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
 
 

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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 🙂

‘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

NEW RECORDINGS, Xmassy treats and glitter galore

Ey up 🙂

Hope that this find you well…this week I have been mainly working, AFO’ing, Cuppola:Ward’ing, Radio Derby’ing, eating curry and just generally getting a bit excited about xmas (perhaps a little prematurely I will admit, but still, I am just very much looking forward to some time off with my family)

MASSIVE BREAKING NEWS…So then, after last week’s very scrumptious announcement I have been getting down to some work. And I can now exclusively announce that I will be recording some material over December for an official release with Navigator records in the new year. So will keep you posted and may even do a little ‘from the studio’ blog so you can see firsthand how glamorous a job being a folk musician is 😉

In other news, I had a grand gig with Cupola:Ward on Friday…in case you’ve missed me nattering about this project before…it’s me + Cupola = Cupola:Ward 🙂 We do a mix of contemporary/trad and original material…unaccompanied (accupola…get it :p) and with instrumentation. Basically I get to dance around like a nutter while singing happy stuff…it’s like being Beyonce but with more hurdy gurdy! We were at the Brewtown Folk Club in Burton, and it was absolutely packed! We just couldn’t believe it! It was a bit like being in a can of folky sardines but we had a ball and got to unleash our xmas EP.

This is my personal xmas offering, there is a special message at the end of the video. I am going to try and get the track up for download over the next week or so… will keep you posted on that one.

I also went on my local BBC Radio Daytime show on Friday, Aleena Naylor is lovely! She’s had me in to sing live on the show lots and we’ve really struck up a friendship. A smashing Derby lass she is! You can listen to the interview here (from 1hr 40 mins) —-> http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00lh6sh/Aleena_Naylor_Does_an_age_difference_matter_in_a_relationship/

Another thing on the subject of Radio…Mike Harding mentioned me on Simon Mayo this week! MENTAL! 😀 Listen here from 20mins in…and listen to the whole thing cos Mike’s joke is hilarious! http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01724nq/Simon_Mayo_Drivetime_17_11_2011/

Ooo on the matter of glitter galore…I’ve ordered a golden glitter camel…what’s not to love!

Ciao for now, have a lovely week

Lucy xx