The Flown Tour : Part The Third

Ey Up 🙂

Well how’s it going? I am having a great week,  things are going good and I am feeling very productive. In fact, I would go as far to say that I’m on a roll! My ability to get work done however, is directly linked my spring tour coming to an end…booo 😦

But hey, what an awesome two months it’s been; it has been proper cathartic to get back out on the road and just play! I’ve had a chance to play loads of songs from the new record (more news on that soon!), I’ve done a couple of gigs with my lovely band and I’ve also frequented some right lush venues. So all in all, a very special send off for Adelphi, so here it is,   Part 1 of the final round up from The Flown Tour:

This is gonna be well pic heavy cos…well just cos 🙂

Well I headed off to Seaton, Devon for a return visit to the lovely Jurassic Folk. A cracking event hosted in a night club…the most exciting thing about it being in a night club is that there is a pole dancing podium in the middle of the room! Not many folk clubs can boast that now can they! I was tempted to have a go, but I decided that I really couldn’t afford to break any limbs so that was the end of that :p

I’ve gotta show you these…they belong to Hilary, the lovely hostess from jurassic folk. The pink laces just make them, don’t you agree?

Woo Dr Martens!

Woo Dr Martens!

After that gig I was up at the crack of dawn and on the road for 6am to get myself over to cambridge for a day in the studio with Stu and Sam laying the bass down. I was cream crackered, mornings are not my cup of tea! On route we did pass Stone Henge, however from the road it looks distinctly less impressive and strikingly more like the ickle spinal tap version which did make me smile at early o’clock 😀

The day in the studio was great, although I will admit I was a little sleepy at times and had to eat A LOT of malted milks to maintain focus! Sam played amazingly, I’ve known him for 19 years and the dude is just a bass master! Much like the guys in the video below!

…Sam is also a moog whisperer

Moog getting involved :)

Moog getting involved 🙂

Next on the touring schedule was Bothy Folk Club in Southport. My first time at this proper club full of fantastic resident singers and a very friendly audience! It’s completely acoustic and so given the opportunity to not be stuck to a microphone I was having a right boogie on stage…I made a joke about being like beyonce…worrying, I know :p however it seem to fly over the heads of the most traddie in attendance

Hehe, I wish I could move like that…my standard dance moves are much more akin to an octopus trying to put on a jumper 😀 Anyways, Fatea Magazine came and reviewed the evening…you can find it by heading to their website and clicking on ‘live’ 🙂

A few days past and I was flung back into the studio, working with the beautiful soul that is Joy Gravestock. Oh man, it was such an awesome day, it was the beginning of all the grand plans falling into place. I just sat and listened 🙂

Joy

Joy

Busy day alert! 2 festivals in a day! although I have been known to do 3 😉

First up the utterly scrumptious and brand-spanking-new Derbyshire festival ‘Hairpin Hullabaloo‘. I was playing there  with Mills and Chimneys, but the main reason I just have to give this a mention is because this festival was run by my very good friend David Gibb of David Gibb and Elly Lucas with help from ‘Mills…’ compadre Julian Butt and they did a smashing job! 2 days of great folk music including Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies, Pilgrims Way, Greg Russell and more. Here’s to the brilliant hullabaloo long may it reign! 🙂

How gorgeous is this stage?!

How gorgeous is this stage?!

BEAUTIFUL VENUE ALERT!!! Pot Belly Folk Festival at Kettering Arts Centre is a relatively new venture too, this was their 5th folk festival and what a special day it was (I was there for the evening only but I was told the day was just as mighty!). Held in a church this place had a real magic atmosphere to it…proper spinetingling stuff! And I was headlining…headlining…a festival…totally cool 🙂 we did have a few technical hitches but once we got going  all was well. I managed to catch the lovely Hadrian’s Union and Jez Hellard, whom I had never seen before but was totally ace!

Jez Hellard rocking out!

Jez Hellard rocking out!

Just three more stops on the solo dates then I shall leave you in peace for today 🙂

Record Store Day was on the 20th of April and I headed down to ‘David’s‘ in Letchworth for a cheeky stint in their beautiful shop which sells not only records but books/instruments/cake and everything else that is good in the world! I spent lots! Or Rob did, I wasn’t carrying cash 😉

The 1963 production for Radio 4 of The Hobbit = GEEK HAPPINESS!!!!

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The lushly (yes I did make that word up) Dunton Folk is pretty brand new, they started at the back end of 2012 and are really passionate about supporting acoustic music and putting on a fantastic programme of gigs. Also in a church, the venue is just gorgeous, in fact as we drove into the village we could see the church, sun blazing down, flower beds all in bloom it just looked like something out of a water colour ya know 🙂 My old friend Kate Denny (formerly of The Kittiwakes) did a beautiful support set. Awesome arrangements, accompanied by Charlie Skelton…ah it was just so up my street, lots of death, misery and crunchy harmony!

The very last date on the tour was at a launch event for Beverley Festival and I was sandwiched in between 2 lovely gents. T.E Morris who was new to me, but boy has he got passion! And headlining that evening was Steve Tilston. Supporting Steve was my first ever paid gig and it always feels great to play on a bill with him. The man is just such a beautiful songwriter!

Also at this gig there was caravan in the backstage area! Awesomesauce!

Indoor caravanning for the win!

Indoor caravanning for the win!

Right then, that really is enough for today 🙂 But check back tomozipan for the part 2 of this blog where I will be rambling about

  • The recent Lucy Ward Band gigs
  • Top 5 Tour Stats
  • FESTIVAL SEASON!!!
  • The forthcoming new album

Ciao peeps, hope you are enjoying the sunshine!

Luce xx

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The Flown Tour: Part Deux

Ey Up 🙂

How’s it going peeps? Hope you had a restful Easter/Bank Holiday weekend and that you aren’t feeling too ill from all the chocloate/roast dinners/nights out you may have encountered over the weekend 🙂 hehe

I have eaten way tooooooo much this weekend…but what’s new there and it all tasted amazing! :p

Well I am officially half way through my spring tour 🙂 (although spring is a little illusive at the moment wouldn’t you agree) and it is going well lushly! I have been completely bowled over by how many of you guys, old friends and new, have come along so far and the party continues onwards WAHOO!

So before giving you a round up of what’s been cracking off on tour, plus a cheeky little recording update here’s a brief look at where I’m off to next 🙂 clickety clack on the destinations for more info on the gigs…

Devon, Southport, Kettering, Oxfordshire (Lucy Ward Band Gig with O’Hooley and Tidow…muchos rare!), Bedfordshire and Hull (sharing the bill with the marvellous Steve Tilston and Tom Morris)

Right then, cheeky plug/reminder over, here is what I have been up too 🙂

Brewood acoustic music club in Stafforshire 🙂 What a brilliant night, I’d been to a session at this lively club way back when I was just 16 or so and always remembered it as being warm, friendly and above all fun! And I was not disappointed on my return! A proper folk club we had a night of laughs and singing,  including the club anthem: Wild mountain thyme, to finish up the evening. Attending that evening was a lovely little girl, and quite possibly one of my youngest ever gig patrons, hence why she totally deserves a mention! Just 3 years old  and she knew all of the words to Maids When You’re Young…start em young I say 😉 hehe. I also got gifted a really beautiful treble clef ring and some filled cobs from lovely venue manager Vicky. Happy Days!

Next up was my stint down in Kent at Folk In The Barn, and the first PRE SELL OUT of the tour…needless to say I was well excited! A tea time gig on a sunday, where super tasty veggie bangers and mash proceeded my sets and I was lucky enough to be joined on stage by proper talented, local boy done good, Luke Jackson. We did a version of House Of The Rising Sun together…the boy is fabulous! Find out more about Luke here.

rubbish phone quality, but me and Luke having a jam :)

rubbish phone quality, but me and Luke having a jam 🙂

And the snow continued to come down…but thankfully I just got to make snow angels and didn’t have to cancel any gigs…perfect combo!

It was off up to Sheffield next and what a special evening that was. In the gorgeous Lantern Theatre in Netheredge 🙂 the oldest theatre in sheffy, it’s proper, all red velvet and raked stage with the cutest balcony you’ve ever seen, (a balcony! at one of my gigs! Shirley Bassey eat your heart out!) well worth a visit if you are ever that way!

Pic from the yorkshire times

The view from the stage 😀

I was blessed with a packed audience, just 8 tickets unsold which I was pretty well chuffed with particularly as the snow was relentlessly blizzarding outside. I was supported by Pip Mountjoy, whos lovely mellow sound kicked of the evening beautifully.

Lastly on this mid tour round up was a jaunt Lincolnshire way to Faldingworth Live. Twas another baltic night but it saw the second pre sell out of the tour; woop! When we arrived there a tap had been a tap left on in the venue’s kitchen and we had to help the poor promoter and sound man mop up before cracking on with getting ready for the gig 🙂 soggy disaster overted we had a dry and enjoyable evening hehe. Supported by BBC Young Folk Award Finalist Sunjay Brayne, who incidentally is releasing his new single today! Go forth and check it out peeps 🙂

In other gigging news my band gig in Derby on 18th April is now completely sold out…proper excited to be playing to a capacity crowd in my home town 🙂

Outside of gigging I’ve also been back in the studio putting some exciting finishing touches to my forthcoming record 😀 Was a totally awesome day and I can finally hear the album coming together, just a few more sessions to go hehe…

YAY Cello and Bass times!

YAY Cello and Bass times!

And outside of music I’ve had a well family few weeks, in fact my mum made dinner for 17 of us just the other day, it was a bit mental but totally wonderful all the same.

So that’s it, you lot take care and I’ll catch you soon

Luce xx

The Flown Tour : Part Uno!

Eh Up 🙂

How’s it going you lovely lot? I am well thanks, I have been working hard since we last spoke and catching up with the tv brilliance that is ‘Nashville‘! Have you seen it?! The music is flipping ace! It’s got me feeling all inspired to write a country album :p hehe or to at least crack out my Patsy Cline vinyls!

So then, the tour has officially kicked off, I have done 4 gigs, and it has been a blast, I am loving being out on the road again, gigging, meeting loads of new folk, catching up with old friends – to cut a long story short – I’m having a ball! 😀 And thankfully there is plenty of touring still to be had 🙂 I’ll be in StaffordshireKent (Just 8 tickets left!), Sheffield (Limited availability), Lincolnshire (Just 8 tickets left!) , DevonSouthportKetteringBedfordshire and Hull before the spring is out!

As part of this tour I will also be doing two rare gigs with The Lucy Ward Band 😀 Members of the band include the gorgeous, uber talented, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees O’Hooley and Tidow, Sam Pegg on bass guitar and Joy Gravestock on strings. Catch us…

18th April – Derby Guildhall  (Limited Availability – Can’t wait to play my home town!)

19th April – Abingdon Guildhall

————————

Anyways, shameless plug over, here is a little round up on what has happened so far on this here spring tour 🙂

The tour kicked off in Croydon with a night hosted in super indie, super lovely Matthews Yard. The first thing that told me that this was gonna be a great gig was cos people were allowed to bring cups of tea into the gig…how brilliant is that! But hot beverages aside, two great support acts, 1 young duo just starting out (in fact it was their first gig) and comedy songstress Jenny Lockyer kicked off the night in style

Another reason I was proper chuffed was because we reached ’emergency chairs’ capacity, which is always a good sign 🙂

The gig went well and the audience were lovely. Afterwards I asked a lady if she knew of anywhere good to get some grub (cos I have always have the major munchies after playing) and it turned out she was the land lady of  fantastic local pub, The Green Dragon, and though the kitchens were closed she went and personally cooked me and Rob chip butties 🙂 GET IN!

Bit dark but YAY for chip butties!

Bit dark but YAY for chip butties!

The next day the tour took a turn further south with a stop at Burgess Hill Fairtrade Festival supporting the mighty Martin SimpsonI was bricking it, naturally, but Martin was really lovely and I can now say I have sat down to lasagne with the great man himself (pretty cool eh?!). This was the only support spot in the tour, but (in addition to supporting Martin Simpson) to be part of this festival which works so hard to highlight the core issues surrounding Fairtrade and to educate us on how we can all make a conscious effort to support justice and equality in our day to day lives, was just too important a thing to miss.

Back up in the midlands, a gig at Tump Folk Club, where not only tea was served but you could get it in whacking, great, massive 6 cup teapots HAPPY DAYS 😀 hehe! A cracking club with a lovely audience, I was supported by the americana influenced outfit Borderline Crossing, they’ve got a real groove to their music those guys and a fun night was had. I also got gifted some proper fancy macaroons…which were amazing! 

Lastly for this update, it was off Macclesfield way to Bollington Arts Centre, a gorgeous venue in a converted Methodist church. And it turned out to be a really special gig, as loads of you folks that I have met over the years came down to say hello and the energy in the room was buzzing. Plus it was sold out which was a right cheeky bonus! 😀

Right then folks, you take care and I’ll hopefully see you somewhere soon

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

Belated 2012 round up, the future and so on :)

I am sure you have all seen the terrible news this week about the tragic accident at a Fisherman’s Friends show that killed Paul McMullen and Trevor Grills. I have written this blog today with a sadness in my heart as it was over 2012 that I met, worked with and became friends with both of these kind and talented men. My love and thoughts go out to their families in this time of great tragedy. Both Paul and Trevor made an impact on many peoples lives and they will not be forgotten.

Ey Up 🙂

Well here we are, 2013.

What with having the lurgy and starting to record the new album, January kinda flew by and before i knew it…it had gone. But even though we have now rolled on into February this IS the first blog post of the new year, so it seems appropriate to do a quick round up on all the mentalness that 2012 held…so here we go, a whistle stop tour of the year that was! Bestest highlights only to keep this blog to novella length hehe! 🙂

January:

  • I started the year with a lovely writing holiday on the Devon/Cornwall border, in an attempt to kick start my mind into second album gear 🙂 I think I succeeded more in scaring myself half to death with the thought of ‘the difficult second album’ but a year later it’s all written and I am finally in the studio laying it all down 🙂
  • My first Derbyshire Volounteers gig – This was veryyyyyy special, I had been inducted into the ranks of ‘official’ Derbyshire Folkies, playing in a scratch band with the likes of John Tams, Barry Coope, Fi Fraser, Kendrick:Needham, Cupola, Mick Peat and more…there are nearly 20 of us in total! It’s just an amazing opportunity to play with a myriad of ridiculously brilliant and giving musicians, plus I think I am the honorary baby of the group which is quite a nice experience hehe
  • For The Dead Men was released…

February:

  • THE FOLK AWARDS! what an amazing experience that was, and looking back nearly a year on; what an array of amazing opportunities that award has brought my way…a really special evening that I certainly won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Click here for full blog on the folk awards!

March:

  • I went on tour with the lovely Phil Beer, the man is truly a ledge! Beautiful music, beautiful venues and a particularly beautiful sandwich in Torrington I seem to recall, cheese and pickle, mmmm
  • I moved house, and painted it every colour you can imagine…BUT NOT MAGNOLIA! 😀 I also put a tardis in the kitchen, you know, just in case the doctor wants to come for tea 🙂
Polyfilla Poser

Polyfilla Poser

April:

  • I visited the hallowed halls of Cecil Sharp House for the very first time. I guess for all folkies the place has a strange majesty to it (sounds daft but it certainly evokes that feeling in me); perhaps because you know it holds the roots of  the tradition, or perhaps it’s the gorgeous little bijou cafe, either way, it’s worth a visit. I was supporting my self pronouced ‘surrogate lesbian parents’ O’Hooley and Tidow (btw, have you listened to their 2nd album yet? It’s beautiful!) Find more about their music here.
  • We got kittens! And they are well cool! Totally make the house, I named mine Ziggy Stardust, for this reason: ‘Screwed up eyes and screwed down hair-do, like some CAT from Japan’…’Well hung with a SNOW WHITE tan’…there really is no better name for a white cat wouldn’t you agree? 🙂
Ziggy

Ziggy

May:

  • Rob got Laser eyes! I was kind of hoping that this would mean he would be like Cyclops from X-Men and be able shoot lasers out of his eyes…apparently, that not how it works 😦 boooo! but none the less this got a mention because science is amazing, a 7 miunte procedure followed by perfect vision, it’s just unbelieveable! 🙂
  • I somehow managed to land myself a gig at the famous Ronnies’ Bar, yep, i do mean the famous jazz club Ronnies Bar, but what a spectacular evening it was. I’ll be honest, I was pretty apprehensive as to whether he audience would go for my brand of daft banter but they were well up for it. It was transformed into a folk club in minutes and I am very proud to say that I even had the suited and booted business men singing ‘Maids When You’re Young’ hehe 😀
  • May also saw me headline a festival for the first time ever. The small but perfectly formed Doncaster Folk Festival! You know what, I spent my childhood going to music and new age festivals, I spend my working life at Folk Festivals, and this festival, despite being a very simple and small set up, has an amazing vibe. The crowd are always up for a laugh, they are warm and giving and it’s all indoors so no mud (I am not put off by a bit of mud but it is a pain when you’re carting stuff about) Plus there are hot homemade stews on a dolly trolly…whats not to like!
  • It’s very rare that musicians get to go to gigs cos they are always gigging themselves;  and in all honesty, when I aint gigging, the novelty of a night in is sometimes just too much to resist. But back in May me and Rob went to see Coldplay for the 2nd time, and I tell you, big arena concerts aren’t my fave (if you are at the back you sometimes can feel so disjointed from the gig that you feel you might as well be watching it on the telly) but this gig was amazing! An inclusive, emotional and communal experience from start to finish. Cracking night!
I love you Chris Martin!!!

I love you Chris Martin!!!

June:

  • Festival season was well underway by this point, and the  true beginning of my summer under canvas…i am definitely the queen of camp! Palatial tent for the win!
  • Cupola:Ward had it’s first gig. Tis proper exciting to be part of band, especially cos I almost always play solo! And even more especially because Cupola are all so flipping talented, I just get to prance around pretending I’m Mick Jagger or Iggy Pop :p
  • Mills and Chimneys combined with mighty Sinphonia Viva to undertake a mammoth project involving schools from all over Derbyshire in composing music and songs inspired by their own county’s history. It was the first time I’ve worked with an orchestra, and my they are a clever bunch of clogs! And the kids were amazing; singing songs we had written for and with them – not a dry eye in the house!
  • A true rarity! I went to a festival purely as a punter! Isle Of Wight Festival is a blast. It’s got a really chilled communal vibe and when it wasn’t raining, the sun was so glorious that my nose was not dissimilar to Rudolph’s. Best acts we saw were probably Biffy Clyro and Joan Armatrading (I cried at her gig, I love her music so much and she is such a beautiful performer)…ooo and it was a bit muddy to say the least:
MUD :D

MUD 😀

  • And then we went to Sark. Sark is amazing. No cars, No pavements (cos there are no cars to run you over), No streetlamps (The sky was bursting with stars!) and a cracking little festival! You must go! Because Sark is awesome!
Playing in a vineyard :)

Playing in a vineyard 🙂

Ah man I’ve rambled on loads, congratulations if you have made it this far, I am just rubbish at being succinct! Right, time to step it on up a gear WARP SPEED AHEAD!

July:

  • Supported Seth Lakeman again…I love him!
  •  I was invited back to my old school to judge their music festival. I was in it 7 times, very weird to be the one making the decisions hehe
  •  I met oddsocks and the journey of becoming a composer for theatre began…yay 😛
  • I played for the first time at Cambridge Folk Festival, and somehow managed to pull a full capacity crowd…MENTAL! Whilst I was there I also did a stint for Sky Arts (for both tv and an exclusive web interview)…MENTAL! watch the exclusive video here.

August:

  • Rebellion punk festival! Oh man, it was so good! And I had the most boring hair out of anyone there which made a refreshing change hehe :p It was great to be included! Folk and Punk are very similar in my mind, songs of the people, by the people…plus I can now say I have supported BOW WOW WOW…’GO WILD IN THE COUNTRY’
  •  More dashing up and down the country for festivals 🙂

September:

  • The recording of the soundtrack for Folie a Deux!  And working with the amazing Barna, a Hungarian gypsy fiddle player who’s music was out of this world…more about that project here

October:

  • My beautiful new nephew was born, he is my 9th little one and a right little man!
  • Netherlands tour and european jaunt…which was brill…so much cheese…more info here

November

  • Premiere of Folie in Amsterdam! My name on the big screen, utterly mad, but an amazing moment that I will treasure.

December:

  • After working through out the year on writing new material for the album I was back in the studio beginning to lay down the bare bones of the tracks 😀
  • Took part in an amazing collaborative project with the Hullaballoo Community Quire down in Brighton. They had set some of my songs to music and we performed them together in a beautiful chapel, ah man, twas just lovely!

Then it was xmas, and xmas is always super special in our house, what with 5 brothers and sisters and 9 nieces and nephews you can imagine it’s a pretty hectic one 🙂

I played 28 festivals, 86 Folk Clubs, traveled 16,00 miles, and (soppy moment brewing)  I want to thank each and every promoter, committee, techy, audience member, pie maker and pizza seller that I have met along the way…you continue to make my job a pleasure 🙂

So there you have it, 2012 in a nut shell!

I’ve babbled way too much already, but in the worlds quickest run down 2013 has much in store for me already:

2nd album release  International Folk Conference in Canada, Touring again in Holland, more touring, the release of the Penguin Companion album (more details of that coming soon) and so much more, I can’t wait to see what else 2013 has to bring 🙂

For now, you take care out there, and live everyday like it’s your last.

Luce xx

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