I write to you from Perth Airport after a lovely few weeks in sunny (rather too sunny on certain days…) Western Australia. It was my second trip to the region after a successful visit two years ago and once again I loved it! It’s quite a unique place for me to tour because unlike most of my foreign tours which involve travelling from one city to another each night, the bulk of my gigs on the tour were in or around Perth. This meant I could actually really settle into a place for a few weeks and feel like I rather belonged there which I’ve rarely experienced elsewhere – perhaps Wellington in New Zealand was a little bit similar. My dear old friends Kira and Austin kindly housed me for the bulk of the trip which was delightful and as with last time Kira performed at Hills Folk Club (she is a fine singer/pianist who I went to university with) and we did a song together as well as her sister Jane.
In addition to the gigs, I was delighted to attend a couple of Irish folk sessions on my nights off which took me right back to my university days of going to tune sessions with some serious quality players. Special shout out to Derrick, Dympna and Phil. It was so so good to play jigs and reels all night again! It’s rather inspired me to dig out some more of those glorious trad tunes and concoct a few good clawhammer banjo arrangements. Might even do another book…
The gigs were a joy. I particularly appreciated the last gig in Woodlands being attended by Australian banjo legend Ian Simpson who I managed to catch up with over tea today! He’s a serious player and it was great to chew the fat about all things banjo. He even came to my workshop at Zenith Music during my tour as well. Not intimidating at all…Check out this classic clip of him in the awesome Sensitive New Age Cowpersons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep-ZTaREZyo
But…it’s always good to get home too. I’m looking forward to being reunited with my lovely lady and my friends and family. Lots of gigs to come with UFQ on tour in the spring and then in solo action throughout the UK (for the first time in three years) through May and June and two trips to Canada! Oh and the release of the live album…More to come.