I’m writing this sitting in my friends’ beautiful home in North Wales, overlooking rolling green hills covered in sunshine, the air full of the sound of birds, bleating sheep and lambs. When the sun shines in the UK, there’s no more beautiful place 🙂 I’m happy to be back in the UK, and am looking forward to reconnecting with friends and performing a load of shows, both here and over in Ireland. It will be my first time visiting the Emerald Isle and I’m quite excited. Joining me for the majority of the tour is my dear friend and sideman extraordinaire Scott Poley from Liverpool.
I just wrapped up a string of shows over on the Continent, a tour that had me visiting the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. It has been several years since I last toured there, so it was truly wonderful getting back to some familiar venues and meeting all sorts of amazing new folks. I must admit, though, that I’m exhausted (anyone want to come as my driver on the next tour???!!). Prior to this tour I was out on the US West Coast playing to some very appreciative audiences, and got hit with pretty horrid seasonal allergies that have turned into a nasty chest cold. It’s been dragging on for over a month now and I’m not feeling 100%. But I’m going going going and trusting that everything will be ok.
My last show on the Continent was at a venue called Cafe Castaneda and it was a most welcome return! After the show, one of my German Indie Music Angels came up and told me how much he enjoyed receiving my mailouts. He loved that they were written so personally, and felt he was almost taking part in my travels and experiences. It warmed my heart to hear this. Thank you Juergen!
I have to share one other highlight, and that was visiting Dresden and a community of artists/musicians based just outside the city in an old castle. Through some good Canadian friends I was able to hook up with these fine folks who put on concerts in their castle and run quite a stunning recording studio. There was a sense of family and home, I felt so welcome I didn’t want to leave! It also helped that two dear friends (who live in Augsburg, a good 5 hour drive away) came to surprise me on my birthday while I was there! Talk about friendship! Driving 5 hours in Germany is like driving 16 in Canada 🙂
A shout-out to the good folks at Avis who had remembered me from several years ago and gave me a car that was made for the German autobahn! 🙂
I return to Canada in July and will be packing the car to head West, then fly East, then back West. September will see me performing some solo shows (first time in Fort McMurray!), then taking part in a Musician Exchange/Collaboration with British artist Bella Hardy and performing some shows together in Alberta and BC, showcasing in Calgary, then heading back to Europe for a collective tour with two other great Canadian Artists – Awna Teixeira and Brandy Zdan. The tour is called “The ABCs of Canadian Music.” Get it? 🙂 The New Year will see me heading West again, hopefully this time with some side players (for those who have never seen with a mini-band this could be a treat!), then heading East for a tour of Ontario and possibly a dip down into the States. In between all of this I plan to test-drive my Musician in Residence program, bringing the combination of workshops and concerts to various communities.
And, I need to find a home. More on that in my next post…
I’ll finish off sharing about something I’ve been dealing with, and that’s the big “B” – burnout. The journey of the solo independent artist is often overwhelming, exhausting, lonely and straight out difficult. I’ve been able to carry on as long as I have due to the many supporters and fans cheering from the sidelines, and I want to keep at it. I’m at the point where I’ve realized I cannot do this alone, and I need to gather a team of folks to walk alongside me, people who have the skills I don’t possess, who can help “manage” this career with me so that it is one of longevity, sustainability and creativity. I no longer want to just subsist and maintain my career (and my life!) at a minimal level, I want it (and myself) to grow and change and connect more with others. I’m reevaluating how I tour, how I record, how I operate, so that I’m rejuvenated and not depleted, renewed and not burnt out. I hope to find/build that team sooner rather than later, and have a few irons in the fire… Some of you may be able to help, whether it’s through wisdom, guidance, support, leads, connections, or by offering a skill. Some say it takes a village to raise a child, and I say it takes a community to nurture a musician! Let’s dialogue 🙂
There are many more songs, tours and albums to come. With your support, all is possible.