Tales from the Rails – back to the beginning

The Germany tour is nearly over, as is February 2016, all 29 days of it, and not a single blog post composed to accompany my travels. This is due to the fact that I have never before commenced a tour with a jet-lag. Over the last 20 days, I’ve flown to Amsterdam and back, flown to Kansas City for Folk Alliance, a music conference unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, and flown back to Europe to play a five day tour in Deutschland, only to stop over in London for one evening to host an artist session for the FAC. Hours spent on trains and planes passed me by in a state of demi-sleep. I fly back to England on Thursday and on Friday I get to go on tour opening for Thea Gilmore for five shows. I was fearful I wouldn’t make it through all the travels without falling ill or falling out of fun, but so far so good. I’m tired and my head is fuzzy (technical tour term, that), but other than that everything’s going well, I feel fine and, in fact, I’m really happy. If anything, the only thing that’s suffering is my personal life (for want of a better term… playing my songs to strangers is as personal as it gets really) – it feels like so long since I’ve seen my family and closest friends, I miss them and am finding it increasingly hard to stay involved in everyones life as much as I would like. Especially seeing as they are just as busy as I am.

It’s actually been a good while since I’ve felt this good about gigging in Germany. The three shows so far, two official and one private, have been great. Rooms, albeit it small rooms, have been full and audiences have been wonderfully attentive. I’ve been really well looked after and feel lucky to have met some really good folks (would usually never use that word, but hey, I’ve just come back from Kansas City). The wee Cafe Ententeich (that means duck pond cafe) was as welcoming as ever, the same lovely people in the front row as the year before. The Museumskeller was cavern-like, a great reverb in long, rectangular room, full of people who were open on taking a chance on something new (don’t think any of the ticket holders had ever heard of me before) and the lovely hosts of the living room show in Frankfurt who made me feel so welcome and did a fantastic job in hosting their first private concert. Today I’m en route to Düsseldorf to play at Barrensteiner Whisky Bar, which has sold out! Expectations are high on my part.. I had a brilliant time there last time (only a couple of months ago, but it already feels like a good couple of years!), I really hope I can make it as good an evening as last time.

live in Guntersblum - photo by Albert Hillesheim
live in Guntersblum – photo by Albert Hillesheim

I’ve been playing some of my songs for so long now, but something is about to change, I can feel it. Some of my new songs are forcing my old ones to step up their game. I’m remembering what it was like to perform at fifteen, eyes closed, concentrating on every note and every syllable of every word. For so long now I’ve paid so much attention to the room, fulfilling the entertainer role rather than the performer. If anyone is reading this who performs, I’m sure you know the sensation of zooming in on that one person at the back who’s frowning. I’m remembering that I don’t have to please everyone and that it is way more important that I please myself with what I’m doing. I want to forget where I am when I’m on stage and not be acutely aware of every movement in the room. I’m finding my way back there and it feels really good.

One Reply to “Tales from the Rails – back to the beginning”

  1. “….
    but it’s all right now
    I’ve learned my lesson well
    You see, you can’t please everyone
    So you’ve got to please yourself”

    Rick Nelson
    Garden Party

    Looking forward to seeing you Fri in Lpool

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