BACK FROM THE UK TOUR AND MORE!!!
I'm sorry that I'm a little late writing personally in this forum, especially about my tour of Scotland and England. I arrived home and got a bad flu that kept me out of commission for a while. I still have it, but its power is dwindling.
Is it my imagination or my age? The flu is either getting stronger or my immune system is getting weaker. Flus seem to last weeks now, when before I could shake them off in a few days. Is it possible that the viruses are more malevolent and nefarious due to effects caused by climate change, cloning in secret laboratories, genetic manipulation, background microwave radiation, or simply due to Darwin's fact of evolution...the bugs are mutating and getting tougher. Wait till the ebola virus joins with the cold virus!
At any rate, I had a wonderful, memorable tour of Scotland and England and saw so many dear old friends and have made lots of new ones. I noticed many young people at some of the gigs, which is a good sign that this form of music is being passed to a new generation who must carry it on in the same way Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger passed it on to me.
It was great seeing David at the "Bein Inn" in Glenfarg and all of the people in the audience that I have come to consider family after all these years.
As Always, Graeme Livingston did a sterling job booking and road managing the tour.
I also saw Andy and Marissa at the Falkirk Folk Club, along with many friends I always look forward to seeing. Andy treated me to my favorite meal-fish and chips. Ian Doran (and his wife Wilma who joined us later in the tour) lent me his beloved guitar in Scotland, so that I could play a few more songs, including "Provincetown" that I rarely get to play "live" these days. Thank you Ian and friends, for supporting me throughout the tour!
At magnificent Loudoun Castle I saw Ian Russell, Douro Crotch, Harry and Lynda, and loads of others. I can't mention all the names, but you know who you are! I have instructed my wife Annie to keep a portion of my ashes when I die to be scattered at any beautiful spot in Scotland. My Scottish friends will know where...strange to say, but somehow I feel at home there,as if in a past life I was a Scot. Some of the people I know, I feel I've known eons ago. It always makes me sad to leave, because at my age and occupation, I never know whether it will be the last time I see them or they see me. My friend Mike passed on this year and I saw his kind wife Stella and his beautiful daughter and I really missed him...I headed next to England.
My show at Hartlepool at "The Woodcutter", went really well, thank you Ian, though I like the other club I have played a lot better, but the crowds got too big there and they had to move the venue. My favorite clubs to play are clubs where the audience is so close to the stage I can almost touch them. I like to look straight into their eyes and see their smiles as though we were together in a big living room and there are no boundaries between us. After all, we are all the same, and we are all in this together.
My next show was in Bury, put on by my old friend Dave, who has never lost faith in me, even when I lost faith in myself. It was on Guy Faulk's Day, and the fireworks were wild, the atmosphere electric. Bury is a blue collar town like the town I was born in and I can relate easily.
From there I went to Ulverston in Cumbria-Graeme Livingston's home town, to a show put on by Jeckle, another close friend. He reminds me of myself, never in trouble, but never quite out of trouble. Graeme took me to Grasmere to the grave of William Wordsworth where I said a prayer and took a sprig of the Yew tree he planted that now overlooks his stone. The countryside was so beautiful I could almost see Unicorns running through the fields and hills.
From there we went to Leicester to play "The Musician" and again old friends and new ones came. I saw Arthur Wood and Steve Morris-two great writers and friends I met when I played the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1990 on the 100th anniversary TO THE DAY that Van Gogh died. I played my song "Van Gogh" on one stage and straight across the field on another stage Don Maclean was playing his beautiful song "Vincent"at the same time...but he didn't know it was the 100th anniversary.
The next show was at a new folk club in Camdentown, London that was sold out! It is run by two extraordinary women, Emmy and Riza and it's calle "The Green Note" and it is fast becoming the hippest acoustic place in London. I rarely in recent years played London because the main acoustic music club there, "The Borderline" had a reputation of financially ripping off the artists. I hear it has new management and I hope they treat the artists better. But my loyalty will be to the "Green Note". The man who did my sound, Oscar Cainer, is a young,brilliant, songwriter and fingerpicker himself and he gave me his CD that I highly recommend-it is called "In The Corner". Also my friend Paul gave me his new band's CD "Artists and Soldiers" which is also great. My friends Mike and Graham were there. I had not seen them in years. It was great seeing Willie as always, along with so many young and older friends.
The next day we drove all the way southwest to play a private concert near Plymouth at Chris Deakin's large home. The food was superb, as was the wine! I met so many new people, many of them in the British Army plus their wives and children and they were a fantastic audience. Though I write many anti-war songs I have always had close friends in the military going all the way back to Viet Nam. It's the politicians who send them off to die in useless wars like Iraq I detest! My father was stationed near Plymouth before the invasion of France and whenever I am in that area I can almost see his bootprints in the sand. Before the invasion in June 1944 he almost died on a ship practicing for the invasion in something called the "exercise tiger". I'm sure Chris and Brian will know what that was. Thank you for your great hospitality Chris and Tina!
The last concert was at "The Grove" in Leeds, put on by Jane and Wayne, both teachers. Jane Degay has a doctorate in literature and has published a wonderful book about the literary influences of Virginia Wolf. They both love mountain-climbing and are dear friends.
I flew home on November 12th and arrived at my house in Woodstock with a million good memories. Even though I was ill I managed to write two new songs, "Donuts and Deer", and "The Song Nobody Wanted".
I guess most of you know I don't have or use a computer, though I have a website that my friends Nancy Stitham, Lucy Swenson, and Tim Blixt maintain. Though I can't answer all the e-mails I get, I do read the ones you send. They are always forwarded to me and I enjoy and appreciate each one. If I answered all the e-mails I get I would never have time to write songs!
My new CD is coming along well, and will be out sometime in 2008, spring or autumn. It is a fully produced album kind of like a cross between "Bluefields" and "There Was A Time". Steinar Albrigtsen and his producer Ernst are carefully and lovingly working on it as my parts are already finished.
Take care of yourselves!!!
Your Old Troubadour Friend,
Show All Headlines