I’m back in the kitchen in this little house on the outskirts of Berlin. This has been the warmest Christmas I can consciously remember. If it were a normal winter, we would have a delightful Siberian wind cooling the Berlin streets down to about ten below zero. Right now there’s not even a hint of ice or snow as I look out the window. Before we slide into 2013, I wanted to thank you for all your support and loveliness and share with you my wee summery of my musical journey of the past year.
The Real Thing
To start at the beginning; it is exactly 12 months ago that I met up with Gordon Raphael here in Berlin to discuss recording together. I love his raw and pure approach to capturing music and was over that proverbial moon when he replied to the first email I sent him on a whim. Only four weeks after the first meeting I returned to Berlin to record my first album. I’m so excited to share these recordings with you – I’m really proud of the songs and the way in which we bought them to life. We recorded 14 songs in 7 days (10 of which made it on the album). I’m delighted to announce that the album will be released this coming April 2013.
‘Red and White Blood Cells’
If you haven’t grabbed your free download yet then you can still do so from bandcamp. This song has been so much fun to perform live. Thank you so much for supporting the song and helping me share it with folks! A lot of you helped out by writing about it on blogs, etc. and I’d like to thank you all for your kind words (check out what Altsounds had to say here). I’d also like to thank Tom Robinson for choosing ‘Red and White Blood Cells’ to be featured on his BBC6 mixtape, the team at Q Radio for including it on the ‘New to Q’ play list and also to John Kennedy for playing the track on XFM.
My friend Graeme Maguire helped me create the music video, which you can watch here
Tales from the Rails
Equipped with my guitar and a rail card, I went on tour twice this year, zigzagging through the UK via train and bus, counting sheep and pepperland-like hillsides. The latter tour span across three months and also took me back to New York and Germany for a couple of shows. In total I had the pleasure of playing 85 gigs this year and I’d like thank you all for coming along, for booking and supporting me. I’m touring Germany this February and will announce the dates, along with more UK dates within the first couple of weeks of 2013.
Oh alright then…
If I had to say which of those 85 gigs were my favourites, I’d probably pick both Berlin shows, the lovely Hasenschaukel in Hamburg (which by the way means rabbit swing in case you were wondering…), the View Two Gallery in Liverpool, the American folk art museum in New York, the Cookie Jar in Leicester, Miss Peapods in Penryn, the Studio Lounge in Totnes, Oporto in Leeds and the Buffalo Bar in Cardiff. As for London, I think the single launch at the Old St. Pancras church and the show at the Slaughtered Lamb were my favourites as well as the two mini gigs at the Spiritual Bar (how’s that for an oxymoron?) in Camden. If you’re in town and haven’t been there yet, I highly recommend it – always full of lovely, music loving people.
One of my personal highlights was recording a live session for the evening show on BBC Wales. The presenter Alan Thomson is a huge Beatles fan too, so I really enjoyed chatting both on and off the air. They kindly chose to repeat the session on their ‘highlights of 2012’ show, so you can have a listen to it here for another couple of days if you like.
I hear in my mind, all this music…
The best thing about this last tour was meeting all these amazing musicians along the way. I had a fantastic time supporting the Paper Aeroplanes, Kimberley Anne and Catherine Feeny. If you’re not familiar with their music, please do yourself a favour and try to see them live!
For me, being in New York was most inspiring. I still can’t believe the amount of beautiful songs from ‘under the radar’ singer / songwriters I had the privilege of hearing in just ten days. I recommend you listen to Niall Connolly, the Sky Captains of Industry and Jasper Lewis.
From where I stand…
It’s been a great year, but I am well aware that I’m just at the very beginning of things. I want so dearly to improve, to write more and better songs and share them with you in as many corners of the world as possible… in the words of the nowhere man, “so little time, so much to know”. Thank you so much you’re your support, your patience and your many kindnesses. Whether you have just ‘tuned in’ a couple of days ago or whether you have been listening for much longer than last 12 months, here’s wishing you all the best for 2013. Happy New Year!!
10 things I did this year:
1. Sang into a Geiger counter that had been converted into a microphone
2. Ate plantain for breakfast
3. Fell in love with Judee Sill’s music
4. Felt at home in Brooklyn
5. Felt at home in Liverpool
6. Slept on a barge
7. Got transformed into an adventure time cartoon character
8. Went on holiday by mistake
9. Spoke about the future of copy right at the Re:publica conference in Berlin
10. Played The Kinks’ Dead end Street… a lot.