Greetings to all,
Having been away from home almost constantly from Feb. 28th to May 5th, I finally have time at my desk to catch up on myself and take stock of a busy start to 2015.
My March dates, were followed by a very welcome holiday in the glamorous setting of the Bahamas. In fact, Crooked Island, where my friends Fritz and Mari live for half the year, is devoid of any resort-style developments and our visits there have mostly been taken up with walking, swimming, snorkelling, reading books and relaxing in a mostly unspoiled and beautiful landscape. Certainly we returned home rejuvenated and even a little bit tanned!
I had less than a day to unpack and pack again for a short run of shows in Holland and two leftover dates in Germany. Thankfully my voice was back up to full strength and it was fun to showcase quite a few new songs. All the shows were enjoyable with Nijmegen and Alf (on the Mosel) outstanding.
The recently released ‘Paints & Powders’ featured intimate versions of older songs, but I have a yet to be released solo recording, made last summer in Nashville with my old friend Dan Penn once again in the producer’s seat, that consists of almost all new songs.
I previewed some of them at the gigs and was encouraged by the great response they received from different audiences. We’ve now settled on a title and hope to have the new album ‘Living Good’ out in time for my two Kempen shows in September. More on that subject later…
There are a number of other exciting upcoming events (see my touring page for concert dates), not least of which is my first teaching workshop for some years. This is taking place the last week of August in Kleebach, near Strasbourg, France. I will be focussing on songwriting and performance using guitar as basic accompaniment.
This will be my first time at the ‘European Music Workshops’, but everything I have heard about the set-up sounds extremely positive. My old friend Steve Baker has been teaching harmonica there for seven years and encourages interactive music-making and collaboration between the different classes being taught. I will post a link here for anyone interested in joining me for a few days of intensive songwriting talk and creativity.
We’ve lost another succession of wonderful musicians in the few last months, Percy Sledge and BB King being the best-known. I was particularly sad to read that Memphis keyboard-player and writer Bobby Emmons had died, notably because he had been Dan Penn’s touring partner in recent times. Nevertheless Dan is coming over for a rare UK visit in July, and is reuniting with Spooner Oldham for a short run of shows. I’ll be attending the first two in Bristol and London and look forward to catching up with them both.
For now I wish everyone a wonderful summer with good weather, good food and good music and I’ll look for you at my various shows,
Best wishes, Julian, Somerset