Reflections on Cormorant
Now that my little tour is over it seems like an apt time for reflection.
Thanks so much to everyone who came to one of my gigs! What were your highlights? What worked well and what should I do differently?
If you've listened to Cormorant, what is your favourite track and why? If I make another album what would you like more/less of?
If you couldn't make it to any of the gigs, and I decide to put on some more, where should I go? The tour from my perspective: So it's fair to say things didn't go quite to plan... I'm not a naturally organised person and I didn't manage to get my ducks in a row for touring nearly as successfully as I did for recording (bad ducks!). Partially that's due to so many of the tasks involved in booking and promoting tours being so far out of my wheel house that they might as well exist in an alternate reality. I have learnt a lot and clearly have much, much more to learn.
To make things more complicated, I decided that every venue I used should have step free access. As nice as kooky old buildings are, I strongly believe we should prioritise people over anything else, so whilst it made finding suitable halls much harder, I'm very happy that I made that decision. A further layer of complexity was added due to Sam being very poorly. Luckily Jon Dyer was able to step in and get his fingers around all of the tunes and parts at very short notice. Sam Partridge was back on his feet and able to toot on the flute for the last gig of the tour but Deb Chalmers wasn't able to diddle on the fiddle for that concert and so Grace Smith played all of her parts (thank you Grace!). Despite the personnel changes each gig was a success, which is a testament to the ability and endeavour of everyone involved. Sadly, the practical down-shot of this was that we didn't have any gigs with the original lineup from the album. It has been absolutely thrilling to work with musicians of such a high calibre throughout the entire process. Special thanks should go to Tom Evans for not only twangle-ing a guitar but twisting digital knobs and mixing our live-sound exquisitely as he did so. I wish Sam a speedy recovery back to complete and full health.
Numbers were low but audiences were really appreciative. It was fantastic to meet people who are as passionate about music as I am. At every concert there was a wonderful mix of old friends and new faces. I'm so pleased to have been able to share my tunes and arrangements with such receptive and engaged audiences and some people even danced!!!
One gig was cancelled due to low advance ticket sales; sorry people of London! (Or at least the people who were hoping to get there!! The nine and half million others are probably somewhat indifferent!) I put the vast majority of the gigs on myself which definitely added to my stress levels in the weeks and months leading up to the tour. When I initially started planning the tour I hadn't intended on taking on so much of the work load alone or so much of the financial responsibility but very few promoters / bookers / concert venues were interested, so I am incredibly grateful to Folk Inspirations and Folkandroots for being willing to support someone who's very much towards the beginning of their career. My gig with Folk and Roots was sadly pulled by the venue, but we're hoping to find another opportunity to bring these tunes to London.
Trying to balance paying musicians properly and not bankrupting myself has been a tricky tight rope to walk and one that I honestly haven't done a very good job of. I had expected (perhaps unrealistically) to sell more tickets and I should have planned ahead better and done more contingency calculations so that I could approach the situation with a more level head and greater transparency.
I'm incredibly proud of the tunes and arrangements from Cormorant. Playing them in a concert setting has resulted in what I feel have been some really lovely evenings, that at times just felt a little bit magical.
It's clear I need to do plenty of thinking about whether (and if so how) to proceed with Cormorant. I'm open to ideas and suggestions.
Thank you to: Deb - fiddles Sam - flute Tom - guitar
Jon - flute (tour) Grace - fiddles (tour)
Thanks Beth Gifford, for supporting me at every twist, turn, calamity, catastrophe, little win and major triumph! xxx