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The Sandy Denny Project + other news!

[Photo taken at Otley by Gerry McNeice]

Here is the news at a quarter past mind.

The Sandy Denny Project is doing lovely gigs! Last weekend we played two gorgeous venues to packed out audiences in Otley and Selby.

Some of our friends came even. E.g. Tracey and Gill. I think they quite liked it a lot. We liked it a lot.

We are me of course, on piano, banjo, trumpet and vocals, Sally Barker on vocals and guitar, Marion Fleetwood on vocals with her fiddle and guitar (hey that’s IOTA!) – Mark Stevens on drums, Mat Davies on bass and PJ Wright on guitars and vocals. It is great fun and we are singing really interesting songs which Sandy either wrote or sang during her career. We also have 4 lead vocalists which makes a change because the audience get to hear different people fronting the songs. Plus we do lovely harmonies in 3 or even 4 parts.

I get to play the banjo and everyone makes predictable jokes about the banjo – band and audience alike – I do not know why people make jokes about banjos and drums and hurdy-gurdys. But well why do they never make a joke about guitars? Or about a violin. Or a piano even. 

If anyone is reading this who has seen me play the trumpet I use for this and if they are wondering what kind of trumpet is it? Well because it is quite small and they might think is it a piccolo trumpet or what? Well no. It isn’t a piccolo trumpet or even a different trumpet from normal except that it is a small trumpet in Bb called a pocket trumpet. So well yes that’s intrestifying isn’t it? 

Anyway. We are looking forward to playing lots of gigs and our most recent booking we got is for The Great British Folk Festival at the end of this year. Brilliant! We love that festival. 

You get to stay in chalets. (You are not allowed to call them chalets anymore they have to be called something else but I think it is good publicity to call them chalets actually so they should go back to calling them that in my opinion.) And you get to see other bands and people what you know and hang out with your friends in possibly the snow. You can’t get out though because there are electric fences all round the whole resort to make you stay in. Like in Jurassic Park. I tried to get out once but there was a enormous deckchair barring my way. But there is a swimming pool with a big whirly chute thing what you can slide down apparently. Also lots of bars. So you see you can have lots of fun at this place even if you are maybe not a fan of Butlins.

And of course there is SANDYFEST

– one of our most important gigs of the year as it takes place near us at Byfield village where Sandy performed her last gig. This is on APRIL 18th and is fast selling out so get your tickets soon. It is a sit down gig and we play Sandy songs all night!     

[Photos below by John Twigger at Selby] 

In the meantime I have gigs with IOTA

This Friday at Sevenoaks St Edith Folk Club and then Wychwood Folk Club at the end of Feb.

Also gigs with Sally Barker in our new duo.

We are touring the songs on our album ‘When I Wake Up’ and we’re playing Bradden near Towcester, The Green note in London, Bromyard and Birmingham. 

Then a few solo gigs –

Here’s one in March for Green’s Norton which is near Towcester. In my solo gigs I mostly sing my own songs like Sailing Boat and The Quicksand Hornpipe and Bring Me Back My Feathers and Zero Inches…and… I also play lots of more instruments like the trumpet I been talking about and a bicycle pump and maybe even a straw. Plus more guitars. Sometimes I bring chocolates for the audience even if there are already some in the raffle. Did you know that sometimes people win chocolates in the raffle and they don’t even share them round? Also I play music for the raffle if there is one because the raffle is quite importanty and it really does need music to go with it. Or even I sing the raffle. IOTA does this too sometimes.

Finally – I’ve been asked to join The Ballads of Child Migration 

(Link shows 2017/18 tour). It says on Radio 2 Folk Show that 2015 saw the release of The Ballads of Child Migration: Songs for Britain’s Child Migrants, a specially commissioned collection of fourteen songs by leading British folk musicians which brought a focus and public awareness to a dark chapter of social history. Who’s involved? Well – my friends Chris While & Julie Matthews, and Jez Lowe and Boo Hewerdine, who I know from playing with Eddi Reader – and others! They sing songs and tell the real stories of children who were sent away from Britain, because they were deemed ‘deprived of a normal family life’, to other countries right up to the 1970s. At the moment I don’t know very much about it but I will be playing accordion, banjo and possibly other instruments and I know we are playing at Shrewsbury Folk Festival and that there are some more gigs happening around that time. I’m really excited to be asked to play!

So all in all – lots happening and more gigs are just coming in today…

Anyway – got to go now because I have to photocopy a napkin.