Between two seas

I’m sitting here in Flensburg at a friend’s house looking out at the strange sea mist rolling in, This part of Schleswig-Holstein lies between the North Sea and the Baltic.
I played in Denmark and on Friday near here at Skt Johannis in Tarup, a great old monastery church. We has a full house and I met a lot of good people. Today is a day off and I am going to see New Model Army play in Kiel. Next week I’m in Sörup on Thursday and in Hamburg at the Heidbarghof on Friday. It is good to take a break from the recording and sing the new songs live again. It helps get more perspective on them. Thanks to Maja for these pictures.

Recording, spring shows and festivals

Photo Kerstin Maier

Hi, I have been in the studio again, working away, trying to make the next album better than all the others, just typical working days, epiphany, frustration, hard grind. I love it.

Meanwhile some live shows to announce in England and Germany.

A few concerts in the north of Germany, then the Big Session festival with Oysterband, I will also be joining them on the Sunday for the ceilidh. Next, 3 intimate acoustic shows in libraries in Essex, followed by the lovely Folk On The Pier Festival in Cromer and The Netley Chapel Session with Steve Skaith. Last on this list is a folk festival in Venne, near Osnabruck and a show in an art gallery neat Hannover.   For full details look at the Concerts page 

In between all these I will be in and out of the studio aiming to finish the album before the summer starts and I get far too distracted.

March 24 Friday Tarup (Flensburg) DE Skt Johannis Kirche

March 30 Thursday Sörup DE Hotel Söruper Hof 

March 31 Friday Hamburg DE Heidbarghof

April 29 Saturday Big Session Festival  

May 2 Tuesday Coggeshall Library Acoustic show

May 3 Wednesday Wivenhoe Library Acoustic show

May 4 Thursday Writtle Library Acoustic show

May 5 Friday Folk On The Pier Festival Cromer

May 6 Saturday Netley Chapel Sessions  Support from Steve Skaith of Latin Quarter

May 12  Friday Venne Folk Früling Festival DE Near Osnabruck

May 13 Saturday Wedemark Die Pfarrscheune (New Venue!)  DE Near Hannover

 

Homeward bound

I just played the last show on this this Love & Vengeance winter tour of England. I have been singing all the new songs that are intended for the next CD although I have not started recording in earnest yet. It has been a nostalgic trip back to the old country and and I have hooked up with a lot of old friends as well as made a lot of new ones. I had some interesting chats too. I stayed in friends houses mostly and only had one hotel on this tour, that meant I had only one breakfast without talking about Brexit or Donald Trump. It was good to hear what everyone had to say, it was mostly despair and bewilderment, but it made a few things much clearer to me, mostly to do with how all this came about. It is definitely time for the left to ask itself some hard questions and get it’s act together.
This tour was different in many ways, not just with the new songs and changing the set every night. I also played more pianos and even a couple of church organs, although the cello still remains the favourite. One of the reasons I use different instruments is that some songs just suit particular instruments more than others. The church organs have something very rock about them and the old ones have an amazing grandeur. So too do some pianos, last night I was in the South Hill Park Arts in Bracknell, a huge stately home now hosting a number of venues and an theatre, I was in the old oak panelled library and had a mighty full size Steinway grand to use. Probably the best piano I have ever played.
It has been wonderful to be back in England, I am still hoping to get into Wales and Scotland one day too. I will be back in May for a couple of festivals and a small string of gigs. Thanks Alan Cole for these photos from The Convent TV concert. Thanks too to all the people who have helped and supported me. I am heading home now to my old wooden house in Sweden.

April 29th Big Session Festival Buxton
May 2,3 and 4. 3 libraries in Norfolk, details to be announced
May 5th Folk On The Pier Festival Cromer
May 6th Netley St Edwards Church with Steve Skaith (Latin Quarter)

On tour in England

It was a great first night to a full house in Yarpole. St Leonards is a beautiful old church which also serves a a community centre for the village. Best of all they have a wonderful old church organ which they let me use. It has a majestic sound, with great warmth and character. After sound checking I was horrified to hear that they were planning to get rid of the organ and replace it with an electronic one! Please don’t. These old instruments are as much a part of our heritage as the church itself.
I used the organ on three songs and people were genuinely surprised to hear it used in such a different context. I maybe convinced a few people that they should keep it.
Thanks to all who helped with the show and for listening. I played several new songs and it is good to be on the road again.
The church is a great model of what is possible for a tiny village with an ancient church. They have a cafe, a village shop and a post office actually inside the church and the whole thing is made possible by enthusiastic volunteers.

Nice to play in Bedford for the first time in the plush Stables Theatre in Milton Keynes on Sunday night. Thanks for the reaction to the organ playing in Yarpole, it seems I now have two more church organs lined up. Some people like driving big old cars, me, well….
Two free days in London and the tour continues to Birmingham Red Lion on Wednesday.
I will be playing my new song about Fred Broadrick who came from Birmingham. He lived in Norman Street near the centre of the city, one of his locals was another Red Lion. He was shot at dawn in 1917 for absence without leave.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=-QPYuwddwWc
Thursday I will be at The Convent near Stroud where they have a grand piano. There will be a live televised broadcast of the show available on subscription through their website.
https://theconvent-tv.com
Friday I am at St Edith’s Folk Club in Sevenoakes, my first show in Kent!
Saturday back at St Stephens in Upper Basildon for an acoustic show which will include some church organ too. I would love to have one of these at home, I might have to move into a bigger house though.

A New Day

A new day dawns on an uncertain world. Thanks to everybody who helped and supported me in 2016.

New year, new songs new tours.

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Every Picture Tells A Story

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This last collection of photos were taken in October in the Swabian Alps in southern Germany by photographer Kerstin Maier.

I was happy to find a photographer who was crazy enough to go to any lengths just to get a good shot. I had a gig scheduled in the Zum Nix club in Blaubeuren and Kirsten suggested we try the shots at dawn the next morning from the top of the nearby Blaufels cliff. I don’t remember what time I got up but I do remember we drove to the top of the mountain and then walked 3km in the dark to reach the location. When we finally got there we realised there was still an hour to wait for the sun to come up. It was chilly start but it was exciting to watch the dawn come up. Below, the cliff dropped vertically down to the Blautopf pool and the town.

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thumb_dsc_2073-1_1024Blaubeuren is named after the Blautopf or blue pot, an incredible spring of clear blue water. For long it was thought to be bottomless, but we now know that at 21 meters, an underground river feeds into it. The blue colour comes from minute particles of limestone that preferentially scatter the blue light in the spectrum. Incidentally, the club Zum Nix is named after a playful water spirit that lives in the pool. We didn’t see her, but she probably saw us.

We took some more shots by the blue pool, one of the most beautiful places I have seen. So thanks Kerstin.

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Full Swing

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-15-08-25The Celtic Emotions Festival Tour is now in full swing and I must say, it’s a lot of fun. The whole week feels like a dream. Hey! I dreamt Leonard Cohen died, Trump was elected president and then I found myself jamming a reel on stage in a sold out show in Berlin with a super group that included Andy Irvine and Zöe Conway. I’m still trying to wake up.

The touring party is a joy to be with, the acts are all very different but we are all interested in what everyone else is doing. It’s also been a tough three days, a lot of driving on the autobahns, and now winter has fallen on us like a shroud. When I came out of the Berlin show the temperature had dropped to -6c and my car lock was frozen. I had to use the old trick of heating up the key with a cigarette lighter.

A few welcome days off now before the last leg down south, Thurs, Fri and Sat in Kaiserslautern, Freiburg and Würzburg.  A rare solo gig in Stockholm is coming up after I get home the following week on Friday 25th Nov at Folklore Centrum.

Down In The Hole

It has been an eventful couple of weeks on this tour, after a great start with Lenny in Tønder, I went back north to Silkeborg to play for the 3f trade union again before heading south and taking in a couple of house concerts on the way.

At Homburg I was booked into the ‘Schlossberghöle’. ‘Höle’ means cave but it turned out to be a nuclear bunker built inside a sand mine. Yellow sand which was lying in layers between harder red sandstone was mined here for glass making between the 11th and 17th centuries, leaving a cave system which exists on 12 levels and is the biggest of it’s kind in Europe. Interesting gig, the temperature was 10c and the humidity 100%. My cello was very clammy that night. The audience were cold, so was I, but the sound was amazing, it gave me the voice of a Jötunheimr giant. In the break they served hot wine and their own spirit called ‘ hölengeist’- cave spirit. We all liked it and decided to do it again next year.

nuclear-bunker

On south to Frieburg, for an acoustic show in a forest hut and then a beautiful drive along the length of Lake Constance, past vineyards and hop fields to Leutkirche in the Allgäu. More shows and I met up with photographer Kerstin Maier, together we plotted some lightly locations. The next two days we were up at dawn chasing the morning mist. One memorable place was the spring at Blaubeuren. A huge pool of blue water wells up from an underground river, actually coloured blue, it is a very special place. Divers discovered that it leads into a huge underground cave system as the blue river winds it’s way through the mountain. One can imagine the impression it had on people in the distant past. Then the Christians came along and slapped a big monastery in front of it, as if to try and hide it.

blaubeuren


North to Franconia and the Folk Club Isaar in Trogen, then yesterday south again to the Munich Irish Club. I saw the snow capped Alps rise in the blue mist as I drove into the city at the same time as the temperature went up to 19c.

And on to the final gig tonight, the Koffer Fabrik (suitcase factory) in Fürth. I will be back in Germany in a couple of weeks for the Celtic Emotions Festival tour which promises to be a great one. Meanwhile I have got to get home for a gig with The Swedish Kitchen Orchestra on Sunday and then fly to Scotland for a few days off.

I just completed a date sheet for a magazine ad for my UK dates in early 2017, details will follow soon.

Celtic Emotions Festival package tour of Germany with Ray Cooper John McIntyre and Zoe Conway, Huldrelokk, Jordan Reyne
Nov 11 Meissen Theatre
Nov 12 Berlin Labsaal
Nov 13 Dorsten Lohnhalle
Nov 17 Kaiserlautern Kamgarn Fabrik
Nov 18 Freiburg Wodenhalle
Nov 19 Wurtzburg Felix-Fechenbach-Haus