It's time to look back over the last twelve months and measure myself against the goals I had set both personal and professional. This year, as with many years, I think this process will leave me with mixed feelings. On one hand there are things I wanted to do that have yet to happen, but while looking back over my listings and memories I see that on the other hand I have achieved a massive amount this year. So here goes...
I played 136 gigs this year, so an average of 2.6 per week. That number surprised me, as I feel like I've taken my foot off the gas in 2016. Granted many of those gigs are repeated hostings so are in the same venue, but it's still more than I expected. I started up open mic nights at The Wharf in Walsall and The Clarendon in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton, the latter of which is still going strong. I also handed over the sessions at The Grain Store after they wanted a change in musical direction. The Fox & Anchor sessions were a success once more, though the long time manager of the pub has now retired so we shall see if the gigs return there in 2017. Some of my highlights from this year include returning to Kidderminster Arts Festival for Music in the Valley and my first appearance at Cradley Heath's famous Chainmakers' Festival.
But it's 'off stage' where my greatest achievement of the year can be found. After buying our first home in late 2015, Kayla and I welcomed our son Buddy into the world on the 2nd of April this year. It's impossible to put into words just how special this has been for us, and he is an amazing addition to the Draisey family band!
Now on to my goals for 2016:
While my new album remains unfinished, it's a great deal closer than it was, and with all the upheaval of this year I'm hoping I can be granted a pardon. A few little bits are left to be tracked before the mixing and agonising can begin in ernest. Once again this will make my main resolution, though I do have an idea for another one...
I'm aware that I don't expose myself to enough new music - that is, music that is new to me. So I'm hoping to hear something new every week, be it an album, ep or live set. I'll try and keep an update going on here or social media.
Finally, after a year where we have lost so many great musicians, I feel I should pay another tribute to Maria Broster. Maria was a great friend and a great musician and is missed by everyone who knew her. There is a tribute gig at The Barge & Barrel in Tipton on the 7th that I'll be attending and hopefully playing, so I'll hopefully see you there.
So that's it. I hope everyone has a wonderful and prosperous new year. See you out there.