Sept 2023 News Update
Thursday, August 24, 2023
On the 28th of last month my lovely cousin Denise and her husband Jonathan and I shared a wonderful day at the Sandringham 3-day festival in the grounds of Sandringham house.
On the day we were there the line up were The Lightening Seeds, Richard Ashcroft and finally the mighty Who with the Heart of England Orchestra performing pretty much the whole of Tommy along with the band's greatest hits.
Because of my friendship with Pete Townshend we were given the luxury of VIP tickets. I didn't get much of a chance to see the supporting acts, but the crowd obviously loved them but of course the highlight of the day were the greatest rock band of all-time The Who.
With Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey you have the voice and the creator in one package that made the Who one of the greatest rock bands on earth. The powers of these two great performers haven't diminished one bit. Daltrey’s voice is as good as ever and Pete....well Pete is just a force of nature.
Pete very kindly gave us his visiting guests a brief time together before the band hit the stage for an outstanding and exhilarating performance.
Pete looked particularly well in this photograph and the smile on my face said it all really. A very special day and the weather was kind.
I hope you like the photos of Pete and I and my cousin Denise and hubby Jonathan, two very special people in my life right now.
Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival
It has been so many years since I attended Fairport Convention's festival at Cropredy. The last time I was actually on stage there was 1987 so maybe a return visit is long overdue.
For me and I'm sure for many who attend the festival it is a social as well as a musical event and this year was no exception.
Here is a list of special old friends who were in attendance, and I had a chance to chat with some were brief and others quite lengthy. In no particular order:
Virtuoso bass player and current member of Soft Machine, Freddie T Baker with his lovely family.
My old drummer and founder member of Jethro Tull, Clive Bunker.
Alan Thompson ex John Martyn and Joan Armatrading bass player and currently working with Martin Barr of Jethro Tull.
Dave Oberley, drummer for the band Gryphon.
Ralph McTell...up and coming singer songwriter.
Becky Mills, guitarist for Ashley Hutchings.
Ashley Hutchings founder of Fairport Convention.
Singer songwriter Vikki Clayton.
Guitarist Vo Fletcher.
All of Fairport apart from Dave Mattocks.
Singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Anna Ryder and husband Noel.
My dear friend Carrie Martin and my stepdaughter Ruth accompanied me to the fest. It was a joy to meet up with my dear old friend Sue Lilley and to meet her beautiful daughter Charlotte. Also great to see our beloved webmaster Sue Holton and husband Mike in attendance.
Other news is that there are plans afoot to re-release much of my back catalogue and the creation of a web shop where you can purchase tea towels and oven gloves...just a joke. This has all come about through a renewed friendship with Rob Ayling who reissued a lot of my early material years ago on his Voiceprint label.
Anyway, watch this space.
Last month I put a heartfelt posting on Facebook regarding my return to the live arena.The response was truly astonishing with many well wishing messages several hundred in fact. For those that don't do Facebook or may have missed it here it is..
"I’m completely overwhelmed by the incredibly warm response to my recent Facebook posting (copied below). My lovely agent Lee Noble I know will be as equally moved by all your words. I have left his details below as I know he would love to share any thoughts about my future concerts with you.
Lee Noble email: Lee@RLNMusic.com Phone: +44 (0) 7917 195 129 Website RLN Music: www.rlnmusic.com
I’m sure some of you who follow my music and recent events in my life will see that I’m returning to performing once more since the passing of my beloved wife Hilary. My concert in Tewksbury a few weeks back with Carrie Martin, Oliver Wakeman and Rick Wakeman was an utter joy.
When I first received the news that Hilary would not be on this earth for much longer, I had a natural and human knee jerk reaction to close the door on my musical life.
She was my main source of inspiration and to suddenly have that source removed from my life made the whole thing feel utterly pointless, but as time went on, I remembered that I had made a promise to her when she told me that I must never stop playing. This promise alone was in itself enough of a reason to continue but there are other reasons to add to that promise. They are as follows:
1. As mentioned above I made a promise to that remarkable woman.
2. To NOT continue would be like throwing back in the face of the Creator / Nature / God / The Universe call it what you will this small gift I have been given.
3. It brings me great joy to share my musical gift with whoever wants to hear it. I look on it as a privilege.
4. I also know that it gives people pleasure and if that’s not reason enough, I don’t know what is.
5. On a practical level I have to make a living so teaching and performing is all I know. I have the best agent in the business my dear friend Lee Noble and I have asked him to open the doors to any venues that want to book me. There are also plans afoot to do some selective duo gigs with my old friend the great John Etheridge. Being onstage with John is such good fun and I’m so looking forward to that.
So now the work continues with hours and hours of practice. All the while I’m in reasonably good health and try to maintain the standard that I set for myself all those years ago I shall.
I have also started composing again which is itself a minor miracle, but all you creative souls out there know that if it’s in you it needs to come out for no other reason than for its own sake! I have some interesting and I think exciting projects in the pipeline but can’t say too much now in case it dissipates the energy!"
I have sold two guitars. One to Carrie Martin, a beautiful Faith, and a Lakewood to my friend Adam Blake in Scotland.
I recently had the neck of my car boot Squire Strat the one I used to record 'Starfield' sorted by my friend Tim in Otley. This is all anorak stuff I know.
I also purchased a couple of special guitars from Carrie Martin. The pics and back story are below.
Three new to me guitars to tell you about this month two of which I bought off Carrie Martin. This one is a bit special. It has an interesting history. Carrie bought this a while back from Bad Company guitarist Dave Caldwell because she was looking for a guitar with a cutaway. The guitar was produced by Vintage in 2010 as one of their high end all solid wood models. This one sounds very sweet and is made of Lacewood for the body and I believe German spruce for the top. I had the original chrome Grover machine heads replaced with gold ones which set it off perfectly.
The reason she decided to part with it is because she needed to raise funds to buy another Faith guitar. She was reluctant to sell it because she played this guitar to Hilary in her final days and Hilary named it Billie which was her childhood nickname and of course the inspiration behind 'One for Billie' that I composed all those years ago for the 'Ravens and Lullabies' album with Oliver Wakeman. Because of its association with that personal memory of my dear wife it will be a keeper.
This is the other guitar purchased from Carrie Martin's collection. This mahogany model is no longer made and thus is quite rare now although it does come up from time to time on eBay.
This very guitar was played by the legendary Elliot Randall of Steely Dan fame. He declared it a really good one so that's good enough for me.
I fitted it with an original Rare Earth pickup and gigged it once a few months back and it sounds astonishingly good for such a low-priced guitar. You can't put a price on a sound, but I have played guitars that carried a much higher price tag than this baby and this one just blows then away.
Good old Rob Armstrong's genius shines through yet again.
Jamie Giltrap JG model
The last guitar in the trilogy of recent acquisitions is this special Jamie Giltrap JG model created in his memory.
I bought this off eBay for a ridiculously low price. I bid on it never dreaming I would win but low and behold I did!
The amazing thing is that the seller also called Jamie is not only an admirer of my work but also a close friend to friends of mine Trevor and Thea Raggatt. You can't write this stuff!
I already have this model but it's good to have another to either keep or gift to a worthy player!
Thanks for taking the time to read the musings of this Troubadour and I look forward to seeing you sometime at a venue near you.