Road Diary Catchup!!

Hello folks,

With all the excitement surrounding the completion and subsequent release of my solo album Mandala I have let the road diary slip somewhat! So i thought I’d briefly redress the balance a little by filling you all in on some of the various goings on of late.

Even as I sit here writing to you now, I should really be packing. Tomorrow lunchtime I set off with the Duke Special band to play at Electric Picnic over in Ireland before heading straight across to China to play three shows in Shanghai. Oh yes indeed folks, we’re jet-setting this week!

August has been a pretty hectic month, let me tell you! Since the Duckworth Lewis gig at the Dublin Olympia at the end of July I’ve been back and forward to Heathrow airport like a maniac! Pretty much the moment I got back from Dublin I flew back out to Ireland to play at the fantastic Indiependence festival in Mitchelstown near Cork. This was a real in and out affair so I didn’t get a chance to catch any of the other acts but we had  great show. I’ve been playing my new Danelectro Dano ’63 bass with the Duke of late to save us lugging the upright around, which has been a real treat. Thinking I might have to post a little review here at the some point.. watch this space!

On the 8th we played the Tall Ships Festival in Hartlepool which was a lot of fun. The stage was enormous (as was the crowd!) and I got to watch Ocean Colour Scene straight after our show. I used to love them back in the day and it was brilliant seeing them live (even without the fab Damon Minchella on bass). We then burned straight up the motorway to play at the Famous Spiegeltent at the Edinburgh Festival. We were met with some traditionally grotty Scottish weather but playing in the Spiegeltent is always good fun. We went back to some of the Mother Courage and hector Mann set for this one-off show which went down a storm.

The Duke band also ventured forth into Devon to play Beautiful Days a couple of weeks ago. I’d never played this festival before. It’s quite small but had a great lineup including The Wailers, Fairport Convention, James and New Model Army. My parents decided to come along to this one for their first festival experience and loved it (even in the rain!). Again I didn’t manage to catch any of the other acts as is often the way in these situations, but we had lots of fun during the gig…

In between all the Duke dates, the Teal tour continued on with three shows in Germany. We started off at the lovely Rheingau festival, which is set in the grounds of a beautiful old castle. We were playing on a small stage which was floating on the moat (!). In fact,  the speaker stack was suspended in the most peculiar fashion, which Clare christened the “Speaker of Damocles”. I tried to get a photo of it in all it’s glory, but all I could come up with was this, taken from our dressing room…

Playing on a floating stage with that hanging over your head was a bit exciting, let me tell you.

We then moved on to the lovely town of Jena where we played the first of two shows opposite the fantastic Canadian boogie pianist/singer Michael Kaeshammer. He had a great trio featuring Marc Rogers on bass, who was also a joy to watch. If you haven’t heard their music, you should definitely check them out…

The last show was in Kassel. Both those shows were right in the town center. I really enjoy playing these kinds of festivals. They’re quite common in Germany and Scandinavia; state funded arts festivals which often run for more than a month throughout the summer. They often feature a rich and diverse mix of music, theatre and cinema right in the heart of a town; bringing proper culture right into the local community.

We were so well looked after by our German promoters. Really looking forward to playing some more German dates soon..

As soon as I landed back in the UK from the German shows with Clare I was back on the plane on my way back to Germany to play a one-off festival with Maggie Reilly. It was a big beer festival where we shared the stage with a very loud and raucous schlager band and, wait for it…. Right Said Fred! Oh yes indeed folks! They are still alive and touring in Germany. Absolutely hilarious.. The gig involved a very early start for me at Heathrow, a four-hour drive to the festival site from Berlin and getting picked up at 2.15am after the show to do the four-hour drive back to Berlin to fly home alone. Why?! You may ask. It was the day before the Tall Ships festival in Hartlepool! The gigs really are the easy bit…

So, enough of this waffle. I’m off to China in a couple of days and shall undoubtably be blogging away on my return. Today I dropped the master off at Key Production to start the process of getting the Mandala CDs pressed. I had a photo shoot with my friend Ary Vidot last week and Symeon Cosburn has done a sterling job on the cover design. They should be ready in a couple of weeks for those of you who don’t like downloads. For those of you who do, or can’t wait that long for the CD, you can buy the album in whatever electronic format you prefer at my website. You can also stream the whole thing there too. Oh you lucky people!

Until next time x