Firstly as you’ve probably noticed the video on my homepage has returned as a result of the wonderful news that Simmo’s youtube page has been reinstated after the difficulty explained in my previous blog. This guy’s archive of folk videos is nothing short of phenomenal and has been a wonderful promotion for so many of us so I just want to take this opportunity to thank Pete for everything he does.
Secondly and again on the subject of videos, there is a new video to be found on the ‘albums’ page which is a brand new preview of forthcoming release ‘The Same But Different’. Many thanks to Dennis Harrison for the filming, I hope it gives you all a bit of an insight into what to expect and I’ll be posting more on the subject nearer the time. If you’re not into the whole internet buying thing and can’t get to see me play to get one, I’m more than happy to send you one so send us an email if that’s the case.
Another little note, I’m delighted to report that my fabulous banjo pupil from Newcastle has got into Folkestra which is a youth folk ensemble run by Kathryn Tickell and is of a very high standard indeed. I’m so proud, I cannot begin to tell you. I never knew teaching banjo could have such rewards! Well done Bertie.
Right then, I must tell you about Warwick Folk Festival. It was excellent as ever and I had two gigs with the Pound which both went very well and the audiences were great. It was great to see Pat McGarvey again of the Southern Tenant Folk Union, a mighty bluegrassy band from Edinburgh who released the album ‘New Farming Scene’ a couple of years ago which is in my top ten albums ever. The title track of that album has been recorded by a certain banjo player from Stafford on his new album with his exciting new band. I’m assuming you know that means me right?
Anyway the best thing about Warwick Folk Festival was the wonderful surprise of Debby McClatchy being in the same concert as myself and Will. Debby is a superb American singer/banjoist and an amazingly charismatic performer who entertains everyone who sees her. I first encountered her when I was 14 at a workshop arranged by my legendary mentor George Davies. She was an inspiration to me then and is now and it was great to see her again.
Then it was a hideously early trip up North to play the Sage Gateshead yesterday afternoon which was a great pleasure and a trip down memory lane given my folk degree history! A really nice crowd anyway and a few CD sales in the box too. In the box? Is that an expression? It is now. Anyway in the evening Simma and I played Gotham Town for a covers fest which was a good laugh as ever. I realise by the way that while I mean Sunday afternoon by ‘yesterday afternoon’ by the time you’ve read this you’ll probably assume I mean Monday. I don’t.
Anyway, today (Monday, although it’ll be Tuesday by the time I finish this if I don’t stop interrupting myself) I was in the studio adding some banjo to an album of a man who lives in Dubai! It was good fun anyway and thanks to Adam Sinclair for putting up with me in the studio. Tomorrow I’m at the Hotspur for the folk session which I cannot wait for as I do miss the Newcastle folk tune scene then it’s two gigs in Durham. On Wednesday it’s Crook Hall and Thursday I’m headlining the Polite Room at the Gala Theatre before I return home for Stafford Beer Festival on Friday. Busy times which is good!
On a final note, the prized plank that is culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has uttered the following statement: ‘The stadia at the Olympics are very, very full’. No Jeremy they are not. The photos all over the press might give you a clue that they are most definitely not. You’re a pillock.