Happy Canada Day everyone!
No matter how many times I celebrate it with my lovely friend Brenda, it never gets tired and it always reminds me how many amazing musicians out there are Canadian. Speaking from my own obsessions, I love a bit of Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette (forever my inspiration), Loreena McKennit, Sarah McLachlan I mean the list just goes on and on and on really! And that's just the music! Let us not forget the amazing mounties, maple syrup, mountains, Brendan Fraser ugh I mean really what's not to love about Canada?
So I learnt a few covers for my set - I sing some songs every year at this amazing gathering - and finally after all this time, after all the suggestions, hints, emails I took everyone's advice and listened to Joni Mitchel. Wow. I mustered my way through a case of you... I think it was alright but next time it'll be better ;) Canada day also gave me the chance to cover some Rita McNeil, whom I grew up listening and trying to sing along to. I continue to be blown away by her voice but the music just stirs something, hope I can make music like that some day!
So I've had a grand ol' time despite a very bizarre week of tough choices. I recently had to leave a job as I need to work part-time (something about creative types...we seem to self-destruct via anxiety if we don't have enough time to roam free) so after 2+ years I walked away from working in a school and last week was my first day of my new job in a care home. I was excited and really liked the thought of really feeling like I was making a difference but after one day - I know right - overwhelmed by the paperwork and somewhat rigid schedule I just knew it wasn't going to work. I'd only had to walk away from a job once before and in that case it was because the GCSE class that dominated my timetable had taken it upon themselves to destroy the contents of my bag and classroom.... In other words it was a far more obvious reason. This time I had to let it go because my music meant more to me. With this new job I wouldn't have been able to gig as much let alone tour. Tutoring would go out of the window; it would have basically become my life. But I already have a life, and I already have a calling. It was weird and honestly I spent the whole evening in tears at the realisation that I couldn't stay. Friday came and I had to let them know (how embarrassing) but I also had band practice. Luckily I have a good friend in my Johnny Cash as he knows a head case when he sees it and clearly my mind was on other things. He drove me up, we got it done and he said "well you're still young, this is growing up" which gave me an immediate flashback to the blink 182 song (that I adore), 'Dammit' with the refrain I guess this is growing up. Yup!
So I realised I've waffled on now for quite sometime but I wanted you to get a feel for what's been going on and what's to come :) Album-wise all is recorded I'm just waiting on the mixes. Instrument-wise, I bought a Ukulele (shout out to Thomas Richards, yes it's because of your cover of Barefoot & Kissing). Gig-wise lots coming up in the fall starting with our Johnny Cash Tribute act at the Plough in Torrington (more dates to come). So yeah... it's a time of change but I maintain a good one!
Take care and stay cool in this crazy heat wave!
Where to start!
As you might've guessed I've been super busy over the summer and now into autumn and I finally have a spare moment to share with you what's been going on - although I'm sure you know already!
Let's start with Johnny Cash - always a nice way to start a sentence - so I've been working with Ian Holleran on a Johnny Cash & June Carter tribute act after a lightening bolt moment last Christmas of, "we both like Johnny Cash...we've both always wanted to do a tribute to him...hang on a minute!" So since the beginning of the year we've been rehearsing and now have several awesome gigs under our belt. We had a fantastic time at The Plough Arts Centre and were chuffed to bits to sell out the gallery. It was a great night with a lovely vibe and we particularly enjoyed singing 'Daddy Sang Bass' with audience participation! We're happy to announce we will return to the Plough next year on the 12th of April- this time in the main auditorium WOOP! - and tickets are available now from https://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/event/evening-johnny-cash-june-carter-roseanna-ball-ian-holleran-0
We've got a few dates between now and then where we'll be testing new material and just generally having a darn good time so keep checking our facebook page for the most up to date info :)
So aside from that what have I been up to? Finishing my brand new album of course! And I honestly could not have done it without Leigh at The Ariel Studios, Ilfracombe. It was a bit of a push to get it ready by the launch (as I neglected to mention I was off on tour about 3 weeks before the deadline) but in the end it all worked out perfectly and I have an album I am truly proud of. There are so many lovely things to say about it - vain ain't I? - so I'll try and paraphrase but I have some lovely men featured on the album including my good friend Mike Lake singing a song my father wrote (and I finished) called 'Who I am'. For years I have wanted to record that song and get it out there so that the whole world can hear something of my Dad and I feel completely humbled by the experience of hearing Mike sing it (and then Ian at the launch). It seems to be growing in popularity which I just know Dad would love so thank you for all the lovely comments about it, may Mr Danny Ball never be forgotten ;) As you may of guessed the percussive talents of Ian Holleran are also on this album, listen closely to the galloping rhythm of 'Here' in wonder - as I did! Ian is one of the most modest musicians I know and truly incredible so it was an honour to have him on 'Dust Off.' Last but not least I should mention the clapping talents of my fiancé Ben on 'Button' - we finally got you on an album Ben! Haha
Finally I should mention my autumnal tour in the North of the UK which took me to Liverpool, Edinburgh and Northumberland the latter of which I'd never seen before. It was a beautiful tour that admittedly did kick off which a mandatory trip to Alton Towers... [The Wickerman is awesome, Nemesis my old friend you are still brilliant]... I had some lovely audiences, some hilarious introductions - shout out to Leith Folk Club - and really did experience some wonderful hospitality: I have so much love for Cheviot Folk Club. The tour taught me a lot about myself and where I am in my life which I have to admit I didn't expect. I've come away from it buzzing and more confident than ever in what I do. A lecturer in college once said when they looked at me they could see that music was my life, music was everything, and I think that's something I have at times pushed aside but it's sprung back and it guiding my into the future and I have to say, life is so much easier when you focus on what you enjoy!
I finished the tour officially with the launch of Dust Off, which I realise is like doing a tour backwards but go with it... Thank you to everyone who came to St. Anne's Chapel as it really felt like we shared a truly special moment. I can honestly say it was the greatest launch I have ever had for an album and the love in the room was immense. I met a man at the end of the night who said the evening had been hugely positive and I'd managed to keep that going throughout the set. What a compliment! I was aiming for that so that's great to hear. I wanted us all to walk away from that chapel and feel uplifted and you all helped make that possible.
So there you have it, sorry I waffled on for so long but it's been a while. Hopefully I won't leave it so long next time! Thank you all again, I am always amazed when I step out on a stage and see so many familiar faces. Your continued support is incredible and I will keep making music for you!
So Easter was a blast! I flew to Egypt for some down time and had my mind blown by the history and tranquility of the place. We stayed in Hurghada and spent most of our time snorkelling with parrot and puffer fish along with a whole variety of silvers and shapes dashing through the blue. I was most proud of myself for finally having the courage to swim in deep water near boats and piers (I don't like dark water... or any water where I can't put my feet down) but I'm so glad I went for it. Special moments included finding a couple of clown fish and spotting a huge lion fish in a bay, yes don't worried we stayed clear of that stripey wonder. Aside from snorkelling we visited Luxor for one epic road trip of a day...in 31 degree heat. Now I'd already heard Luxor was home to Karnac and the Valley of the kings but nothing prepares you for when you actually see it. I felt like I was Rachel Weiz in the Mummy and just couldn't believe where I was.
I learnt so much about Egyptian history and culture, I was jotting down details in my sketch book as we went - and melted - in the temples. I'm sure something musical or at least poetic will come out of it because it was such a spiritual experience; taking a barge down the River Nile and spotting a crane feeding and water Buffalo having a drink with the city of the dead rising above them like some mythical home of the Gods. Incredible sights. We stopped at the Colossi of Memnon before exploring the tombs; a huge pair of figures once guarding a temple, now sat with birds all over the laps, that was a peaceful sight.
We meandered our way through the city of the dead, past Howard Carter's, and up into the colossal Valley of the Kings. Now I'm normally the first to avoid tombs - normally due to an overwhelming sense that they are there to rest and I shouldn't be poking around their remains - but the heat was so overbearing I was happy to get into the lovely cool tombs as quickly as possible. Then it hit me. The blaze of sunshine stuttered my eyes and when I opened them again it was like being in a palace. Walls made famous by national geographic were suddenly right in front of me and I couldn't believe it was real. I got out the sketchbook again and made some drawings (no photos allowed here without extra payment which I kind of liked, it felt like you were giving it more respect).
An absolute whistle stop tour of a day but one that has stood out for me. I shall definitely be going back!
Right onto musical endeavours then! Who knows what might come out of that little trip to Egypt? Anyway I'm sorry I'll stop waffling about my holiday.. I have some exciting dates for the diary coming up, I'm just keeping them close at the moment until they are fully confirmed and there are pictures to share. So in about a week I think I'll be announcing those. I've been working on putting bass lines on the new album so that gives you an idea or where we are. My method of recording is:
1. Get the bones down (guitar & vocals and percussion if available)
2. Overdubs (instrumental solos)
3.vocal overdubs (harmonies)
4. bass lines
7.duplication and celebration!
So as you can see we're nearly there! I've also been working hard on a Johnny Cash tribute act with my talented percussionist friend, Ian Holleran so I shall keep you updated with those dates too.
I've probably said enough now so I shall leave you in peace. Thank you for your unending support and for taking the time to read my rambles.
Love you all,