Oh dear.... I promised to keep you all updated didn't I?
And then I forgot. Sorry sorry sorry! Let's see if I can remember What Happened Next...
The promised album was delayed and delayed by various things outside everyone's control, but some jolly wonderful things took place in the meantime..
The autobiography sold reasonably well and had some wonderful reviews
The band and I played five more gigs during the year, at Manor Farm musical Frivolities in Ardley, a favourite place of ours, http://www.mfmf.co,uk and at the lovely Eppyfest prog concert in Stroud in July,
Then Mark Fletcher and Phil Toms joined with Pierluigi Ciocci and Brendan McAuley to support Jackie McAuley and me on our final outing as Trader Horne at Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons and we all met up with the rest of the Perfect Strangers to play at the Half Moon in Putney London the next evening.
The final gig in 2016 was in a church in Cambridge, this time with a string quartet accompanying Jeremy Harmer, Alistair Murphy in their own sets and me and the Perfect Strangers at the end of the evening.. Great fun :-)
In the meantime I was honoured to be asked to sing a song on an album with Big Big Train, singing a duet with their fabulous singer/writer/musician David Longdon. The song was 'The Ivy Gate' on the album Grimspound, which I am delighted to say is up for two awards in the 2017 Progressive Music Awards, for Best Album and Best Artwork, and Big Big Train are up for UK Band of the Year. I have my fingers crossed for them. It's a fabulous album :-)
I also added some vocals to a song on the album 'Ascending Scales' for The Honey Pot, and to a song on the 'Feathered Serpents' album from Sir Plastic Crimewave (a.k.a. Steve Krakow) and some autoharp to a track on the Spirit's Burning/ Clearlight album 'The Roadmap In Your Head'.
But then I was contacted by Andy Lewis, DJ, producer and musician who had just finished touring as bass player with Paul Weller and with whom I had recorded four demo songs in 2014, and which had then sort of been forgotten about. However, Andy had played them to the Acid Jazz record label with whom he had released some albums with and they had contacted him a year later to say... 'finish this album!!' So that's what we did. and the resulting album 'Summer Dancing' was released in August 2017 and has again received some lovely reviews and lots of fine comments and resulted in a launch gig in Rough Trade East shop and a performance at a festival in Vienna. And there will be more.
Other excitements this year have been again playing at WM Jazz at the O2 for the lovely John Waites, who sadly passed away shortly afterwards. We all remember him with great affection as he nurtured the Perfect Strangers and me in our first faltering steps as gigging musicians. RIP John.
But also playing once again to a sell-out concert at Ardley who are now official unofficial Betty-sitters :-) and who allowed us to rehearse for the biggest gig the TBOPS and I have ever done, which was to play our own set at the 2017 Fairport's Cropredy Convention in Oxfordshire to the captive 20,000 audience. I think it was appreciated!!.
This was a special year for Fairport as it is 50 years since the band started (50 years!!!! Cripes!!) so there was a very special set on the Saturday evening where as many old members of the band gathered to give an over view of the band's 50 years of music. I was delighted to sing three songs with 'my' Fairport, '- Time Will Show The Wiser', 'I Don't Know Where I Stand' and 'Reno Nevada' - the latter song included one of my famous knitting solos while Richard Thompson guitarred to the heavens :-)
Another highlight of 2016 was being invited to see King Crimson play at the Family and Friends warm up concert before they started their tour. The latest incarnation is magnificent and as they now have four drummers as they play in the US, it is a wonderful thing to hear. If you get a chance to hear them, please do. They are wonderful..
I also released a limited edition ep, 'Songs In Waiting', of some of the new songs from my own new album this year especially to be sold at Cropredy. I still have some left so if you go to my Buy Stuff page you can follow the link there The complete album, 'Earth Is Sleeping' will probably be released next year..
In other life news, my grandchildren are growing and beautiful.
Betty the dog is magnificent, though becoming elderly,
and I am still whizzing about filling the universe with music and stuff.
More soon. ! promise :-) xxxx