So it's been a few weeks since my trek up north and I've been trying to get back into the swings of things since then, somewhat literally last weekend as we decided we were overdue some fun and hit the rides at the Dorset Steam Fair. I love all things old and brassy and this place blew me away. I saw my first monster truck show, which included a quad bike jumping over a semi through flames as well as a monster truck tuck o' war... with a car.... it was truly epic but I couldn't help but fear for the life of the stunt guy whenever he was lining up his approach to jump. The best part, I admit, was when night began to fall and the traction engines lit up and came to life, what a magical sight, even if I was at that point being suspended from a giant, swirling joy ride from hell! Sadly there are no pictures of that ride but you get the idea.
Work has been quieter which has made me a bit twitchy. They say, 'the devil makes work for idle hands' and I guess I've gone into overdrive with crafting for my kickstarter rewards as well as recording demos. I know, I know... let's get 'Time' finished first and yes I have been working on that too! This weekend was spent dressing me up in a polo neck and getting some moody shots *channeling Savage Garden and pretty much every 90s spread in a fashion mag.* I'm very pleased with the results and very grateful to Nev & Jen for painting my face and allowing us to shoot in their home. I guess I can't wreck the surprise too much if I show you me messing around with ideas in the mirror before I left... This is pre-makeup, hence the filter ;)
You know what I've learnt from having someone else do my makeup? I know nothing about makeup... I showed Jen the three products I use before I go on stage and it must've looked laughable compared to her entourage of magic. I use foundation (and even then very sparingly), mascara and lip stick but I've been learning about concealer, blusher, eye shadow... there's a whole world out there to explore! Think I might get a bit dramatic at the next gig. We also made the mistake of celebrating finishing the shoot with roulette Doritoes... I should've known I would get two simultaneously and be the first to do so thus looking a fool in front of everyone when I gasped for water.
What next then? I hear you cry! Well I'm aiming for the Voice FM on September 26th 9:30am to visit the lovely Colin Slatter and play him some tunes to promote Appledore Book Festival - or at least that's my excuse, I just want to see Colin again :P I'm working on building up an interesting set for the gig and lots of friends have said they will go so I guess I'm feeling a bit like a kid who knows their parents are coming to see their play -- an extra need to impress and not go all doritoe-face on them... Appledore is my last public gig of the year so far, though I'm hoping I can squeeze in a few more, so I'm determined to go out with a bang regardless!
So there you have it, my antics in a nutshell :) Thank you for reading and for your support as always and I'll be back with more news soon,
Flashback to hours spent at school with Jenny perfecting our northern accents joost incayse we eva got t'chance ta take it for a test roon. Alas I just couldn't do it to you Yorkshire...
I sped up Sunday evening alone on the train to finish the album and was met by heavy rain, the kind that made wearing my shiny pink mac and getting copious amounts of I-can't-believe-what-she-is-wearing-stares completely worth it. My poor bag was getting soaked as I tottled down the road but thankfully the hotel was dead ahead and it wasn't long before I was met by that amazing room. Not only was there a soft, squishy bed but there was also a bath, hot chocolate and bourbon biscuits waiting for me. So that was breakfast sorted then...
Fast forward to the next day and the final stages of mixing began with Julie Matthews in her studio shed, or sted? ;) I met her very lovely dog Dillan and groomed him continuously - wrecking all soft furnishings in sight - while we tweaked some delays and fiddled with a penny whistle. There wasn't too much to do so I finished pretty early and then it was back to the hotel and my severe home sickness. It was like those first few nights at Uni where you just have that overwhelming sense of loneliness but at least I had facebook - Ben did his best to provide me with silly faces for comfort. Day two, as a result, dragged as the album only took an hour or so to master and then there was lots of sitting around listening critically to it. After three whole runs of it (2 consecutively I realised I had become immune and could not longer tell if the splosives on 'Out' were detectable. I'm sure I just looked wide-eyed and worn out! Sadly the train home wasn't until 6pm so it was a long wait but once I was on the final sheffield - tiverton stretch I felt a lot happier and began to rush through my Morrissey book. [I've been reading this for over a year in small segments as I enjoy it so much so that I don't want it to end].
When I finally got off the train, in the dark moody rain, I ran to the footbridge, shuffled behind another passenger and then ran in a very wounded fashion towards Ben on the other side. Think I sprained something what with all the tottling, running and shuffling! All in all I was a very wounded animal in the car on the way home, gorging on Dominoes' Pizza, and I've been recovering ever since.
I can however celebrate the fact that 'Time' is finally mixed & mastered and ready for manufacture and I still remain hopeful it'll be in your ears by October. I am still negotiating a launch date and things are still on the horizon, including Appledore book festival on October 1st. I'm toying with the idea of debuting a few new tunes and ideas at that one so it should be a good night.
So keep watching this space as there is most certainly more news to come and, as always, thank you for your continued support :-)
Broadstairs was brilliant! Allow me to explain...
After a six hour drive (saw Stonehenge at sunset, love it!) to get up there we snuggled, gratefully, into bed ready for a day of dodging flash flooding and thunderstorms although we weren't really aware of the imminent madness on the horizon... until a lightning bolt hit the bay the next day and Ken scarpered at the sound of thunder. I'm the kind of girl that grew up in awe of thunder and lightning but still retained some primal fear of it too so although it was pretty epic it was also a bit frightening, especially when the rain began to fall... but we'll get to that! Gig first :)
We had a quick look at an angry sea whipping waves over the small market on the front, checked out my first board walk and walked it (their sand is very yellow compared to ours) and then after we loaded up on an oreo milkshake - and heard the weather warning first hand - we headed over to the Sailing Club for my acoustic hour slot. What a great crowd! I think we packed that room out and it was so much fun. I'd been wanting to try out some new material and figured this was the set I'd try it in, thank goodness I did! The crowd were very warm and appreciative which has given me some confidence in my new banjo tunes. (Banjo tunes always make me nervous)
I couldn't resist opening the set with 'Red Sky' to suit the weather but half way through 'Seafaring Stranger' the sky literally went black and it felt like we'd been enveloped in chaos. Down came the rain, hard and heavy and soaked us instantly as we made a run for the car. I'd hoped to wear the same outfit for my evening slot but after that it was impossible! I was drenched! So we went back to our house-on-loan, someone had very kindly let out their house to artists for the festival, and I wrote two new songs on banjo and piano although I think I like the latter more. I never get to play piano enough as I don't own one so that was an absolute joy.
Fast-forward and night fell, time for the final main stage gig. Unfortunately the rain hadn't stopped falling and that thunder and lightning that had shuffled through the bay and rumbled away earlier had returned with a vengeance. Multiple powercuts later and we were told the electrician doesn't think it's safe to start yet, would I mind delaying the set. To which I replied, 'I don't think it's safe either!' I remember horror stories in college about the singer in big country being propelled backwards across the stage from a fault in the system so I didn't fancy that. Strangely though the sound engineer still looked on in amazement at my compliance! Anyway it got to a point where it was now or never so with a quick line check I got on stage and delivered my set. The standout moment for me was having us all sing Amazing Grace together, especially in that weather, it was as if time had stopped and we were just in that moment together. Magic.
Awoke the next day to the softest cat lolloping on my arm which put me in a good mood. After an 8 hour drive home the weekend went very slowly for us as we lazed around trying to regain some normality! Although I've left the roads behind I am hitting the trains next week to sheffield to try and finish the new album - which has been being mixed in the background this whole time. I'm hoping I can still make an October launch date but we'll see. Watch this space and wish me luck, been a long time since I've been on a train for that long so I'm expecting cabin fever...
Finally to everyone who came to see me, to everyone who bought an album and to the lovely people who gave us a roof over our heads for two days, thank you!!! You made the final folk festival of the season very special indeed and I hope to see you all again :)