Update - March 4, 2014
Appalled to see that this is the first newsletter I’ve sent out since last August – grovelling apologies for being so dilatory, and I’ll try to do better from here on out.
The big news here is that I’ve finished recording a new album which is due to be released on the 2nd of February, 2015. I know that seems like a long time away, but there’s a lot to be done between now and then — mastering, photo session, booklet notes, artwork, design and all the rest, plus the CDs have to be manufactured and ready to send out to press and radio three months in advance of the release date.
Like my 2012 album The Plum Tree and The Rose, the new recording will be released on the Chicago-based Waterbug Records label, run by the wonderful Andrew Calhoun – have a look at the list of artists on the Waterbug homepage and you’ll see what good company I’m in! I’m very pleased and proud about that.
Provisionally titled Walking Into White, it was recorded in Cornwall, New York (which was a source of constant amusement to me during the three weeks I spent there, living as I do in Cornwall, England) and is co-produced by Jeremy Backofen (Frightened Rabbit, Felice Brothers, Simone Felice, Andrea Tomasi) and my cousin Adam Pierce (Mice Parade, Tom Brosseau, Múm, Ólöf Arnalds, Gregory and the Hawk). Guest musicians include Adam and Jeremy as well as three members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (Dan Lippel on classical guitar, Gareth Flowers on trumpet, Kivie Cahn-Lipman on cello) and pianist Rob King. Martin Stansbury, my wonderful long-suffering manager and touring sound engineer, also contributed guest vocals, air organ and percussion!
I have to admit that it was a bit daunting to be working with a completely new team. Even though Adam is my cousin, I’d seen hardly anything of him since we were kids, although I’ve been keeping an eye on his musical career and admire his work tremendously -- he’s one of those people who seem to be able to pick up any instrument and play it impeccably, and he also writes beautiful songs. When I found out that he was based in a place called Cornwall, I took it as a sign that we were meant to work together ... but I had no way of knowing how it would go.
And I hadn’t met any of the others before at all, so I was very glad to have Martin with me for moral support! But I needn’t have worried -- not only are they all incredibly talented and great to work with, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun – I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much during a recording project! I’m really excited about the new album, and I’m also very happy that Gerry O’Beirne, who produced all three of my previous solo albums, co-wrote a song with me for this one, so there’s a bit of continuity there.
I’m really looking forward to trying out the new material over the next few months of touring. I’ll be aiming to add a couple of pieces from the new album to the setlist for every gig, so that by the time it comes out I’ll be well used to playing all of them live. Also in the setlist are also three previously recorded tracks that I’ve never performed in public before: “S’Anc Fuy Belha Ni Prezada” (with shruti box! another first!) from The Plum Tree and The Rose, “At The Waterside” from Crow Coyote Buffalo, and “King of the Fairies/The Blackbird” from When Two Lovers Meet. Plus I’ll be resurrecting a few numbers that I haven’t been playing for the past few years. I’m a wee bit nervous about it all, but glad that we’re assured of at least two friendly faces at the first gig, this coming Friday at Podium Café Peter en Leni in Steendam, The Netherlands!
Keep an eye on the Calendar page for details of all the gigs and on the Tour Diary for photos and stories from the road in the months to come. I’ll be posting updates on Facebook and Twitter as well, and if you can make it to one of the shows it would be great to see you there!