No, not another "farewell tour"; not even a "good bye" of any sort; just a quietening down and a chance to re-order priorities. Thirteen years to the day from writing my first "official" song (May Memories Never Fade, how apt!), I decided that it's time to stop pounding the motorways, and so from the end of June I will get off the gigging circuit and make room for others – with some exceptions, see below.
I have essentially achieved what I wanted to achieve and more – the songs are "out there" and travelling on their own now. I was only ever in it for the songwriting, and performing was just a means of spreading the songs. I have "said what I wanted to say" song-wise, and I don't want to hang onto the bandwagon just for the sake of it. I may write some more – or not; whatever; I feel no pressure.
Meanwhile the folk club circuit is getting busier now, with many really good young acts ( Sunjay Brayne, James Findlay, Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin, my mate Jim Causley etc). I don't want to be clogging up the works or taking any work from them (to the extent that I ever could, anyway), not when I don't need to be doing this for a living. Plus, I want free time to have the odd holiday without worrying about gigs dotted around the calendar higgledy-piggledy, to have more time to be with Vanessa, to see some friends while they are still around and to go back to visiting clubs for singarounds – back to my roots, as it were. And then there is always that songbook I keep threatening to put out. I might even try my hand at production or radio work, should a chance come along.
One thing I definitely want to do is to give more time to the Folk21 initiative, supporting folk clubs and small venues. I owe a lot to folk music (more than most of you will ever know), and I want to give something back. For this reason I will still give the occasional no-fee performance to support an ailing or new folk club, or a couple of my local festivals that have been so good to me over the years. Of course, if a one-in-a-million opportunity comes along, I might rescind (hear that, Albert Hall?).
But apart from that, my remaining gigs are
2 May Saltburn Golf Club, Guisborough Road, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 1NJ
30 May-1 June BAMFest, Bedale, Yorkshire(Three Coopers concert: 9:00pm - 9:45pm)
13 – 15 June Wimborne Folk Festival
20 June Valley Folk Club, The Ivy Bush Hotel, 103 High Street, Pontardawe SA8 4JN
23 June Conwy Folk Club, The Royal British Legion, Rosehill Street, Conwy LL32 8AF
Needless to say, my gratitude to all that supported my musical endeavours over the years will always be way more than I can ever repay. Too many to mention here, but a few names do stand out:
• Johnny Collins, without whom I might never have started, and whose passage through my life will always warm me.
• Robb Johnson, Martin Atkinson & Doug Bailey, who did their best to tame my outpourings into something listenable
• John Breeze, my best unofficial (and unpaid) promoter
• Jim and Giulietta, who earned the title of unofficial fan club co-presidents
• Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, John Thompson & Nicole Murray, my two favourite couples in the world – as performers, as collaborators, but most of all as friends. THANK YOU FOR THE FUN!
And I will be around, I am not dropping out!
... As long as someone sings a song, as long as someone listens,
As sure as summer follows spring and sun will rise and set,
And even when we are long gone, this story's never ending.
As long as someone sings a song, it isn't over yet.
KEEP MUSIC LIVE - (and support Folk21)