Aug
13

Automated machines?

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


Festival season has been in full swing though unusually I've also done a bit of UK solo touring, rare for me in the summer months. Firstly, let's bring you up to speed. The first weekend after my last blog saw festivals galore, firstly with Urban Folk Quartet as we played the Secret Garden Party down in Cambridgeshire. I have to say, the state of many of the audience allowed me to see why its kept fairly secret but anyway they seemed to have a very good time, as did we. The next day saw a solo jaunt up north to Hull to play Hull Folk Festival out on the pier. It was a lovely gig although I felt a very long way from the audience! Then it was off to Cumbria to play Music On The Marr on the Sunday with UFQ and that was an absolute blast! I even sneaked a solo set in during the day as well.


I should add that during this weekend, the banjo gremlins struck again as a troublesome pickup played up again which made the gigs rather hard work. Something had been wrong and several apparent fixes hadn't lasted! And so here I propose a vote of thanks to the wonderful Eagle Music shop in Huddersfield and particularly to Matt the banjo doctor. So many
Jul
18

We want the sport!

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


Well July has seen a milestone - yes everyone I am THIRTY YEARS OLD. Good god above. Yes my twenties are over and I am now allowed to be a slightly grumpy sod rather than prematurely grumpy. It's interesting to reflect back on my life thus far. When I was a little kid my dream was to be a performing musician so I guess I've acheived that. Admittedly not quite in the way I imagined back then - I probably had images of massive venues with people dancing and singing all the words etc. Of course the reality of playing the banjo not in Mumford and Sons and being into rather more 'niche' music has long since manifested itself but that's in no way a problem. At least I've had my bit of playing in the sorts of venues I'd imagined thanks to my guest appearances with the Levellers, Seth Lakeman, Joss Stone, Imelda May et al. Plus I appeared on stage with a Saw Doctor - four year old me would be over the moon and 30 year old me is pretty chuffed too. Just to clarify, when I say a Saw Doctor I mean a member of the Irish band the Saw Doctors not anything more sinister. That part of my act is yet to come...


Well that's a brief assessment of my life. I'll do the rest when I'm 40. Anyway, let's catch up. First after my last blog was a trip to Portslade in Sussex for a gig at Railway Roots. It was a right belter as well hosted by political songwriter and all round gent Robb Johnson as well as a ludicrously talented 15 year old opening act Anouska Marshall - big things to come from her I think. Owing to an illness for the organiser, long time favourite Hales Club was sadly postponed til another day so instead it was up to Cumbria
Jul
03

Finance departments

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


I write to you a little refreshed after a much needed 'light on the travel' week last week. I was feeling a tad burnt out, hardly surprising after a very gruelling few months. Nonetheless there was plenty on up to that point! After returning from the States it was straight back into touring because I am of course a very silly man. So the day after returning I headed up north to Sheffield, Doncaster, Swaledale, Northumberland and...er...Birmingham. The northern leg was a delight - Sheffield was an old favourite gig Nether Edge Folk Club which is always a blast and this was no exception. Then onto Doncaster on election night where I played to a small but perfectly formed audience at the Brewery Tap. Then Swaledale festival, a bloody marvellous musical extravaganza held in the Yorkshire dales which is always fantastic and we played in a beautiful church to 300 people who gave us a wonderful time. Thanks to Malcolm Creese, organiser extraordinaire. Finally, the northern bit was completed by a gig at Woodhorn Museum with the legend that is Alistair Anderson.


On that subject, pleased to say Alistair and I are releasing an album (finally!). Our live album will be available at Furness Tradition Festival in Ulverston next weekend and then on the Sunday night at Coquetdale Music Trust in Thropton, Northumberland. Alistair is a bona fide legend, having been one of the leading ambassadors of folk music around the world throughout
Jun
06

Thank you USA

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,

Well I write to you from New York from where I am, incredibly, soon to fly home. I can't quite believe this wonderful tour is over and I am actually genuinely sorry that it is. I enjoyed the UK touring I did prior to coming out here very much but this tour has been really special. Right from the opening night in Soquel, the gigs just seemed to click with audiences really loving the material, enjoying my English-ness (seriously being English over here is great!) and showing such a keen interest in the stories and the techniques and emotions in my music. I came away from each gig feeling so pleased and to boot I had some great times with my hosts, some of whom I knew previously and enjoyed hanging out with them again.


All that has largely been reported in my previous blog but that was before the Midwest Banjo Camp which I have just taught and performed at. It was an honour and a privilege to do so. It dawned on me as I got there - here was I, the only non-American, about to teach and perform alongside many of the finest banjo players in the world. I can't deny the nerves did kick in a touch especially when I realised that the faculty concert would involve 20 banjoists, one after the other, including me! I was anxious to make a good show and it seemed like I did which was lovely! You can see it on the Midwest Camp's facebook page as the whole thing was captured live on video. The lesso
May
30

Tell me how much to pay!

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


I write to you from the Deering Banjos factory in San Diego, California. It is the birthplace of my banjo who is currently getting a bit of love and attention from people who know how to build, repair and maintain instruments as opposed to...me. The Deerings are a great family who've been very good to me so it has been a pleasure hanging out with them for the last few days, even taking in a visit to San Diego zoo.


The gigs here have been a real joy this time. Not that they weren't last time, but whether it's just I feel rather more relaxed because of no visa problems or whatever it is I feel like the gigs have been particularly good here and I am feeling really happy. Special thanks to everyone who has hosted a gig, put me up, fed me, given me a drink,