‘One of the albums of the year’ and Nico x2

Ey Up y’all!

Well today was a different kind of day in that I went off down to see the lovely Stu Hanna to begin rehearsals for the ‘Lucy Ward Band Awesome Swanky London Album Launch’ (official title of course hehe – tickets found HERE)

But then my phone start bleeping off the hook…that sounds odd…what I mean is, emails flying into my inbox, texts arriving, missed calls – the whole shabang! and then it dawned on me, something must have cracked off, and it had, the first reviews of Single Flame had come in that morning.

ARRRGGHHH! Was my first thought, but then I resolved I should at least read them before I ARRRGGHH and you know what, I’m glad I did.

Spiral Earth and FRoots both released their reviews today and here be a whistle-stop tour of what they said as I know y’all busy bees

Spiral Earth:

‘When I listened to [Single Flame] my reaction was one of astonishment – This album tears up the rule book and Lucy puts her fist through the door marked ‘predictability’

‘On the opening track I Cannot Say I Will Not Speak she sounds like a Northern Nico, her voice is haunting and stern against the beat of a drum. That surprise sets the tone for all of this amazing album, it feels like a recording that should have come out mid career, where are the lost albums between this one and her debut? I looked away and she developed from singer songwriter to star.’

‘Lucy Ward is best when her great voice is like a great tree fast against the storms and sunshine that beat down upon it… One of the albums of the year for sure.’

FRoots:

‘[For The Dead Men] showed a deeper, much darker side to her that’s evident  here and which explodes with such extraordinarily powerful resonance on this album, she’s barely recognisable as the singer who gave us Adelphi Has To Fly. In two years she’s blossomed into a challenging songwriter and a richly involving singer with mature and accomplished arrangements’

‘…sounding like a brooding cross between June Tabor and Nico…’

‘…Lucy Ward has grown up…’

~~~~~~~~

Not sure if I would agree with the growing up part ;p but I will certainly take the dual Nico comments and the general positive loveliness on offer. I said this last time round with Adelphi, but I think making album is very much like giving birth…all your hopes and fears all package up in one neat bundle that eventually goes into the world to be judged. I am very glad that the first people Single Flame has met seem to think she’s cool 🙂

Can you call albums ‘she’? I dunno, but you can pre-order her HERE

Anyways in case ye missed it yesterday here is my brand spanking new music video. I give you ‘Icarus’

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‘Single Flame’ Pre Sale Chart Mission!!

Ey Up,

How are you this fine drizzly morning? Grand I hope 😀

Well I am very excitable today because my new album is up for pre-sale!!! Squeeeee!!!!

You can find it HERE

And in honour of this momentous day here is a cheeky gleg at the track listing and artwork for the back of the record

Hope you like it :)

Hope you like it 🙂

.A psychedelic treat from the lovely Elly Lucas.

Until it’s full release on 19th August (when it will be available at all good music outlets) you can get Single Flame from propermusic.com, itunes and a certain tax dodging company named after a jungle.

Why should we buy it on pre-sale? I hear you cry

Well of course it is totally up to you 🙂 you know I am not a pushy sales lady in real life, but every copy you buy pre-sale adds up for the UK Album Charts so if you feel so inclined to buy one for yourself, your friend, your dog, your cat, your mortgage advisor and your doctor then feel free :p

Have a great week, and I’ll catch you soon

Luce xx

 

New Album Announcement!!!

Ey Up!

The day has come! I can finally announce the name of new record!!!

Here’s the vid I posted this morning…I also genuinely recorded it this morning, it takes A LOT of tea to make me look that awake of a morn…nothing I can do about the tired voice hehe

 

As you heard there, Single Flame will be released on 19th August 2013 ARRGGGHHH 😀

Keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of little tasters and treats as the time draws near, and those of you who are signed up to my mailing listcan also expect extra special exclusives to hear and see things before anybody else and opportunities to win all kinds of exciting stuff 🙂

Ciao for now

Luce xx

 

Folk Alliance International : A Canadian Adventure

Ey Up So here it is, a blog about the most mental, overwhelming and downright brilliant experience you could ever have…ok this might be a slight exaggeration cos owning a pet dragon would probably be slightly more mental, overwhelming and down right brilliant but none the less Folk Alliance is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Basically, it’s four days of extremely well organised chaos and delegates from all over the world turn up to share knowledge, experience, contacts and most of all the music that they love! Just to give you an idea of the scale there was something like over 2000 delegates there; mostly musicians but also promoters, agents, Radio DJ’s, Publicists, Festival organisers and more. It is unlike any expo/conference or gathering that we have here in the UK that’s for sure : ) The 25th Annual Folk Alliance International (FAI) took place at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. Can we just take a moment to admire how cool their commemorative poster was:

Sgt Pepper for folkies!

Sgt Pepper for folkies!

I bought one and have had it framed to put up in my office 🙂 hehe I feel I haven’t really explained quite what FAI is yet, it just seems too mammoth to sum up in a few sentences…but none the less…here it goes. The core programming for this event is based around, panels, workshops and showcases.

  • Panels: A chance to learn; whether it’s about how best to present your music in international territories, how to handle your security at festivals, the relevance of Child Ballads in modern folk music or just sharing experiences of music in a social justice context…pretty much any question answered in an array of sessions for artists and others alike. 
  • Workshops: A chance to learn! Ukelele, or any other instrument for that matter (highly recommended FUN, particularly if your brain is all mushed up from jet lag and late night showcases 😀 
  • SHOWCASES: Imagine this – 3 floors + the conference suite of the biggest hotel in Canada, each room (that is usually a bedroom) has had the furniture taken out to make way for chairs, scatter cushions, PA’s, mini bars, buffet selections and bunting to put on gig after gig, artist after artist, all night til two in the morning. Each room showcasing up to 10 artists a day. As you walk down the corridors all you can hear is music pouring out of each and every doorway…first a singer songwriter with a bluesy feel, then a band modelled in the image of canned heat, then a trio singing French folk songs, then a harpist, then, then, then…

The showcases are the best and worst bit of FAI…

Best because of the wealth of amazing and varied music that you get to see…I saw so many really cracking artists that I may never had heard otherwise. Highlights included Les Hay Babies, Ashley Condon, David CeliaTeresa Doyle and October BrowneRose Cousins, the lists goes on and on.

Worst because you can’t help but miss loads of fantastic musicians who are showcasing next door, down the hall or in the room directly above you, but you can’t catch ’em all eh?

FAI is like a festival and a conference had a baby! It’s awesome! I played 6 showcases and sat on 1 panel whilst I was there but when I wasn’t playing I really made the most of being at this wonderful unique event; watched tonnes of music and took in every panel that I could. The only spare hours of my day were spent eating pancakes, going to the really tasty vegetarian buffet restaurant just next door and sleeping off my jet lag before my late evening showcases.

FAI taught me the power of day time power napping,  so you can stay up late watching great music – so thanks for that guys, I am truly grateful 😀 hehe

There was not only me but a massive great contingent of British artists showcasing, flying the flag for UK folk music, it was a very special thing to be a part of, there was: Jim Moray, Karine Polwart, Martyn Joseph, Georgia Ruth Williams (whom I had never heard before and she is flipping brilliant!), Sam Carter, Breabach, Rachel Sermanni, Sam Lee, Kilmarnock Edition and Joy Dunlop.

As I have never been to Canada before I also took the opportunity to go for a jaunt around Toronto, to take in some local culture and just so I could really say I’d been : ) My favourite part of Toronto was Kensington Market, some local Torontonians described it to me as being like The Laines in Brighton – but I think it was more like Glastonbury Festival, full of boho hippy’s in vintage gear buying organic fruit and chai tea…twas right up my street I can tell ya! And the whole place was covered in amazing street art

Street art in Kensington Market

Street art in Kensington Market

I also managed to find, not one, but two cheese shops…just in case you have never read one of my blogs before…I LOVE CHEESE!

 

And so that was it, 4 awesome days which were over in a flash! I met loads of really great people and I hope that it will not be my last time across the pond because I truly had a ball, FAI has such an amazing sense of community! In fact I am already plotting on how to get to their meeting in Kansas next year hehe…dya think if I click my ruby slippers together I’ll make it? :p

Lastly, thanks so much to the English Folk Dance and Song Society who took both me and the lovely Jim Moray out to FAI and exposed us to this amazing experience, it really was a wonderful thing to be a part of and a completely unforgettable experience that I have learnt soooooooooo much from : )

I think I have rambled enough…except to say I am now off on tour for two months 😀 you can check out my tour dates here

you take care

Luce xx

My face on the telly :)

Ey Up

How’s it going? Hope that you are well 🙂

I am pretty jet lagged to be honest! I got back from Toronto early monday morning and although Folk Alliance International was totally amazing, I am utterly cream crackered!! I’ll get a blog up about it all asap but in the mean time…

MY FACE WERE ON THE TELLY BOX 😀

After following me around last summer, the folks at BBC East Midlands’ Inside Out programme, have a made a really lovely 10 min film not only about me, but also about how vital the folk scene is and there is even the great John Tams having a natter 🙂

Check it out, my segment starts 19 mins, 40secs in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01qzfpl/

Make sure you spot the bit where Rob is desperately trying to rub blue hair dye off my face while I am arranging where we r off to next…it had been verrrry hot on stage, the dye had run and I was heading straight off to do some tv for sky :p doh!

Anyway, hope Wednesday is treating you well

TTFN

Luce xx

Exciting news bonanaza!!

Ey Up folks,

How’s it going? Hope you are well 🙂

Well I haven’t done a blog in a while, but lots of exciting stuff has been cracking off, so I thought I better get myself into gear and let you know what has been happening. Quick warning, if you follow me on facey b or twitter you may know about some of this stuff already; but I am hoping that there will be enough extra info to keep you interested in reading my ramblings.

1: First up, touring abroad! The Netherlands

I’ll be straight up with you guys, although I was excited; my main emotion embarking on this adventure was utterly bricking it! My first tour overseas! A whole new culture and a whole new tradition (oxymoron) to contend with, would they like my music? Would they get my daft banter? As it turns out I needn’t have worried, everyone I met out there was just lovely! Each gig was so different but really special and totally memorable.

Holland is such a beautiful country, i have completely fallen in love with the place and the culture.

The world’s most awesome bike in Edam 😀

…any nation that producers such an array of chuffing awesome cheeses has got to be brilliant! Wouldn’t you agree?

I love cheese!

This was a really special moment, the highlight of the trip in fact, getting to jam with Linde Nijland and Bert Ridderbos:

For more pics from the mainland europe adventure, head here —> http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151175256933090.463523.558508089&type=1#!/media/set/?set=a.10151175256933090.463523.558508089&type=1

2: My debut single “For the Dead Men” has become part of the soundtrack to a new documentary film!

So, I hear you ask, how on earth has Lucy managed to bag that gig? Well, it’s all Billy Bragg’s fault! 🙂

Award winning documentary film maker Kim Hopkins (that is her full title hehe), made the critically acclaimed ‘Man In The Sand’ a documentary featuring Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, Wilco Johnson, and Natalie Merchant. Tis a great film if you haven’t seen it!

Anyways, she saw on Twitter Billy Bragg’s comments about ‘For The Dead Men’…he said it was ‘Inspirational’, I still can’t get over that! 😀 Trusting Mr Bragg’s judgement Kim immediately downloaded my album…Serendipity is a crazy and marvellous thing wouldn’t you agree!

Initially Kim asked if she could use the ‘For The Dead Men’ and ‘Fairy Boy’ in her latest documentary. We met over a brew and the largest meringue you’ve ever seen, and really hit it off, many emails followed and to cut an even longer story slightly shorter, I ended up recording the sound track for the film, which comprises of original songs and some cheeky covers.

“Folie á Deux – madness made of two”, premiered in Amsterdam at the Independent Documentary Film Festival last weekend…and…well…that was a bit mental too! I played on a stage that Billie Holiday had graced! ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!! (can you tell I am still slightly excited about this hehe)

a quick vid with one of the songs from the soundtrack, some more info on the film, and pics from the premiere 🙂

3: I’ve also been writing for theatre. I loved drama at school and would defo have done theatre at uni if my gap year hadn’t become a fledgling career in folk music hehe, so this has been a wonderful chance to live some small nostalgic dream. Oddsocks are just ace, I’ve been to see lots of their productions, and in fact this is how I got involved. They were making a little promo video, interviewing audience members as they filed out of Oddsock’s Julius Caesar…I got into a conversation with one of the production crew, she asked me what I did for a living, I said musician and then Rob outed me as ‘BBC Folk Award winning’ (which I was mortally embarrassed about cos I never want to look like a diva!) and she went ‘oooo great, we’ve been thinking about getting a folk musician involved in our next project, it’s Robin Hood, would you be interested?’, I answered with ‘Hell Yeah!’ and the rest was history. Andrew Lloyd Webber eat your heart out! :p

They are on tour now, try and catch them if you can, they are truly fabulous! And I thought that before I started working with them so you know it is a true and totally unbiased opinion 😀

tour dates —>  http://www.oddsocks.co.uk/theatre/tours/currenttour 

2013…

is also set to be pretty exciting…I’m gonna bullet point this section as I fear I may have prattled on! :p

• Over New Year I’m back in studio recording my second album for Navigator Records which will be produced by Stu Hanna. The as yet untitled new CD will be released Summer 2013. So watch this space homies : )

• I have been lucky enough to be selected as one of six acts to represent English Folk at the forthcoming Celtic Connections Festival. Which is mental!

• I will also be travelling up to the Lake District to Fellside Records to record the companion album to this year’s “New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs”. The other artists, appearing on this album are James Findlay, Brian Peters and, my Derbyshire compadre, Bella Hardy.

• A couple of weeks later I’m jetting off to Canada as a guest of the EFDSS to perform at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Toronto. My first time gigging across the pond…soooo excited!

So, I think that’s everything, consider yourselves fully filled in! Have a marvellous day and I shall hope to catch you at one of my gigs leading up to Christmas 🙂

Take care peeps
Luce x

I spy with my little eye

Ey Up Blog Beans,

My it has been a while since we spoke! My fault entirely, between the on-going Horizon Tour and moving house, my ability to access the internet has been somewhat hindered…thankfully the BT install people came day before last…WOOHOO.

Although thank you kindly to all those friends, family and free Wi-Fi hotspots that let me scab some web time during that difficult dry period… I mean, what did we do before the internet?! All I know is that the lack of it has meant I’ve actually had to talk to Rob these past few weeks…never has someone been more thankful to be connected to the world wide wonder :p
Anyways, how have you been? I’ve been pretty manic really. The tour is going great and hopefully will continue to do so, I’ll endeavour to give you a full update on all things tour soon but I’m going to hijack today’s post to tell you about a very special gig that I’m doing next week (20/4/12)

I’ll be honest with you from the start, this post is a plea to those of you within travelling distance of the Robert Ludlam Theatre in Derby to please come along and support next week’s gig because it is all in aid of a wonderful charity called LOOK.

Now I don’t want to sound like Bono, but just to let you know (in case you haven’t come across them before) that LOOK are a charity that work with young people who are living with visual impairment, offering them and their families support to try and build a better and brighter future.

Their website is here if you would like to have a nosey http://www.look-uk.org/

Why am I asking you to support this charity? Apart from the fact that this is an extremely worthy cause, LOOK change and shape the lives of so many young people helping them interact and integrate with the sighted world in a really positive and dynamic way…

…But on a personal level

I am guessing that some of you, in particular you local peeps may have seen in the paper or heard me on the radio talking about losing the sight in my left eye in 2009. Amazingly, when LOOK approached me to headline their evening of fundraising they had no idea about my own personal experience of sight loss…which is quite a coinkydink don’t you agree?

Now I know the rules, you can’t say ‘I went blind in one eye’ and then not proceed to tell the story…it’s like saying ‘I know something you don’t know’ which is the single most annoying phrase in the universe! hehe

I will start by saying that I was and am extremely lucky, after lots of tests to determine what the problem was (retro bulbar optic neuritis to be precise). It turned out to be a condition where after time your sight comes back as quickly as it was lost. In simple terms it is an inflammation in the optic nerve – and when that inflammation goes away, your sight comes back. I just didn’t want you to be reading the rest of this worrying that I was still struggling with my sight…at this moment in time and ‘touch wood’ for many moments in time to come I have my full sight and there are no problems.

So anyway, the full story:

I’m going to sound right daft now, but I hadn’t noticed anything was wrong with my vision, I’d just been pootling along with my day. Then in the evening I was getting dolled up to go out with friends and when I closed my right eye to put my eyeliner on I noticed that there was this dark band right across the middle of my left eye’s vision. I stood in front of the mirror, trying to blink away what I presumed was some stray mascara or something, but to no avail. I resolved that maybe I was tired, or that it really was mascara that was just being stubborn…Looking back I don’t know why I was quite so calm about it, I guess I just thought that it might go away and that there was no point worrying about it till the morning.

In the morning the grey band was a bit wider, so I rang the opticians and got an appointment for mid-morning…I rang my mum up, told her what was happening and not to worry, but she’s a mum and mums’ always worry (although admittedly she was right to in this case) and we went to the opticians together. The optician did his thing and found that there was nothing physically wrong with my eye so he referred me to see a specialist and told me if it got worse to come back or go straight to a+e. I remember he was a very handsome optician 😉 hehe

Over the next 24 hours my sight got worse and worse and I ended up going to a+e; by that point my sight had decreased so much that there was only a very small crescent or clear vision in the top left corner of my sight. I spent the whole day there being examined, my sight getting increasingly worse until there was just the smallest sliver of vision left…I was silently freaking out; thinking that if it keeps getting worse then something must be happening…something that could be irreversible if we don’t get help soon. But the doctors sent me away saying that they weren’t sure what was happening but if I didn’t feel sick (i.e.: I thankfully was not suffering from a brain haemorrhage) then there was nothing that they could do to help at that time and I would be best to wait for my specialist appointment which wasn’t due to come through for 2-3 weeks

Looking back at that initial diagnosis of ‘DON’T PANIC MR MANNERING’, they were right. But I do really wish that one of them had taken the time to explain that, I was truly scared that this could be permanent or a sign of something much worse happening. And that sort of worrying is rare for me…I am very much a glass half full person (or at least that’s what my family tell me)

Whilst this trip to a+e was going on, I should have been travelling to perform at a house concert for the lovely Dave and Sheena Henderson of Leicestershire. I rang them to tell them what was happening and they told me to stay at home…I said, ‘I’ll only be moping about, I’m coming if you don’t mind me being a bit late’

I arrived to painted signs saying ‘get better soon Lucy’ and ‘thank you’ which was just so lovely, made me feel a gazillion times better than sitting at home thinking about things would have done. It had been quite a scary couple of days and I just wanted to not have to think about whether my sight would ever come back, for the 45 minutes of the set anyway.

The gig was a blast…although my new found lack of left eye did confuse me greatly when glancing down at my guitar when changing chords and not actually being able to see the fret board (it was during Julia if my memory serves me correctly)… it meant craning my head to use my right eye…which wasn’t a great hardship, but I just really vividly remember the moment and thinking ‘well, this is different’

I dunno if you guys believe in fate or that kind of thing but going to that gig was actually the beginning of me finally getting some answers as to what the Jeff was happening to me. It turns out that Leicester Royal Infirmary have a specialist – walk in – eye a+e that I would have never have known about if it wasn’t for making a point of going to this gig and meeting folks of Leicester who had used this amazing service.

The next morning off we went, and it was such a relief, the minute I started to describe my symptoms the specialist nurses already had ideas of what could be wrong and began ordering all the relevant tests. I was there all day, right until all the doctors bar the one dealing with me had gone home (it was a Sunday, so the fact the unit was even open was brilliant). By the end of that day they had decided it was some form of optic neuritis and that if I wanted they could start me on steroids as this can help calm an inflammation in the eye and optic nerve and get your sight back quicker ( although no guarantees that it will come back any quicker than it would naturally)

I opted against drugs…I’m not a fan at the best of times and when they couldn’t say that it would definitely make a difference I voted for go home and let nature do its thing. I did have to go back for all sorts of tests and scans in the months that followed, but really…all the interesting stuff happenned in those few days 🙂

And so to wrap up this tale: I was without my sight for a total of 3 months; mostly I just found it really disorientating. When I had both of my eyes open it felt like double vision, my mum actually made me an array of groovy eye patches so that I could at least get on with day to day stuff. A leopard print one, a sparkly one, one with hearts…one for every occasion 😀

The biggest thing it affected at the time was that it stopped me from driving. Despite the fact that when I was wearing the patch I could see perfectly clearly out of my right eye, it just wasn’t worth the risk in my opinion. I truly am so jammy though, this happened to me before I had to keep up with a busy tour schedule. Although I know that if it did happen again I would cope…cos you just do don’t you 🙂 but it definitely was a blessing that it happened when it did.

And so to the lasting effects…the thing that frustrates me most about this whole situation is that I can no longer donate blood, and I haven’t fully checked it out, although I guess that means that my organs won’t be useful to anyone but me now either; which is rubbish! I guess I am going to have to do other things to be helpful in my life time 🙂 Annnnd as for any threat of it happening again…well there just aint no use worrying about that unless it happens eh?

So there you go, there is the whole story. I am not looking for sympathy and if this gig hadn’t of come randomly out of the blue I don’t think I would have had any need to tell you guys. I’m not ashamed of it; it just wouldn’t have come up. I wanted to tell you it all so you would know how close this cause is to my heart and who knows maybe you have experienced something similar and…

Well

Anyway

If you can make it to the Robert Ludlam Theatre on 20th April it will be lovely to meet you and you will be helping an amazing charity. The kids who LOOK provide help for, well most of them aren’t as lucky as I have been and are facing living with visual impairment for the rest of their lives.

Bono moment again, but please just take a minute to think how much not being able to see would affect your life.

The tickets are £20…and before you say ‘cor blimey that’s a lot’, this is a fundraiser and the price of your ticket will be genuinely go a long way in helping LOOK keep up the sensational work they do.

oooo alos, it isn’t just an evening of me larking about you will also be treated to the delights of Annie Mooney, Shannon Walker and Andrew Coleman so all in all it should be a really good evening 🙂

I’ll hope to see you there and if not, I’ll see you soon : )

Hope you’re having a brill weekend (I’m babysitting my sister’s dog and at some point I’ve got to paint my kitchen cupboards teal!)

Ciao for now

Luce xx