Thursday 22 November 2007


I have nearly finished recording tracks for the new album- Next Tuesday will be the last session and the very talented Charlotte Eksteen will be traveling down from London to add her cello parts to the mix. It's both exciting and daunting to be at this stage- Martyn has done a fine job as producer and has also added various instrumental offerings... So on to the mixing job over December and hopefully a shiny new album will be ready for release early next year!

I really enjoyed the various gigs and folk that I met last month- Particularly the Bournemouth crowd, and also the Chattery in Swansea- opening for the fabulous Kirsty Mcgee and Matt Martin- do check them out if you get a chance they're great! I Haven't booked any more gigs this year- as I'll be joining Bill for a Primary schools tour- with art and music workshops over December... But am planning lots more shows with the launch of the album next year... watch this space I guess...

And Finally-
My song Super Glue, is being released on a compilation album made by Dave and Debbie Bainbridge called Songs For Luka 2 to raise funds to enable their son to continue with the Sonrise- programme centre for autism.
here's the blub below-
At 2hrs 20mins long and containing 25 exclusive tracks (out of 30 in total) it has definitely been worth the wait and is tremendous value for money!

You will find contributions from a myriad of talented artists including: Moya Brennan, Joanne Hogg, IONA, Phil Keaggy, Troy Donockley,
Mostly Autumn, Martyn Joseph and many many more, along with some intriguing collaborations. Where else will you hear Heather Findlay from Mostly Autumn, Roine Stolt from the Flower Kings and Nick Beggs from Kajagoogoo all guesting on a newly recorded version of Iona's song 'Journey into the Morn', or Dave Bainbridge and Phil Keaggy playing together?
All proceeds go towards helping Dave & Debbie's autistic son, Luca continue on his Son-Rise Programme (Autism Center of America). Luca has been doing his Son-Rise programme at home for 5 years now and has made amazing progress; the proceeds of this album will enable Dave & Debbie to continue working with Luca in this way and pay for the essential support services that Son-Rise offer.

CD's will be available to order from the Iona Website

Friday 14 September 2007

Greenbelt Festival 07

We had a great time at this years festival- though I personally didn’t get to see much apart from Billy Bragg (after my performance cafĂ© gig) and Duke Special at the end of the festival Monday night (and of course some obligatory trips to the organic beer tent!) We were just really busy! As well as my gig (which was a very fun set to a packed out audience- thanks to all those who came along!) Bill and I were involved at the festival with the Scratch The Sky Project. This included a performance as Sir Silence and the Hush, several kite making workshops over the weekend(a dance workshop done by the 2 dancers from the show), a big kite installation art piece and a mass kite fly on the Monday afternoon. We had a fantastic team helping throughout the weekend and the beautiful weather all made for an exhausting but fun weekend… here are some pictures of the team and kite workshops, see my website for gig pictures…

Scratch the Sky CD Launch

28th July at The Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff

We were really pleased with this event, which was part 2 of Bill’s multi tiered Scratch the Sky art project. Alongside the CD launch Bill ran a 6 week exhibition of the different Scratch the Sky Art work he’s generated over the last year. This included a community exhibition created by local shopkeepers here in Cardiff where they illustrated their hopes and dreams and personal stories on kites, as well as the Palestine Kites and photographs we’d brought back with us (again illustrated with the stories of the young people we worked with out there) and also his own paintings and photography inspired by the theme.

For the CD launch performance, we turned the theatre space into a beach (by the use of 32 bags of sand!) and projected visuals onto a big screen made of kites. Karen Chalk (my ever faithful backing singer!) and I became ‘The Hush’ accompanying Bill as Sir Silence and our two dancers moved through the beach installation, interpreting the themes from the songs. All of this was set to a droned soundtrack of the sea playing as people entered the theatre space and throughout the show. Personally it was really fun to be part of the band and get to play banjo and sax again- as well as performing with our feet in the sand!

Thursday 19 July 2007

Palestine Trip

The Palestine trip was great, one of those life changing experiences that will stay...- we met lots of lovely people (who bent over backwards to feed us and fill us with coffee,)- good connections were made for future projects and we were thrilled at the participation in the Scratch the Sky project by the young people we met.
The intention behind the 'Scratch the Sky' Palestinian trip in June was to gather stories that we could bring back with us in order to express something of life for the people in the of the West Bank. We worked with 40 young people aged 7- 17 exploring their hopes and dreams, their likes and dislikes, and the things that were stepping stones or obstacles to allowing their dreams to fly. The outcome for us was a very moving body of work as the participants expressed themselves via images, and writing on the symbolic kites that they created. The complexities and restrictions of life under occupation alongside the ordinary joys of eating ice-cream or playing football become all the more poignant when depicted through a child's eyes.
The week culminated in an exhibition of the kites in the Town Hall of Biet Sahour, (a small town outside Bethlehem) where we were able to perform some of the songs from the Scratch the Sky album.The kites made by the Palestinian young people are currently on display at the Gate Arts Centre, alongside kites made by members of the local community surrounding the centre in Roath, Cardiff. All feature as part of the Exhibition surrounding the Official Launch of Sir Silence and the Hush
Scratch The Sky CD on the 28th of July.

Tuesday 1 May 2007

1st of May - remembering Rob... and the Release of Scratch The Sky Album

It is one year today since my friend Rob died. Can't quite believe that a year has passed already. Yesterday my friend Sandra(Rob's widow) found out that her father is suffering from Leukemia, and that his prognosis is not long. Life is so complex, confusing and unfair sometimes- the timing is awful...This time last year, we drove home from the hospice with the awful task of needing to let people know about Robs death. To be honest most of the last year for me has been trying to get over all of that. Having shared so much of my life with Rob and Sandra and Lukas since 99- having lived with them, worked with them, traveled across the world with them- I guess it has felt more like losing family than just a friend. I am very grateful to have known Rob and to have experienced the highs and lows of life on and off the road with him. Much of my life has been informed by the experiences we have had in that time together... Today my heart goes out to Sandra, Lukas and baby Magdalene who just turned 1,- 3 weeks ago and I hope that one day soon life will begin to become easier and lighter for them all...

Today is also the day that we are releasing Bill's aka- Sir Silence and the Hush CD, Scratch the Sky...It has been an absolute pleasure being involved in this project and personally I am thrilled with it as a product...we will be doing a special offer on my website to buy Brilliant Blue and Scratch the Sky together for a discounted price of only £18.00...see web link below to buy and listen to the CD plus press release.

I'll be in Coventry at the Golden Cross for a gig tomorrow and then on Friday- it's my 30th birthday!

Sunday 22 April 2007

March has been and gone-
I had a great few days on the road with Karen Chalk- gigging in Brighton and Bournemouth. We drove through brilliant sunshine, rain, hail and snow all in the space of a few hours, managed to hook up with some other excellent artists and interesting folk on the way and indulged ourselves in cream teas in the oh so fine town of Chichester (not very rock n roll I know but very delicious!) Bournemouth was a particularly fun evening dedicated to female singer songwriters run by the Solid Air promoters- There was real variety in the line up including a snazzy harmonica player called Si who I got up to jam with us in our final song Find Me- he was excellent and I must admit to feeling a little disappointed when I had to return to my own harmonica playing for that song in my next gig!- The Green Note in London was packed- great venue and a great atmosphere that night- I was particularly impressed with the guitar skills of Canadian born Damien Etherington who was on after me that night...

Radio sessions on BBC Wales where I managed not to say anything too ridiculous live on air and got to play 4 songs... Easter was very relaxing and then I spent the following weeks helping Bill paint a 160foot Mural in a primary school- arms and back have been aching ever since as we were painting from 8-5 each day- it's looking good though...
The Zac's Place benefit gig this Friday went well- It was really nice to have Bill back on stage with me and we also got to play some songs from his new album Scratch The Sky... Speaking of which we are expecting that to be with us as of tomorrow- very exciting... Bill's website is still under construction but in the meantime you can check out his myspace-

Off to London to play at the Perseverance on the 24th and Birmingham to play the Sunday Sessions this week... and then will be in the Studio over May- at present I am wrestling over which songs to work on as I have a big back catalogue as well as some new material and of course I just want to work on them all!

Monday 5 March 2007

Gigs and reviews

Some interesting gigs lately... The Go Club in Birmingham definitely deserves a mention for being one of the most bizarre nights I've had in a long time! No promoter and no sound technician so I ended up doing sound for the other band- Small Existence (an acoustic indie/ rock trio) and they for me. there was also a confusion in who was supporting who- I thought I was meant to be on before them but they thought the opposite- I discovered this when I thought I was sound checking them and they had suddenly started their set! All of this to a friendly but minuscule audience- one member who drunkenly shouted his appreciations all though both sets- It was one of those nights where you just have to enjoy yourself regardless- and hey I got to play a nice long set too! Small existence were a good and solid band with some interesting arrangements and loads of energy- nice lads too-

Completely different sort of gig last week on St Davids Day as I was able to accompany Bill into a local primary school to do workshops and sessions- Very Fun! We created a 12 bar blues jam on a song bill had written about St David and recorded all the kids performing it. Sometimes it is just so nice to not focus on me and my music and remember what a gift the whole process of creativity is and should be...

Fantastic review came in today from Spiral Earth- also a great website- check it out

And finally... This week looking forward to opening for The Queensbury Rules in Pontardawe, and off to see the iconic Joan Baez with Bill on Thursday!

Thursday 8 February 2007

Feb- gigs next week- and Megan

So it's February already - A couple of gigs next week- one in London Feb 13th at The Twist and one in Birmingham at the Go Club Feb 16th (see my gig page on my website or myspace for more info) I just found out that i'm sharing the bill in london with an old friend of mine from years ago when we were both based in Watford for a season- her name is Sarah Hamlin and she has a stunning voice and writes beautiful songs- so I'm particularly looking forward to that one...

January gigs were great fun- all really different venues but I'm hoping to get back to all of them sometime in the not too distant future- especial thanks to all who came out for them and particularly braving those storms on the 18th- That was a nightmare journey getting into London from Colchester- roads were closed, lorries over turned and what should have taken an hour and a half took 4 and a half hours!

But the real highlight of the last few weeks has of course been Megan the puppy- who has turned our lives upside down- sleepless nights- cleaning up poo and watching puppy training videos! (I take my hat off to all of you out there who have kids- how do you cope with the sleep deprivation-) but she's so damn cute and look I'm so damn sappy writing about her here... see pic...

I also saw a fantastic film the other night- Little Miss Sunshine- one of the best movies i've caught in a long time...

Listening to a lot of Bonnie Prince Billy- was sorry to have missed his recent tour dates...

And Bill's Scratch the Sky album has been mixed by Mr Martyn Joseph- who has done a great job with it- so watch this space and we'll let you know when that's all official...