you pre-order your CD before the launch via my 12 Month's of Madness page you'll be one of the first to receive your copy along with a signed band photo - there are less than 20 of these left! http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness
Lastly, I'm playing a duo gig with Jasmine in York this Saturday evening, for which there are only around 4 tickets left!
Super happy to let you know that my second album Young Runaway will be arriving in vinyl later this month and is available to preorder now - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness!
Good news - if you're a 12 Month's of Madness annual subscriber you've already ordered it at half price, yay!
Jasmine and I had a blast playing 8 gigs in Holland over 10 days. To my new Dutch fans I'd like to say welcome, and thanks to everybody who hosted us or came to see us live over the past few days. We're already planning our next trip in September! I hope you caught some of our gigs live streamed on Facebook if you couldn't be there. Here are a few pics of us doing our thang. Sight-seeing included a day in beautiful Delft, plenty of walks and a trip to a musical instrument museum.
Just before heading out to Holland I went on a 5 day songwriting retreat in Brighton, called Pro7ect. It was a brilliant experience staying in such a creative bubble with a group of warm, talented and enthusiastic people. Some amazing songs were written as well, some of which you're destined to hear later this year!
If you subscribed to a whole years worth of CDs, don't forget you've got 2 free tickets to a gig of your choice. Email me which gig you'd like to come along to and I'll put you on the guest list - firstname.lastname@example.org!
All my gigs are listed here - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/current-gigs
Tickets are selling fast for my EP launch gigs in May.
Over half have already gone for the London show on May 20th:
For you Stroudies and Shire folk, I'm play at Café Meme on May 19th - tickets:
Last but not least, I've been nominated for the folking.com rising star award and would hugely appreciate your votes - http://folking.com/the-2017-folking-awards/ - scroll right to the bottom of the page to vote (category 7) :-) and thanks for taking the time to support me!
And just like that, January was gone! This year is going to fly by at this rate.
I hope you wonderful 12 Months of Madness orderers have now received your copies of “on the corner”, January’s Limited Edition CD. The great news is that February’s CD is already in the making and you can preorder it now! Apologies for surprising you with it a day early, but I’m at an all day conference tomorrow. I reckon you won’t mind getting a head start since there are less than 50 available this month due to the popularity of the annual subscription!
So, the moment has arrived. February’s limited edition is called “17”. It’s an EP of songs that I wrote back when I was 17/18 years old. I’m re-working and re-recording them to bring them up to date with where I am now. It’s amazing to dust them off after all this time! Here is the link to pre-order your copy - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness or to read up on what I’m talking about if you’re feeling completely lost.
Also new to my 12MoM page http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness is the sign up for my HOUSE GIG LOTTERY (right at the bottom). This gives any of you based in England the chance to have me play a full concert in your living room for the bargain price of £12. I’ll be picking one lucky winner out of a hat via live stream in the next couple of weeks. All of those (in England) who signed up for the 12MoM annual subscription, will be automatically entered into the draw - monthly subscribers will NOT be automatically entered. This lottery is to celebrate the announcement of my UK house gig tour in April. Send me an email via email@example.com if you’d be interested in hosting a gig at your house. All you need is a living room and a few friends/family/neighbours to join us!
Last weekend was a busy one as per usual! A brilliant duo house gig with Jasmine near Hereford followed by a full day of recording with Jas and Pete.
Next weekend I’m playing a SOLD OUT gig as a trio in Shrewsbury at Henry Tudor House. Can’t wait to see you there!
Also coming up in February:
Feb 11th, 7:30pm - Stroud Subscription Rooms, solo, supporting “world music” band Spiro, tix £15 - http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/spiro
Feb 18th, 8pm - St John’s Parish Hall, Kingston, duo, tix £8:
email Tony Hardy via firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb 25th, 8pm - Under The Edge Arts, Wotton Under Edge, duo, tix £9.50:
See you very soon!
Your mad friend,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope 2017 brings you health, joy and prosperity. In order to keep you amused throughout the year, I've made a crazy New Year's Resolution...
I'm going to bring out a new limited edition CD every single month this year as part of a project entitled 12 Months of Madness!
Here's how it works (http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness):
12 months, 12 different themed CD's, 120 copies of each, £12 per month.
I'll be bringing out new recordings each month, whether it be a 14 track album, an EP, or a single with a B side. Some months the songs will be covers, others it will be my own material. Some months the recordings will be of just me and my guitar, others will have the band and full production. Some months I'll be asking you for suggestions of what you'd like me to record within a theme.
Most months the music that comes out will only be available via the 120 limited editions, the exceptions being when I bring out official release EP's (probably only 2 months out of 12), and in those instances the songs will also be available via online platforms. One month's release will be a vinyl version of "Young Runaway" rather than a CD. All CD's will be released with properly designed and executed artwork in card wallets. All of them will be signed.
Mailing list members will get first dibs!
Announcements of each month's release will go first to my wonderful mailing list members and then to fans on Facebook and other social media platforms, so make sure you subscribe via http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/follow so as not to miss out!
There are two options for ordering:
EITHER you can wait and see what is available each month and order CD's individually for £12 (inc P&P) as and when they appeal to you.
OR you can save time and subscribe for a full year's worth of CD's now (12 month subscription closes at the end of January). By choosing this option you also receive a special 13th limited edition CD at the end of the year that won't be available to monthly subscribers. The package also includes 2 free tickets to a 2017 gig of your choice, half price for vinyl month (everyone else will be paying £24 for that one month), and free entry into my house gig lottery(more details to come in January). Obviously, the more people that choose the full year's subscription, the less individual month's CD's there will be available, so by pre-ordering all 13 now you don't risk missing a month when they sell out quickly. And if 120 of you decide you'd like a yearly subscription, then the monthly option becomes unavailable.
January's release is called "on the corner" - a 14 track CD of the songs I play when I busk:
1. People Get Ready
2. Kathy's Song
3. Put Your Records On
4. Just Like You
5. Fields of Gold
6. Sweet Baby James
7. Sacred Heart
9. Your Song
10. Autumn Leaves
11. Angie Baby
12. Turn Me On
13. I Know You By Heart
14. Christmas Lights
We've made a special page on my website just for this project, so head to http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/12-months-of-madness to find out more and/or place your order! There are different options for UK and international residents.
In other exciting news, I've been nominated for 2 awards!
The first is Laurel Canyon Music's "Album of the Year 2016" and it's judged by poll so I'd hugely appreciate your votes! If you're not already a member of the group on Facebook, you need to join it and be accepted (this doesn't take very long) before you can vote - https://www.facebook.com/groups/239076686265807/ - thank you in advance!
The other nomination is for Fatea Magazine's "Female artist of the year 2016" alongside Kate Rusby and Kelly Oliver. This one is decided by a panel and will be announced on January 13th.
As far as January gigs go, many if them are Living Room Gigs but there are a couple that I hope you'll be able to come along to:
January 14th, Kirton in Lindsey Town Hall, Lincolnshire- http://kirtoninlindseytownhall.co.uk/events/hattie-briggs/
January 21st, St Michael's Church, Galleywood, Essex - 07510 053841
Lastly, a few words to round off 2016.
For me (forgetting politics and celebrity deaths) it has been the year of Holland and America, of album number 2, having my face on the shelf in HMV, playing at the O2, of broadsheets, song commissions, coffee, sellout shows, performing as a 7 piece, meeting musical heroes, making new friends, discovering Foy Vance, giving up sugar in my tea and many other things! Like all my 23 years so far it's been filled with ups and downs that I'll remember for a long time - mainly the ups. I'd like to thank you - family, friends, fans for helping me celebrate the ups and get through the downs. As this year comes to an end I'm still just as in love with making and performing music as I was 3 years ago when I decided to go full time. I am so ridiculously excited for 2017 and the plans I've told you about above! I hope that you are happy, healthy and ready to smash it next year. I don't know about you, but I reckon 2017 will be a good'un!
Luck and love to all of you ❤
My Christmas EP is officially launched! Thank you to everyone who celebrated with the band and I last Thursday in Stroud. It was huge fun collaborating with Natalie Holmes, The Black Feathers, Asha McCarthy, Jack Cookson, Jasmine Scott-Neale and Matt Park. Fantastic to catch up with old and new fans and friends and to reminisce on how far I've come in 3 years. Your continued support means the universe to me and I truly felt the love in that room. What a brilliant start to Christmas.
If you didn't manage to get your hands on a physical CD you can now download or stream it via all online platforms. Here are a few:
iTunes - https://itun.es/gb/XXZggb
Amazon - http://a.co/2ov8r6b
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/album/2DmNsfLKhmy0YdWfT35uxC
Also since I got back from the US! It really happened, Jasmine and I played at The O2 London's Brooklyn Bowl to 800 people and loved it. As soon as I came off stage I wanted to go back on and do the whole thing again! What a fabulous audience - thank you so much for your whooping, your laughter, for being so smiley and coming to say hi afterwards. I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome back from the States. I hope you enjoyed watching the live stream on Facebook if you couldn't be at the gig.
I went to a fun Musician's Union networking event last night at the Houses of Parliament. There was a surprise appearance from Jeremy Corbyn, and I met Sandie Shaw. Swapped CDs with Strictly's Dave Arch. Also bumped into the lovely Blair Dunlop and Will and Gareth from Hunter and the Bear :-). Not bad for a Tuesday evening! Also while in London, I've skated at Somerset House for the first time and been to my first ever football match, 3-0 to Spurs against Hull - I've become an honorary Spurs fan it seems.
In January I have some fantastic gigs coming up including:
Jan 14th - Kirton in Lindsey Town Hall - http://kirtoninlindseytownhall.co.uk/events/hattie-briggs/
Jan 15th - Harpenden Tennis Club - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/current-gigs (ticket link at the top of the gigs page)
Jan 21st - St Michael's Church, Galleywood, Chelmsford (email me for tickets - email@example.com)
Also excited to tell you that I'll be heading off on another Living Room gig tour in April! It truly doesn't matter what size your house/flat/garden is, it's the people in it that's important :-) Who fancies hosting a gig? For more information on how these intimate shows work, check out http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/house-concerts
If you're at all interested/curious about inviting me to perform in your living room, please pop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dutch fans, I'll be heading out to The Netherlands in March as a duo with my cellist/backing vocalist, Jasmine. Let me know if you'd like to host a house gig, or if you have any venue suggestions.
That's all for now :-)
Well, this is later than I thought, but I’ve been busy (no change there)! Before I finish my US tales, a quick reminder of my fabulous Christmas EP launch coming up in Stroud this Thursday, don’t miss it! http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/whats-on/christmas-hats/
The EP will be out everywhere online on Friday!
Where did I pause, oh yes, Washington DC...
So Washington DC is stunning. And I’ve never seen so many ginormous and beautiful monuments in such a (relatively) small area! After walking around for 2 half days, I still have so much to see next time I visit! I played 2 gigs in Washington, one of which was one of the stand out gigs of the tour - David’s house gig. This was a relatively last minute affair as David was hoping to come to another gig of mine in Washington, but happened to have tickets for Elvis Costello the same night, oh dear, priorities! Anyway, it worked out so much for the better as David (who happens to be from Cheltenham, UK) decided that since I was only in Washington for 2 days, he’d better seize the day and put on a house show himself! Having worried about the size of his flat and the number of people he could fit, we ended up with 23 people including the British Ambassador (!) and his lovely wife, who works at the same school as David, all sitting on the floor in the living room (except the Ambassador and a couple of others, who got chairs :-)). This is why I love music so much! It brings all sorts of people together who wouldn’t necessarily meet/mingle in any other situation, and levels everyone out, breaks down social barriers and creates amazing memories and stories! Since David’s a Brit, there were also lots of guests speaking the Queen’s English, which was actually quite a relief so many weeks into the tour and deluged in election madness! What a delightful audience this bunch was :-) Thank you David for hosting such a wonderful gig! The other highlights of the Washington stop included catching up with an old friend and having a private tour of the Capitol Building, not too shabby!
We then caught the train to Raleigh, North Carolina, but were shocked and saddened when our train hit and killed somebody walking on the tracks. We were held up for about 3 hours and got chatting to the guy opposite us. Turned out he also works in the Capitol building and knows the guy who gave us the tour! His wife was picking him up from where we’d stopped as they didn’t know how long the delay would be. They kindly offered us a lift to Raleigh as they were heading there themselves Thus we ended up in beautiful Raleigh. The gig I played in Raleigh at Sola Coffee House was another favourite of the tour. Such warm people and such chatty people! I hope I relieved a little of the election stress!
We also checked out Durham while we were in the area and then drove to Asheville for a couple of days. Yes, Asheville, not Nashville - saving that for next time. Really cool place Asheville, if you ever get the chance to visit. Lots of regeneration going on and a fantastic music scene. I didn’t have a gig booked in there but couldn’t resist an open mic night at Ben’s Tune Up. It was actually the first open mic they’d done there and it was just the host and I who signed up so I think I played for around an hour in the end. Before leaving Asheville we had to check out Biltmore Estate as we’d heard rave reviews from so many people. It was well worth the visit! Built by George Washington Vanderbilt ll from 1889 to 1896, this French Chateau style palace set in the breathtaking scenery of North Carolina was unforgettable, especially around Christmas time - I have never seen so many Christmas trees in one room, let alone one home!
We headed back to Raleigh for a bit more exploring and to hear the results of the election. Our poor hosts were distraught by the result. Then it was back on the train south to Charleston, South Carolina. To go South, we first had to head North to Wilson, stop over for 3 hours and then change trains. It was Veterans day that day and the place was like a ghost town - nothing much open on a national holiday and it’s a struggling town as it is. We wandered about and then headed into one of the only restaurants in town that was open. We were the only souls in there and got chatting to the hostess who was extremely friendly. Somehow we got onto talking about how on our way down our train was delayed when we hit someone on the track. It turned out that it was her first cousin who got hit by our train and the burial was the next day. I didn’t even realise that Wilson was the town where we’d stopped - small world, sad world. The man (her cousin) had been out drinking with a lady friend and both were drunk as they were crossing the tracks. They didn’t hear the train. He managed to push her to safety but was killed himself.
On to happier subjects! Charleston was one of my favourite city’s of the tour, probably because it feels very English. Cobbled streets in places, multicoloured Georgian houses, courtyards, a high street, pedestrian market place, need I say more? We were just passing through, but checked out a couple of potential venues for next year, yes please!
The tour came to an end in Florida where I ended on a high of two fabulous gigs! Arlene’s house gig in Coral Springs and then Sofar Sounds in Miami. I think the audience at Arlene’s clicked with my music the most of any gig of the tour, and that’s saying something as I was blown away by the reaction at all the gigs. The hospitality was incredible and I feel extremely lucky to have met such kind, open hearted people. Arlene even hooked me up to play on Michael Stock’s well known acoustic/roots radio show in Miami the next day, which was an added bonus! The Sofar Miami gig was also brilliant. Set in a Yoga studio near the beach and with a pro sound engineer sorting the sound/recording on the night, it was the best quality sound I’ve ever had at a Sofar gig and the audience was lush, totally into the whole thing. What a fabulous gig to end with!
The next day was our final day before flying home, so the obvious thing to do was to go and hang out with the alligators in the Everglades - alligelfie?
And then it was time to say goodbye. Alfie looked pretty upset about it. Hard to believe I played 21 gigs, visited 11 States in 9 weeks, took 5 flights, 5 cars, 4 trains, 2 buses, 2 bikes, 1 boat and 1 hitch!! I had the most epic and amazing time, did some crazy things, made wonderful memories, spent time with family and old friends, made new friends, lost faith in humanity, got it back again, and witnessed history in the making. A truly unforgettable two months that I fully intend to repeat next year. I'd like to thank anybody and everybody who had any involvement in the tour, from suggesting good venues, to hosting a living room gig, to housing and feeding complete strangers, to advising me where the best fish tacos are in town. Your generosity and kindness blew me away and it is you, the people, that I will remember most about the trip. Keep safe, keep smiling and keep in touch.
No, I wasn't pulling your leg, I'm actually going to be playing at The O2 London on December 3rd! Not in the main bit, but in the 800 capacity Brooklyn Bowl supporting country duo Ward Thomas alongside CC Smugglers. This is huge for me and will be my biggest London gig to date by far. The bad/good news is, it's already sold out, so I'm afraid if you missed my posts on Facebook and Twitter, you're too late, but nice one if you got in there early!!
So Trump is going to be president...but the good news is that the world hasn't actually ended (yet) and I'll be back in the UK long before he takes over. I've seen some pretty stony faces here in North Carolina and most people we've come across seem to be in a state of utter disbelief, followed by anger, followed by deep sadness. The opinion of our hosts is that their country will be set back 50 years at least, and that many policies that have taken decades of work and negotiation to implement will be torn up and go to waste. I really hope that they're wrong and that America can thrive against all odds as I've loved being here and fully intend to come back next year.
On a positive note, tickets sales for my Christmas EP launch at Stroud Subscription Rooms are going really well! Thanks to all those who have already decided to come and celebrate with The Black Feathers, Natalie Holmes, Asha McCarthy and I (and my band)! Grab your tickets here if you haven't already, and don't forget to tell your friends - http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/whats-on/christmas-hats/
The EP itself is also selling like hot cakes! There are only about 30 limited edition CDs left out of 100. Thanks for your support on preordering this as usual. It's amazing to know that I can make new music and you're there to help bring the project to life! Here are the details and PayPal link in case you've missed them til now - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/christmas-ep along with the option of having Christmas cover of your choice recorded just for you in December :-)
January is looking pretty busy for gigs already, including a return to Harpenden Tennis Club on January 15th, this time as a trio! Ticket link at the very top of my gigs page - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/current-gigs
US adventures continued...
...so having reached LA we were lucky enough to stay with a lovely relative of ours in Thousand Oaks just outside the city and go backwards and forwards to various places over the next 2 and a half weeks. Gigs included Soho House on Malibu Beach, Sofar Sounds LA, Big Red Sun in Venice, a house gig in Thousand Oaks and Hotel Normandie in Korea Town.
Soho house happens to be the private members club of various celebrities (I didn't know this before going there), including Gerrard Butler, who gave me a $50 tip! What made my night though, was meeting Peter Asher, formerly of Peter and Gordon, who had a number 1 with "World Without Love" in the 60s. Peter was the man who discovered, produced and managed my hero, James Taylor for many years. He came to my gig out of curiosity, stayed til the end and asked our friend to introduce us after. He is the warmest, loveliest guy, and we chatted for a while about James and then who he is working with at the moment, including Elton John and Hans Zimmer. I had a crazy epiphany moment after he'd gone, when I realised that if it wasn't for him discovering, believing in and working with JT, I probably wouldn't be here right now. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
The Sofar gig was in the garden (yard) of a beautiful house in Santa Monica. There were lights in the trees, rugs and cushions on the grass and an extremely friendly audience to make the evening a special one.
The other interesting gig tale is of the house gig in Thousand Oaks. This was a very last minute affair. I was on a run at the weekend when I suddenly thought it would be really cool to do a living room gig for our host, Claus, my first cousin twice removed, as a thank you and to celebrate our time together as we were leaving at the end of that week. I stopped and asked a friendly looking neighbour across the road whether he'd be up for attending a house gig of a random English girl he'd never met/heard of, and he said he would be - I decided I'd like to make it a street party! After convincing Claus that this was a good idea and that we'd do all the work (furniture moving etc), all we needed were some guests to come along on the night in question, Friday. Claus invited some local friends but this wasn't going to be nearly enough to fill his living room. Flyering neighbours never works as people get so much junk mail anyway, therefore I decided inviting people face to face was a much better idea, especially as I was a complete stranger to them, and the nearer the gig the better so that they didn't have time to forget about it. I had never done any cold-calling in the UK before, let alone in another country, let alone during an election campaign, let alone 4 days before Halloween so that everyone's houses were decorated with creepy pretend dead things. But hey, you gotta start somewhere! The night before the gig I set out on foot at around 6:30pm with a flash light and some paper invitations/flyers to try and gather an audience. I walked up and down the street for an hour and a half in the dark knocking on strangers doors and telling them who I was and what I was planning to do. When somebody came to answer the door (often with suspicion), I started my spiel with a promise that I wasn't selling anything, and that this had nothing to do with politics or religion - not a single door was closed on me. It's amazing what you can do with a big smile, a British accent and a little charm. After I'd got round the whole street I had a few definite "yes"s, a few "we'll think about it"s, a couple of "sorry we have plans"s, and one "try the house next door, they like music". Pretty positive I thought, but still no guarantee that anyone would actually turn up. I'm proud to say that after a slightly nervous wait the following evening, we had 17 people in Claus' home, (many of whom didn't know Claus, or the other guests) to see me perform. It was one of the best nights of my tour. Everyone made new friends, and some discovered old ones - two people who used to run a business together 20 years ago live two doors down from each other and had no idea until the gig that they now live on the same street). They were an attentive and enthusiastic audience, were intrigued by my story and what we were doing - some think I'm mad (they may be right). Most of all they were amazed and inspired by the fact that music had brought this little community together. There was laughter, there were tears. It's nights like that that I'll remember for the rest of my life, that make me love my job and make all the hard work so worth it. Here's to cold-calling!
Other highlights of the LA part of the tour were trips to Las Vegas (I've never seen so much excess), The Grand Canyon ("grand" doesn't cover it), and San Diego (insert Anchorman quote here), where we made some new friends including George the Bernese Mountain Dog. We also visited the Getty Museum and various other LA tourist spots. Next was Washington D.C.
I shall pause my tale here as I didn't anticipate how long this blog would be. More to come in the next few days!
R.I.P Leonard Cohen
Until next time.
Howdy! Hope y'all are well :-)
Apologies for the radio silence. I am half way through my 2 month US tour and having the most amazing time so the moment has come for an update and some travel tales.
Before I regale you with my adventures, I have a couple of important announcements regarding my plans on return to the UK...
...I have just had the mixes through for my Limited Edition Christmas EP, "A Winter's Day", which I'll be launching at Stroud Subscription Rooms on December 8th:
It's a 4 track EP including 2 completely new songs, my cover of Autumn Leaves and a remixed version of Turn On The Lights! All copies of the CD will be numbered and signed and we're only printing 100 so get in there quick before they're gone! I can't wait to share it with you guys. Here's the link to preorder http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/christmas-ep
With regard to the launch gig itself, I'll be hosting the evening and sharing the stage/collaborating with some wonderful local artists including The Black Feathers (https://theblackfeathers.com/), Natalie Holmes (https://www.facebook.com/natalieholmesmusic/) and Asha McCarthy. The vibe will be Christmassy to say the least and there'll be lots of surprises, laughter and tears as well as mince pies and mulled wine. Tickets and more details here - http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/whats-on/christmas-hats
For dates and details of my US gigs which are being added to the website as they are confirmed (more to go up tomorrow) - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/current-gigs, feel free to email me with questions.
Now, we'd be here all night if I went into detail about everything I've done on this US tour so I'll try to be brief and let the pictures tell a thousand words each (try being the operative word).
We started in Florida, where it was 90 degrees so we spent a lot of time on the beach or in air conditioned rooms. Some very generous friends leant us a soft top VW Beetle with eyelashes to drive around in so we explored a bit of the area including Corkscrew sanctuary where we could hear the alligators calling but couldn't see them, eeek. The same friends organised a beautiful gig for me in their local chapel, which had the best acoustics and sound system ever (check out my Facebook or Instagram feed for some little videos we recorded there). I caught a tan and then it was time to fly to Boston!
Highlights in Boston included discovering how brilliant Uber is, catching up with friends from my days teaching at summer camp in Maine, walking round the city, visiting the aquarium, taking various boat and bus tours, playing a wonderful house concert and making new musical friends, and seeing/getting to know relatives who I hardly ever get to see. I also learned a fair bit about the history surrounding the 4th July, the Patriots and the Minute Men. From Boston we took a train to Connecticut.
In Connecticut we stayed with some lovely friends who happen to also have the surname Briggs though we're not related. Even more coincidentally one of our hosts is called Peter and his middle initial is S - my dad is also Peter S Briggs. While there I played a gig in a cute little cafe called "The Kitchen Table" in Pound Ridge (they also made the best latte of the tour) and wandered around the beautiful countryside. Also drove past a lot of incredibly huge houses including Ryan Reynolds'. Popped into New York for a couple of days on the train to explore and play a Sofar Sounds gig. Highlights included going up the Rockefeller building, visiting The Met, The Harvard Club, 9/11 memorial, Central Park, walking The Highline and all round Manhattan and topping it off by seeing The Lion King musical on Broadway. Shame there's not more to do there.
From New York we jumped on another plane to Oakland near San Francisco where I played two house gigs in San Rafael and Los Altos and then busked at a farmer's market in Stonestown. Also celebrated Oktoberfest while in the area and went to see a Helio Sequence gig with our wonderful hostess, Nancy. We couldn't leave without going into San Francisco itself, so we stayed in a hostel downtown for a couple of nights and walked around Union Square, up to the top of Lombard Street, round Fisherman's Wharf and Embarcadero, round Golden Gate Park where we visited the flower conservatory and the Japanese Tea Garden and anywhere else our feet would carry us. Walking is the only way to get to know a city!
From San Fran we got a shuttle bus south to Monterey where we went for a glorious walk along the coast to Lover's Point and beyond to watch the sunset. The next day we visited our second aquarium of the tour, and this one was even better than Boston's! Having realised after we arrived in Monterey that Pacific Coast Highway buses only go south at weekends apart from during the summer (and it was midweek so we were stranded), we were extremely lucky to get into conversation with a German family who happened to have not only space in their car, but also the exact same plan as we had for the next few days, and the generosity to give us a lift. It was a bit of a tight squeeze, but after seeing all the fish, sharks, sea otters etc we piled into their back seats and headed off toward Big Sur national park, where we stopped for Coffee at Cafe Nepenthe and the views were spectacular. The sun was going down as we wiggled along the highway with the sea stretching out into the distance to our right. I've never seen so many Ford Mustangs in my life - next time I'll have to drive it in a swanky car. Just as we came down from the mountains we stumbled upon a beach absolutely crammed full of elephant seals, so we stopped there to watch the sun set. What hilarious creatures they are, honking, bonking, and sleeping all piled on top of each other ("there's a song in that" - I know you're thinking it). Anyway after it got cold and dark and the smell was no longer bearable we continued on to San Luis Obispo. Once again the luck was with us and that night happened to be the night of the weekly evening farmers market, which was amazing, so we ate there and listened to some live music on the streets before heading back to the hostel and collapsing into bed. The next day we wandered around the Mission then got back in the car with our new German friends for another day of adventure. This included a picnic on the beach at Santa Barbara, then a wander round the pier and downtown area. From there we drove the final couple of hours to LA where I currently reside.
I shall pause my tale at this point and return to it in a week or so's time as I realise that your lives only partially revolve around me and that you may have other things to do with your day. In case you don't, here are several very well recorded live sessions that have come out in the past few weeks and that you may have missed if you don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Enjoy! xxx
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