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

Advertisements

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

Billy Bragg, For The Dead Men and Fishermen

Ey up 🙂

Well ya know I was going to do you a big fishyfriends write up

Me and the Fisherman's Friends 🙂

…well I am still going to do that…but as per life I have turned on facebook and got distracted :s hehe

I got distracted because Billy Bragg has shared the video for my single, ‘For The Dead Men’

‘Good day for news yesterday – James Murdoch goes back to New York with his tail between his legs, the Tories are forced into a U-turn on workfare by activists putting pressure on big business and then hearing this new song on 6Music late last night “Stand up and take to the streets, they can’t ignore us if we all choose to speak”. Brilliant’

I first saw Billy Bragg when I was just ten years old at Glastonbury, he blew me away and since that time I have held such a massive respect for that fella and his music. I’ve seen him play a number of times (including a duet with Bill Bailey! which was nothing short of brilliant!), poured over his albums and just well…he is up there in my eyes as one of those people who has done so much, and written lyrics that I covet and..

What I am trying to say is that it is very surreal that Billy Bragg has heard of me, let alone likes my song.

Totally true, utterly stunned bit out of the way, someone asked me at my gig on monday why I wrote this song and why ‘dead men’; it was quite a big question and I think I could of rambled on about it for yonks (you know how I like to talk :p ).  Well I have been thinking about it more since that question and thought that for this weeks post I would have a little muse about what inspired it, how I wrote it and how I feel about it now.

Why did I write it?

I wrote it out of desperation! I guess it was a reaction to what is going on in the world, catalysed by watching the marches, riots and revolutions unfold on my tv screen. I am a total pacifist, and a veggie one at that so please know that I would never condone any violence, but there was something about watching  those who were making their voices heard (in a peaceful way) that just…i dunno…spoke to me.  

 Why dead men?
 
It started out as a reference to those who have marched before us, but as the song has developed I feel it has become more than that. I really think it refers to us all, ‘the dead men’ are those of us sticking our heads in the sand, ignorant to what is happening and our power to affect it. It’s apathy. It is also all those on the thin edge of the wedge who have been left deal with the true fall out of the cuts and reforms… while the rest of us (including myself) sit in our warm, paid up homes thinking about cutting down our broadband package.
 
The response that this song has had so far has been quite overwhelming with lots of you guys sharing it online, it has been knocked around ‘occupies’ all over the world since I recorded it, Mike Harding has shared it, it’s beginning to get airplay and today with Billy Bragg sharing it with his 90,000 + fans on facebook it really feels like something important is happening. It’s just great to know that there are people out there who feel the same.
 
please continue to share this should you feel so inclined
 Just for your info, this single is my first new release since my album last year. It is available on itunes and amazon as a download and if you would like a physical copy then they are only available from me, (just £3 + £1 for postage and packaging)…just drop me an email on info@lucywardsings.com and I’ll get back to you asap 🙂   
 
 Right then
 
I best go get ready as it is the first date of my tour Spring Horizon Tour tonight…very exciting as I am kicking off with a Derbyshire date 😀
 
For full list of tour dates click to —> http://www.lucywardsings.com/dates.php
 
Have a lovely thursday guys
 
Luce xx
 
 

FOLK AWARDS! :D Horizon award winner 2012

 

Ey Up!

How goes it? 🙂

Sorry it’s taken me til now to get to blogging. Yesterday was taken up with travelling home, radio interview, appearance on local news tv and just generally trying to catch up with emails and some of the lovely messages you lot have sent through…I think I will be doing that for most of today as well which is right lovely ! 🙂

So anyways, if you didn’t manage to catch it I was lucky enough to win the Horizon Award which is for emerging talent and the contribution they have made to our folk scene over the past year.

My lovely shiny folk award and my lovely shiny shoes

Check out the link below, you can watch the folk awards there and there is a full list of nominees’ winners and links to  highlights etc 🙂

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/events/folk-awards-2012/

So then, I am quite sure that this post is going to be a completely confused ramble of excitedness but I am going to try and tell you the full story of the day leading up to it, my experience of going to the folk awards for the first time, the after party and what happened next (perferably in that order)

Wednesday am

I woke up a bundle of excitement, which was a very welcome change from the nervous adrenaline that I had previously been experiencing! And knowing that I had to nip to town to get a few last minute bits and bobs (bangles to be precise) I hopped into my scruffs, got all my 3 potential outfits for the evening ready and in the car…in fact by the time Rob finished packing the car, I think I had all but the kitchen sink  and my pink elephant totempole! But anyways, I found what I needed and we headed straight over to my folks and piled everything and ourselves into their navy blue wonder vehicle and set off for Salford. The journey was picturesque as we went through Derbyshire, up to Glossop and on to Manc from there…the snow on the hillside and the sheep in the fields…it was stuff of folk song I can tell ya 😉 . We did as we always would do on any Wardy journey, stuck the ipod on and sang like crazy people all the way, Bohemian Rhapsody, Itchycoo Park, all the classics 🙂 in fact in the ipod shuffleness we did even get Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’…which in the law of my scrumptious mum mean we have to stop the car, get out and boogie on the side of the road, which scared a lot of passing traffic I am sure.  But we had fun 😀 (we have to do it to the B52’s ‘Love Shack’ if it ever comes on too)   

This was awaiting me on mum and dad's doorstep...dafties!

Wednesday pm – the arrival and getting ready

When we arrived at MediaCity UK, the new home of all things BBC, we were staying in an apartment there…it was very swish I can tell ya! White walls, dark wood flooring, posh bathroom, even posher kitchen and a glass coffee table that everyone but me seemed to bash their shin on at some point within the first 10 minutes :s hehe. Seeing as various family members where going to be making the journey up we thought it best just to have a base for everyone to congregate at 🙂 So we went down to ‘Booths’ which is Waitrose but even posher…it was that posh that they had nearly sold out of quails eggs lol :p . We got all things tasty, saw Steve Knightley purchasing some hot grub and headed back up to the apartment to start the long process of getting ready, freaking out, gathering the fam and stuffing our faces 😀  

This is THE dress, this was taken as i walked out of the changing room buying it at COW, Birmingham

The next bit is all a bit of a blur really cos it seemed to fly by all too fast. I did my face and despite taking 3 potential outfits settled on one straight away – a vintage 70’s maxi dress which I described in a previous blog as being Farrah Fawcett meets a mirror ball-esque :p . In the process of getting dolled up I got a phone call from Radio Derby and did a little chat live on air with them…really good to see that despite loosing Folkwaves that the main shows are still willing to give air time to folk 😀 I think the chat was mainly me rambling on like a nutter getting all excited but anyways, after that was done I mounted my mighteous Irregular Choice shoes and off to The Lowry Centre we went.

Me and Rob on the way down in the lift

 
 

on route with Rob, Mum and my lovely sis Jan

Wednesday pm – The Folk Awards

In we went and straight away I saw loads of people I knew, which put my mind at rest I can tell you, all the nerves changed to the excitement of just being there. I have said a lot over the past couple of days that just being counted amongst a load of musicians who I deeply respect and whose music I love was plenty enough…winning was an added cheeky bonus. So we took our seats, my mum and dad in the circle, my sis and one of my bro’s up in the gods, Rob’s folks stuck behind the camera crane thing. Me and Rob defo got the best seats out of all of us :p

We’d worked out I was on the end of a row so thought that could bode well for potentially having to get out and go up on stage 🙂 but on getting into the theatre most of the nominated acts were on the end so that put and end to that notion and all there was left to do was wait. Luckily  both my categories were in the first half…otherwise I think I might of exploded with the tension!

So we watched the awesome Martin Simpson + Band open the show and I cheer extra loud for Will Pound’s harmonica solo (cos he is quite frankly one of the loveliest fella’s in folk) and for a split second I kinda forgot what we were here to do and was just enjoying some cracking live music, then Mike (Harding) and Julie (Fowlis) got to introducing the show and the nominees for the first category and it all became very real again knowing that Horizon Award was up next.

So it gets to Horizon Award time, and the camera’s are rushing round trying to get shots of all the nominee’s faces…I make sure I am sitting up staright and am prepared to pull my best not too disappointed face hehe…and then Badly Drawn Boy, who was presenting this award, said something along the line’s of  ‘she has……from Derby’  and the combination of singular female combined with my home town gave the game away before he had even said my name. We were sitting behind John Tams and family, his gorgeous wife Sally turned round, wiggled her finger at me and exclaimed ‘It’s you!’ accompanied by the rallying cry of ‘C’mon Derby’ from Tam 😀

I was blown away, I honestly had no inkling as to who would win and didn’t dare entertain too many daydreams that it could be me so as not to get my hopes up.

Blurry pic...probs cos my dad was few miles away and shaking with excitement :p

I then had the arduous task of making it from my seat, up the stairs and accross the stage without falling over in my beautiful but very high shoes (I took the opportunity to wear platforms as being both tall and incapable of singing unless my feet are firmly rooted, means it is very rare I get to wear such beasts!). I made it, and even managed to make a speech. I will admit to you guys that in the few daydreams I allowed myself, I did have think about who I would want to thank. The emotions I was feeling were all the obvious ones I guess, just awesome to recieve such a recognition, and a bit surreal really given I had watched the awards from my living room the year before and said to my folks, ‘well, all i’ve gotta do now is get there’ and for it to happen just a year later…well it’s cool beans! I also remeber thinking that the theatre looked very purple lol 😀

After recieving the award I was ushered off stage by Badly Drawn Boy and we headed into a room off the wings where a photographer was waiting to take our pic against a Radio 2 back drop, I can’t find it yet but I am hoping the pic will turn up online soon so I can stick it in my scrap book!

I headed back to my seat to the sound of wonderful Seth Lakeman doing his thing, and waited for the interval to see my folks. I was quite sure and content in the knowledge that I would not win Best Traditional track although it was cool to be included amongst the likes of my hero June Tabor with Oysterband, Emily Smith and Martin Simpson. On that note didn’t June and Oysterband just clean up! I’m not suprised, Ragged Kingdom is a cracking album!

Anyways, it gets to half time and me and Rob go dashing out to try and find my mum and dad…massive hugs, tears from my folks and lots of friendly faces all coming and saying congratulations which was a right lovely feeling. I tell you, I’ll be buzzing off this one for a while.

Posing for photies 🙂

 
 

Me with my folks 😀 (i'm bending down so I don't dwarf them :p )

 
 

With my sis and bro 😀

 
The rest of the ceremony was great, sprinkled with cracking performances, more wins for Derbyshire based acts…there must be something in the water it would seem. We were sandwiched bewteen Tam and Jackie Oates which meant the camera’s were hanging around us quite a bit…which meant no chance to let it all hang out but that was probably for the best :p

For a full write up from the Gaurdian check out the link below, where Colin Irwin has said: ‘Lucy Ward – a resplendent figure in blue hair and voluminous dress – took the Horizon award for best new act’…BOOM :p

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/feb/09/june-tabor-bbc-folk-awards

Wednesday pm – The after party

Well after the ceremony was over, I’d hugged lots of people and seen my family off, me and Rob headed round to the bar at the Lowry where the wrist banded after party was cracking off. I’m not a great fan of this hobnobbing schmoozing malarky but it seemed to flow really easily, meeting new people and catching up with old faces. I guess that’s folk all over though aint it, a sense of community comes easily 🙂

Right then, the true highlight of the event ladies and gentlemen…

I GOT TO MEET AND HUG JUNE TABOR!

After chickening out of professing my love for here before, I felt that this might be my only chance, so as we passed each other I just stopped and blurted out how I find her music so inspirational and how the way she sings just speaks to my very core.

ME AND JUNE TABOR!!!!!!!!

What a woman!

I don’t want to sound like a name dropper, but if I told you all the folkies I got to speak to I’ll sound like one, so in short, I got to talk to a hella lot of people I seriously respect. Just thinking about it now to write this here blog it’s…well…mental! I mean the Dubliners started up a sing song in the bar, a moment I will surely never ever forget witnessing.

Me and Mike...him green, me blue...2/3rds of earth wind and fire?

Anyway, back to the apartment we trotted home about 1:30am, I know a lot of people stayed up much later, but we were shatterd and I wanted to get chance to see my mum and dad, cos as I said in my speech (sentimental bit coming here) my mum and dad help me soooo much, I wanted to be with them to share all the excited emotions and good stuff. Below is a pic of me, Rob and mum watching my acceptance speech back on the BBC Radio 2 website :p

🙂

 

I feel I have rambled muchos and that this is possibly the longest blog post in living history ever! So for that reason, I will save all the backstage details of my trip to East Midlands Today TV Headquarters, twas very cool.

Right then, after spending all of today slaving over a hot computer, I am off to a little family gathering to celebrate, CRACK OPEN THE PIES!

Ciao for now,

Luce xx

ps: I just wanted to say, it can be really hard to talk about things like awards without sounding really diva like. I really hope I haven’t come across that way and that it truly was a pleasure to just be there 🙂