The time has come for another yearly update. 2018 has been a crazy year both on and off stage, probably more off than on, which I suppose is reflected in my gig count of 76. Its down on previous years, but it's still much higher than I expected, and averages at about 1.46 per week.
On stage I hit some major highs this year, the pinnacle being the 3 gigs I played in Dublin in March. It was my first time playing in Ireland, and the friends I made there will stay with me for a long time. I can't wait to go back (and neither can Kayla!)
Other highlights include 2 gigs at The Robin with The Revolt backing me, a trip to Salford to support The Thought Police for their single launch, the incredible experience of playing The Treehouse ouse Sessions and my gig at The Wakes in Oakengates. Plus I made returns to old favourites in The Jamhouse, Katie Fitzgerald's, Hurcutt Pools and Llangollen's Faery and Red Dragon festivals. All in all its been a year of fewer, but dare I say cooler gigs, which if I'm honest is probably a more sustainable gigging model going forward, both in terms of growing and maintaining a fanbase and getting my work-life balance right. I've always felt like I gig too much, mainly for free entry, to really be able to move towards ticketed gigs. Maybe this is the start of a shift. Maybe.
It's off stage where big things have happened. It's been a year of love, heartbreak and change for my friends and family, and I won't go into everything as this isn't the place. I lost a good friend earlier in the year to cancer, though his legacy lives on not only in the work he did to raise awareness on a grand, even global scale, but personally in the friends I have made through him and people he brought into my life. It feels somewhat disingenuous to 'name drop' him (as he is much more 'famous' than me!), because this tribute isn't about building my own profile, but remembering him. He wouldn't care, as it goes, but I still can't bring myself to do it.
I was lucky enough to attend his wedding a few short weeks before he died, and those memories will be with me forever.
At the complete opposite end of the personal emotional spectrum, my son Ezra Alfred Draisey was born on the 12th of December. I am, obviously, completely in love with him, and find myself with a newfound love and respect for both Kayla and Buddy, who have slipped into their new lives as mother-of-two and big brother respectively with equal love and grace. They are my heroes, all three of them.
I look forward to a 2019 filled with exciting adventure both on and off stage. I already have another full band show lined up and a sniff at a pretty major festival, which is mega exciting. I hope to see you out there.