I thought that after completing my first week on tour, I would write a little update for you about how things are going so far.
The warm up gig at Katie Fitzgerald's on Wednesday was good fun. It was quite quiet, but the people who were there seemed to enjoy my set, and the other musicians (Luke Turner and Rhiannon) were both very good. I really like playing in the venue. For those who haven't been before, it's a little Irish themed music pub with a venue downstairs, though I've only ever played at the acoustic nights in the bar. Add to that the fact that this was the night that Celtic beat Barcelona! I good night to be in an Irish pub!
Thursday the tour really kicked off as I visited Pelsall Folk Club. I'd never been to a folk club before, having always been rebuffed or put off by the attitude towards my enquiries with members in the past. I've always been given the impression that 'I'm not 'Folk' enough', or even just plain not good enough. I've let this get to me in the past, but I thought for this tour, I'd give it one more go. I'm really glad I did.
I doubt I could have picked a more accommodating club for my first time. The room was quiet during performances but not intimidating, and the music from other performers in the first half was varied enough to settle me into thinking that I might be ok. I did, however, still have to decided what cover I was going to play.
I decided to open with 'Where We Came From', my protest song that comes as close to traditional 'Folk' as I think any of my songs do. But what cover to choose? A number of options floated through my mind as they drew the raffle in the interval and ate sandwiches (I know, they laid on food at half time! Something I could think about for my open nights?!) Eventually I decided upon 'The Boxer' by Paul Simon, a crowd favourite and someone who even devoted 'Folkies' seem to admire.
My set went down really well. The audience even joined in for 'The Boxer'. My worries about militant folk fans were eased, and the congratulations I received from fellow players and members of the audience helped even more. I have been invited back, and I will be returning when I have a free Thursday night. I advise anyone who likes a relaxed atmosphere and good acoustic music to do the same.
Then on Friday I went down to Bloxwich Bookmark Theatre for open mic night. I had no idea what to expect, especially after I arrived and saw that it was also a library, but after bypassing the man on the front desk, I was directed to a small theatre room complete with stage where a few guitarists and poets were sitting. I went on first, played 20 minutes of my tunes and again was very well received. I then sat and was entertained by an eclectic mix of poetry, instrumental and comedy music, with some pop songs thrown in for good measure. The whole night was really good fun, and again, I'm glad I went. I was asked to go back up at the end and play a couple, so I did 'The Sound of Silence' by Simon and Garfunkel and 'The Blower's Daughter' by Damien Rice. Once again, these were really well received, and I would definitely like to go back there should I get stuck for something to do on a Friday.
With Saturday my night off, I headed out again on Sunday night for open mic at The Albion. I usually don't get to play many of my own songs here, it's just not that sort of gig. I'm not getting many performers there at the moment, and the people who come to watch would rather listen to music they know. That said, my friend and fellow singer/songwriter David Young (https://twitter.com/DYOfficial) decided to join me, so I had at least a small section of the audience who might enjoy my tunes. I decided that as this was a tour show, I would do my own songs for my first set, and I thought they actually went down pretty well. Something to think about in the future! I went back up after David's brilliant set and a cameo from Bill the local harmonica player to play some covers to finish the night off.
So that's the update for now, I'll do another one after this week's escapades. My next stop is Sandpiper Folk Club at The Pigot Arms in Pattingham on Wednesday. It's a local one for me, so I hope you can come and say hi.