It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks! Apologies for missing the blog last week, I shall endeavour to make up for it now.
My first gig up North was on the outskirts of York. I was greeted by a very lovely family and the largest amount of cake and profiteroles you’ve ever seen. Red Velvet, Chocolate, both absolutely enormous - naturally I had a bit of everything, with cream :-) luckily I waited til after the gig! The small crowd was made up of family and neighbours, which was perfect (though not nearly enough to get through the mountain of food), and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all and hearing some street gossip. The next day we went for a gentle walk along the wildlife trail (too gentle to walk off all the cake I fear) and then had a pub lunch - well looked after doesn’t quite cover it! Here they are, the spoon-whittling, rol-profitering bunch.
Next up was Bolton, and the largest amount of pie you've ever seen, oh and more cakes of course, and scones, brownies, cookies, and cupcakes (I’m starting to see a trend here - won’t be starving to death on tour any time soon, but may need to run/swim to Holland to get back in shape). Luckily there were more than 50 people there to help me eat it so I didn't feel too guilty. After we’d conquered the pie, everybody crammed themselves into a small marquee in the garden with blankets a plenty. I then did some serenading, answered some rather amusing questions and had an altogether wonderful time. It was fantastic to meet and chat to some serious Cambridge Folk Festival goers and general musos. Thank you for including me in your party!
My next stop was Guisely, just outside Leeds. The weather was perfect, so my host took me for a beautiful walk up on the Chevin, where I was surprised and very pleased to find out I'd been before on my support tour with Kathryn and Sean. We looked out over Otley and beyond, watched some dry-stonewalling, and had a cuppa in the sunshine before heading back to get ready for the evening. That night I played to a packed conservatory, and once again chatted to a very musical audience. No cake this time, phew, but plenty of delicious food all the same. Here are the fundraising scoundrels, who raised several hundred pounds for Marie Curie that night. Head to my Facebook page for more pics later.
The next day I met some of the hosts’ gorgeous grandkids, who I was very lucky to be befriended by, and we went for a wander around Bolton Abbey, once more in the sunshine. Thank you so much for welcoming me into your family, I honestly felt a little emotional when my new 3 year-old friends went off with their Mum. My host very kindly drove me into Leeds that night for the final gig of my Northern leg. I supported the brilliantly mad Rainbow Girls at Oporto Bar, before heading back and falling asleep immediately. What a trip! I'll remember it for a long time to come.
No rest for the wicked! When I got home it was straight into preparations and rehearsals for the final part of recording my Christmas single/EP “Turn On The Lights”. We were recording the choir section so quite a few people involved and lots to organise. Here I am with the usual suspects feeling in the spirit.
The single is being mixed and finished off today, whoop, so maybe I’ll give you a sneaky preview soon :-) Also in the process of organising the music video which is being filmed this weekend. The money made from downloads of the single is going to be donated to a military charity, so your help in spreading the word will be vital. More details to follow!
Back to the tour and this weekend just gone. On Friday I was in Kenilworth at the very cosy Tree House Bookshop. Thanks to Victoria and Tim for welcoming me into the land of squishy chairs. We filmed the first ever session for “Tree House Confessions” (watch this space), ate pizza and then I performed to a sell out audience, whoop! So good to see some of my Living Room Tour Hosts and friends there, even though they’d heard me just a couple of weeks before! You guys are the best! That night I was put up by my new friends Lewis and Charlotte who hold open mic nights at Tree House Bookshop. Top musical chat and an explore of Kenilworth Castle where they are starting a series of gigs. As ever it was a joy to meet you all.
I continued on my way and headed up to Spilsby in Lincolnshire for my next gig. Spilsby Theatre is a rather magical place I think. It’s in need of some love and attention (and funding as it’s falling apart in some places), but Bruce, who runs the place is gradually nursing it back to health with passion and dedication. Fingers crossed in 3 years time it’ll be as good as new! I was performing in the speakeasy style bar area with support from Suffolk based artist Fern Teather. The gig was organised by Andrew Skinner in aid of "Teenage Cancer Trust” and in the end it was a sell out so we raised £160 for the charity - well done team!
The final gig of the weekend was at Strawhouse Studios in Rugby. I quickly became best pals with Toby the Collie and was offered his favourite stick to throw in the park. My hosts were equally as accommodating and made us a huge and delicious roast lunch followed by home made apple crumble. I haven’t felt that full since Christmas and needed a bit of a lie down. Later, with my kit set up and the candles lit there were a few minutes left to mingle with the audience before a cosy gig commenced. Afterwards chat followed long into the evening along with a few bubbles and some cheese. The next day I had a bit of a tour around the studios and learned some of the history of the host's record label before getting back in the car and home to Gloucestershire.
What I have loved most about this tour is the variation of people and places. The only constant has been that everyone I have met has been genuinely lovely and happy to welcome me into their homes, families and lives. It's been an incredible few weeks and with just one house gig to go I'd like to thank anybody and everybody who has played even the smallest part in making this tour special. I really hope I get to do the whole thing again next year.
I'm off to Holland in less than 2 weeks time, aaaaaaaaaaa! Before I go there are still a couple of opportunities for you to catch me at a gig:
Oct 8th - Sofar Sounds, Oxford
Oct 9th - Living Room Gig, Whitminster
Oct 10th, 3pm - Instore at Rise Records, Cheltenham
Oct 16th - Forest Folk & Roots, Cranfield Bedfordshire - http://www.wegottickets.com/event/327972
So much excitement I can hardly contain myself! Also, there are whisperings of a new album on the horizon. Keep a look out for more details and ways you can get involved this weekend.
It's the final of Bake Off tonight - enjoy! I will - I know all about cake :-)
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