Jan 2024 News Update
Monday, January 1, 2024
New Year message
Hello friends and followers of my music.
Now 2023 has gone and a new year is upon us I can look back at that passing year with a mixture of joy and sadness. Joy because I felt strong enough to move forward with my life after losing my remarkable wife and the obvious deep sadness that comes with a profound grief that we all feel from time to time when life deals us the bitter blow of loss.
I have SO many wonderful memories of 2023, one being the Tewkesbury concert in the summer with Rick and Oliver Wakeman along with my dear friend Carrie Martin where we all took part in a remarkable fund-raising evening at the legendary Roses Theatre.
This was going to be my first "official" public appearance since the December of 2022 and I'm so happy to say it was nothing short of beautiful. There was so much love in the room that night and members of my family were present along with dear friends including Sue and Mike Holton. Quiet emotional tears were shed in the dressing room afterwards knowing that I was finally back doing what I was meant to do and fulfilling my promise to Hilary to never stop playing.
The other beautiful memory was the low-key concert I did in Ireland in the spring whilst on a short break with my daughter Sadie and partner Gordon. We visited my Irish family and an intimate concert had been arranged at an arts centre in the sleepy village of Athy. An unforgettable evening indeed.
Other highlights of the year were getting to know certain family members in a much deeper way than before. I also had the privilege of co-writing and recording a song with one of the great vocalists alive today the wonderful Julia Fordham. Working alongside two other outstanding female singers Carrie Martin, and Susy Wall rank as life changing experiences. I’m very blessed.
Heartfelt thanks to...
Karen and Braden, Pete and Linda Bonner, Carrie Martin, Susy Wall, Ben Martin, Mark and Jane Day, Hilary James, Simon Mayor, Ray Mytton, Judy Dunlop, Michele Ward, Debs and Tim Ward, Tim Blixt, Nigel Bates, Sue Martin, Sue Lilley, Ric Sanders, Rick Wakeman, Rob Ayling. My cousins Ann, Denise, and Lorraine. My agent Lee, my daughter Sadie and partner Gordon. Paul and Chris White (God rest her soul) Martin Green, Mark Guyatt, Michael and Lesley Gough, Roger and Moira Bucknall, Chris and Nathan Sharp at JHS, Rhona Dickson. Patsy and Tim Lyttle, Sue Sollis, Sue and Mike Holton, Tom Lilley, Charlotte Lilley, Ruth Dyte, Simon Logan, Rachael Logan, Abbie Haywood, Sian Wilkins, Malc and Kaz, Keith Tromans, Rob and Karen Aitchison, Carol Sampson, Russ Andrews, Chris and Annie Abrams, Nic and Judith Hooper and many many more.
Visiting my friend Roger Bucknall of Fylde guitars, doing some filming at his workshop to celebrate his 50 years of Fylde guitars, spending the day with the legendary Martin Carthy and us being photographed with our MBE medals was such fun.
I could go on and on about the handful of special concerts I did towards the tail end of the year. One in particular stands out and that was my concert at Huntingdon Hall Worcester where it felt like I had turned the clock back several years to a happier time before illness struck, losing my beloved son Jamie and finally losing Hilary. Again, so much love in that audience on the night.
I have indulged myself along the way with various guitar purchases many of which were featured in past newsletters. I try to keep it all in perspective and will be moving on several guitars this year that aren't being used.
All the above experiences and memories could not and would not have happened without the love and support of dear friends and family along the way. Also spending time with my special friend Pete Townshend has been a joy and privilege and one I still quite can’t believe !!
As life goes on one loses dear friends along the way and last year was no exception and I shall miss having those special people in my life, one being lovely Christine White mentioned in last month's news.
A note for your diary
I am honoured to be appearing in the 'Legends' slot at the fantastic Fingerstyle Collective Festival in Torquay in July along with some of the foremost players on the circuit today.
Early Bird tickets are currently on sale so check out the website or my Concerts pages:
As a footnote to all this... Love has come again in my life in the form of an old and valued friend of 35 years ago. Her name is Sue and she is indeed a beautiful loving soul and has helped me beyond words to fill the huge vacuum in my heart after Hilary's passing.
My wish for myself and all of you is for a peaceful and trouble free 2024 and thankyou to all of you for keeping the faith and supporting my music and concerts. It makes me feel valid!