The Flown Tour : Fourth, Final and Festivals

Ey Up 🙂

So here it is, the follow up to yesterdays blog 🙂

Band gigs:

WAHOO! It is very rare that I get the opportunity to play with a band so these gigs were something truly special 🙂 I am wayyyyy lucky to work with such talented and kind people. Ahh man I was just buzzing!!

First stop was a sold out gig in my home town of DERBADOS!!! The audience was crammed full with not only peeps who like my music but also my family, friends, old school teachers and other people I have met along the way. There was just something in the air, but no need to call out the instigators (see what I did there), there is just something about playing in your home town that has a vibe like no other. A distinctly scary vibe lol, I was bricking it!! But in all the good ways 😀

woop band!

woop band!

The band line up is an ever changing, ever growing array of awesome people and I was blessed to be able to have both Sam Pegg and Joy Gravestock there, but also my self pronounced surrogate parents O’Hooley and Tidow. We had very little time to rehearse together given everyone’s busy schedules; in fact, the first time Joy played with the rest of the guys was at the sound check before doors! But it’s a true testament to those guys for pulling it off, they really nailed it.

In fact there was a brilliant moment after we had finished one of the tracks, I stepped back so all the guys were in front of me and witnessed an exchange of looks across the stage that said silently ‘Oh my Jeff! That actually worked, we did it ARGGGHHHH’ 😀 hehe.

Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself a bit here, given that this was a special night, I went all out with the stage decor, lanterns/chairs/cushions/throws/telephones/vases all from my own home and a load of cut tree branches on the edge of the stage that had come from my mums garden. I had a lot of help from my family, we built a diddy, cosy nest for us to play music in and it felt well good 🙂

Me and Rob also made a big pack up picnic…no band of mine is going unfed!

PICNIC!

PICNIC!

My lovely band devouring the picnic backstage at The Guildhall, Derby

My lovely band devouring the picnic backstage at The Guildhall, Derby

There was lush sound, groovy lights, a smoke machine…it was like being on stars in your eyes! and I totally loved it hehe!

Vids to come of that evening by the way peeps so keep your eyes peeled on facey b, Twitter and YouTube.

We were lucky enough to not only have 1 night of band loving but got to do it all again the next day in Abingdon, thanks to the lovely Jenny at Seahorse promotions who had booked in the most amazing little guildhall you’ve ever seen with a gorgeous minstrel gallery and everything! Just look

Toooooooooo cute!

Toooooooooo cute!

More Than The Music also wrote a really lovely review of the night…have a gander here

So then as the very last note on this here tour check out the Top 5 Tour Facts:

1: 3000 miles covered (this is travel to and from gigs only)

2: 8 car picnics consumed (just to clarify, this is where you eat picnics in the car, not when you eat cars as a picnic!)

3: 5 completely sold out gigs

4: 200 songs performed

5: Last, but certainly not least, the sound effect we used on Belinda’s electric piano was entitled “Massive Organ”

Proof!

Proof!

FESTIVAL SEASON IS HERE!!!!!! and that is mightily exciting! I have done a couple of early spring gatherings but this is the beginning of my summer spent living in a tent hehe. I will be playing at:

And I am proper excited about playing all of them!!!! There are lots of festivals that I have never been to before, Beverley, Towersey, Big Tree, Greenbelt but also I am going to be going to my spiritual home/the festival I grew up going to as an artist for the very first time: Glastonbury WOOP!!!

 

Lastly, my new album is very very nearly ready…the 2nd cut arrived in the post this morning 😀 Happy days!

ARRRGGGHHHHH sooo excited!

ARRRGGGHHHHH sooo excited!

See you soon peeps

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

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

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

Date changes! and a little tit bit of tomorrows BLOG MONDAY :)

Ey Up Blog Beans

How goes it? Well I hope! I have been off to the pasty filled delights of Cornwall/Devon this week  to try and make some head way on material for my new album, and squidge a bit of a holiday too. It has been smashing, uber peaceful, pretty creative and just generally lush all over 🙂 but I shall tell you more about that tomozipan (knicked that word from Miranda Hart, I LOVE THAT WOMAN)

Miranda...be my bride!

 So anyways my lovelies, those of you who read the last BLOG MONDAY, or follow me on Twitter/Facey B will know that today was due to be the release of my forthcoming and first ever single ‘For The Dead Men’,

however,

‘For The Dead Men’ will be released on 29th January 2012

So only an extra week to wait, and an extra week for me to get nervous/excited and become a babbling wreck! :p

The download of the single will be available from all the places you would expect, itunes, amazon etc butttttttttt…there are some REAL LIVE COPIES that not only have the single but a cd exclusive (that won’t be avavilable for download)…a maids when you are young remix, which has a rather chilled and cheeky vibe even if I do say so myself.

Now then, here’s the deal, the physical copies of the CD are completely limited edition. Basically, It’s a one off print, so at risk of sounding like I’m giving you the hard sell, once they are gone, they really will be gone 🙂 I must say having a limited edition single is pretty cool, I feel like a Spice Girl, Blue Spice perhaps? But anyways, You can only buy the real singles directly from me so I’ll pop a link up on here tomozipan (I will never get bored of using that word!) and  if you feel like you want a copy, you’ll be able to get one 🙂 if you’re fast enough :p

Soooo then, BLOG MONDAY will contain all sorts of goodness,

  • the filming of my music videos…plural!
  • the recent mother nature photo shoot with the wunderbar Elly Lucas ( find out more about her beautiful self here http://www.ellylucas.co.uk/ )
  • annnd what I got up to on my recent trip to Devwall/Cornon…see what I did there 😛

 

woo me and a palm tree

Right then, now you are fully updated on proceedings, I shall take my leave.

Hope you’re having a smashing sunday, see you tomozipan

BEST WORD EVER xx

‘She watched the green leaves fade and fall’…2011 in an epic nutshell :)

 Ey up Blog Beans,

Well well well, here it is, the second instalment of BLOG MONDAY! Which, in case you had missed it, is my ingenious plot to get you up to date with all things 2011, the stuff that’s brewing in 2012 and just generally make sure you’re filled in. It has taken me some time to write this here 2011 review so I can only apologise for my tardiness and hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me 🙂

SPRING!

Well after recording the bulk of ‘Adelphi Has To Fly’ in the winter of 2010, Spring 2011 was a time for working! Going through the rough mixes, popping down to the studio to record odd extra bits and bobs, getting photo’s done, approving artwork and a whole wealth of stuff I never even considered would need to be done. It was quite an anxious few months if I am honest. I said this at the time (in fact I think there is a blog  mentioning it) but I felt that making the album was a bit like having a baby (especially given as it took exactly 9 months from signing to release)!  Now, I haven’t yet spawned a sprog so I can’t say for certain, but, the sense of spending months trying to make something that is lovely and as perfect as you know how to make it, and then it’s born (released in album terms) and  you have quite little control over it. People will like it, or they won’t, and they’ll judge accordingly. Very odd.

all the album artwork 🙂

Having said all of that it was also a ridiculously exciting time! Hearing my music professionally recorded for the first time. Seeing boxes of my album being produced. I’m going to sound like a right cheesy drip here…but it’s the dream for any musician aint it! And I felt suitably lucky, jammy, excited, humbled and just ooooooo I dunno, CHUFFED! 😀

the first box of CD's

Working with Stu (Stu Hanna of Megson) was an awesome experience. I was quite nervous as there are all sorts of horror stories out there of producers who change too    much, and make it their album instead one that is distinctly the artist’s. But with Stu I really found he knew how to get the best out of my performance, and between us we made an album that I am really proud of. I’m really excited to be working with him again!

So with all the manufacturing done, the promo copies sent out for review and potential radio play it was essentially a waiting game. Adelphi was officially released on 13th June but prior to that I had a festival launch at Shepley. Ah man, it was the most nerve-racking thing EVER, just all the pent up energy of  9 months of work and preparation… and in addition to that it was one of the very first (and so far few) outings of The Lucy Ward Band (O’Hooley and Tidow and a lovely bass player Sam Pegg), I was bricking it, but it was amazing too…are you ready for more cheesiness? Hope so cos here it comes :p it kind of felt like, I was a proper musician, I know that sounds daft, but launching the album was kind of like saying ‘it was worth not going to uni, it’s been 3 years since you left 6th Form, this is your degree now’

 
 
 
 
The Lucy Ward Band – Main Stage Shepley
 

Now I’ve stopped vomiting verbal sentimentality all over your good selves I will move on to SUMMER!

A rundown of summer factoids for you

1: I had the pleasure of attending Priddy Festival again this year, smashing place. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s like a tiny little Glastonbury and I love it. This year however, they had big screens…twas ace…i felt like beyonce! Anyways, I got a DVD of the performance and let’s just say there was a bit of a wardrobe malfunction during the concertina section of my set and purple bra was on show…oh dear :s hehe

me being beyonce

Cupola:Ward

2: The first ever Cupola:Ward gig was had, at Belper Folk Club. We then went onto Sidmouth and have had another couple of gigs since. Things are going well 🙂 I am mainly loving it cos I’m getting the chance to practise my harmony singing skills!

 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
3: My first ever Sidmouth! It’s amazing; every other shop is a bakery…nom nom nom! I was there with Cupola:Ward but did do a little solo stint at O’Hooley and Tidow’s cabaret! Where they opened the show with a Euro Pop reimagining of ‘Are You Going To Scarborough Fair’ complete with robot dance moves! Those ladies are crazy! I love em! And it saw the very first outing of my cover of Pulp’s ‘Common People’  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jp7HmNnIpw 
 
4: D’o’bergines was born! The power harmony trio that is myself, the beautiful Miss Ruth Notman and the scrumptious Miss Anna Esslemont. This is a very slow burn project but one the sisterhood has been cast, there is no breaking away from it 😉 I mean we even have two sets of code names for crying out loud: Notster, Bluey and Cowbag & J-Lu, Rihanna and Britney!

5: I recorded a Jingle for Adam Wilson’s Quiet Revolution on HFM radio…A jingle! So cool!

6: The Guardian reviewed ‘Adelphi…’ and gave it not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 mother flippin stars 😀 I was and still am soooooo stoked

7: I got my first ever standing ovation at Shrewsbury Folk Festival (I got two in the same gig). I think it was another one of those moments where everything came together. This video is the encore of the set; after the first ovation, it’s pretty shaky cos, I’ll be honest, my Dad’s crying, well so was I and all. An amazing feeling

 

Me and Mike Harding - u have no idea how much trouble I got into with my Dad for wearing that leopard print top to meet him :p

8: I got interviewed by Mike Harding, which was pretty ace! I walked into smooth operations HQ really nervous and one of the first things I said was ‘Thank you so much for this Mike, it means a lot that you would play the album and show it some support’, he turned round and said ‘I wouldn’t play it if it were rubbish’. Well that told me lol 😀 .Then after recording the interview we then spent another hour nattering about politics and literature, twas a lovely afternoon. 

There is not room to fit everything here but summer really was a blast! I had a couple of weeks to collect my thoughts and get back on the admin bicycle, then I was back on the road again for my AUTUMN tour.

Autumn saw my very first headline tour! Crazy! I have always just done gigs, lots of  gigs, but not a kind of organised array of headline dates spread across 2 months with matching tour flyers. It was another step forward in what had already turned out to be a mental year. I tell you, me, and ward incorporated (my folks and Rob) are on a steep but fun learning curve. It was the first time really where it was truly upon my head if I couldn’t get a crowd together. But I was really lucky, none of the gigs were just me, my mum and a dead dog. And in fact there were even 3 sell out dates. Very very cool! Having said that, that success rate was also based on working with a lot of really great promoters and clubs, it just all seemed to come together really. I must of done something blummin amazing in a past life to deserve all this good fortune I can tell ya!

The scariest one was probs All Hallows Church in Leeds, I had sold only 2 tickets in advance and was really worrying but then 30+ people walked in and bought tickets on the night. Phew was all I could say!

Well autumn turned to WINTER (as tis the natural order of things)

I was expecting quite a chilled out November/December/January, winding down gigs and getting down to some writing; but as per usual it turned out to be the exact opposite of what I expected (In a good way mind you!)

First off, the blummin Folk Award nominations (see past blogs for uber mad ramblings on this subject). I am still completely overwhelmed about it all,  when I sit down and think about how cool it is to even be included in the awards; tis surreal really. Very nervous for the award ceremony already, I watched it on the telly last year and they had Roger Daltrey present an award…ROGER DALTREY!!! In the name of Baba O’Reilly there is no substitute for that man (see what I did there :p )

I wrote  ‘For The Dead Men’ in September time, a bit of a protest song really, there is a live version on YouTube. I sent it to Stu and the peeps at the record company just as a ‘hey, this is what I have been working on’, and if I am honest, as a cheeky little nudge to say ‘I am up for a 2nd album if you are’ 😉 hehe. And, well they really really liked it and we decided to put it out as a single.

So December has been filled with recording and photoshoots( full deets brewing in the next BLOG MONDAY) and all that kinda stuff…as well as loads of food and Crimbliss type celebrations.

Geisha Mother Nature

 

I also got round to some daft xmas offerings of the musical variety! 🙂

tiny ferrets!!

 In other news, none music related, 2011 saw me move house twice,have ferret babies (although I did not personally give birth to them!), I zumba’d a lot,

glasto moustaches!

glasto moustaches!

I Glasto’d for the 8th time, I saw Jarvis Cocker in real life! And to top it all off I jived in the middle of Tesco and my folks bought me a banjo (the first thing on my santa baby list, now all i need is a motorhome and a spot on Later with Jools) !

So there you go, you are filled in, wishing you all an amazing 2012 🙂

Lots of Love

Luce xx