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

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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

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