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Missing In Action

I'm just resurfacing with a pretty bad hangover from 2022. This has nothing to do with the music you understand, it was a conspiracy of other stuff but I'm over it now. Long live 2023. From the silence you'd be forgiven for thinking that nothing has been going on but not so. Music is most certainly going on, I've just been keeping quiet about it and while this might be a shrewd move if you're Adele, for ordinary mortals like me it's just stupid. So here's a quick round of the stuff should have been talking about.

Highlights of 2022

New band album, Have More Fun. This took a while to finish, we started it before the pandemic but it's 100% live playing and sounds awesome, though I do say so myself. You can find a 5 track EP on the streaming platforms but you can only get all 11 tracks on CD. If you don't have a CD player then bad luck!

Loads of gigs, solo and with the band. This was the first year of proper, post pandemic bounce back. Old venues, new venues, a couple of festivals during that amazing summer and more paid gigs than ever before. Not that I want to be judged on revenue but it costs money to create and perform music so it's good to see some cash coming the other way for a change.

The YouTube channel hits 100 subscribers. I revamped the channel and started uploading a series called Stories & Songs. I wouldn't say we're rocking the YouTube world just yet but it's great fun and seems to be finding a growing audience.

Live streaming is here to stay. Speaking of a growing audience, we all had to learn the art of live streaming during lockdown and the concept has stuck. I do one of these each month, the pattern is pretty reliable, during the event we may only see 15 or 20 people enjoying the show but in the days that follow we usually rack up several hundred more. I just looked at the show in December and it says 244 views. It's true that a 'view' might only be 3 seconds for Facebook but this is way better than your average pub gig and the views can be from anywhere around the world. On top of this I only need to walk the 10 paces to my studio to do it so I see no reason to stop.

Going live with the slide guitar. I bought a resonator lap steel in December 21 only to record with it, during 2022 I've been busy writing new material for it and playing it live. I have to say it's bit of a pain managing the standing up, sitting down thing but I love it and it's pretty much a permanent feature of my live shows now.

Mentoring. Through a charity spin off from The Ivors Academy called Help Musicians, I'm now volunteering as a mentor for young writers and performers. I think those of us that have learned the hard way have a responsibility to share.

Music at the Farnham Pottery goes from strength to strength. My co-host Peter Crutchfield and I have restored this monthly music event to it's pre-pandemic glory. The venue is spectacular, the talent on stage is amazing and the audience gorgeous so our shows sell out in a matter of hours. This means we can pay the venue, pay the musicians and raise money for local arts based charity; Creative Response. What's not to like?

Coming in 2023

New album of guitar instrumental music called Let It Slide. Written during 2022, it's now recorded, mixed, mastered and on its way to the streaming platforms as I write. The release date is Feb 14th so it might already be out there by the time you read this but you can get a sneak preview on my Soundcloud page. This isn't really for gigging, I'm hoping to increase my tally of streams. We'll see.

New solo album of brand new songs later in the year. This is mostly written (subject to any new songs I might write in the meantime) partially recorded and not mixed at all. So a way to go with this project but no reason at all to think it can't be done.

Songwriting masterclasses. You can see these in the upcoming events. I have three dates at the Farnham Pottery to teach one-day classes with the incredibly talented Eva Perrin Fontana. I love to teach and I love working Eva. This is a new thing so it's a bit scary but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yet more live and live stream gigs. I've fallen out of the habit of keeping my gig diary up to date but there will be plenty of these so I promise to do better.

More collaborations. I've been working more and more with other artists here in the studio. I don't run the studio as a commercial enterprise but it's great fun working with friends on their songs.

Re-boot the musical. You may remember I wrote and recorded Mamma's Lament during lockdown. I loved the music but the technical problems of staging a musical are overwhelming and quite frankly I don't know what I'm doing so I let it slide. Recently it occurred to me I could serialise it as a part of my Stories&Songs series on YouTube so that's what I plan to do. Who knows if it will bring it closer to a stage production but it won't cost anything so I thought I might as well do it as not. This is my moto for every music adventure when it comes right down to it. Something for a T shirt perhaps?

OK that's it for now, let's see if I can keep it up.


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