It was my third trip to The Convent, the unique new music venue and boutique hotel, nestling in the hills of South Woodchester, Gloucs.
Last year I was invited to a wonderful concert in the Chapel by Martin and Eliza Carthy, had dinner with our host Matt Roberts, my friend Jack Henderson and Martin and Eliza. What a thrill it was to hear Martin talk about his life in music, eat a fabulous meal and drink fine wine. After the gig we sat in the garden around an open fire and drank malt whisky.
Then, a couple of months ago we performed here ourselves, as The Nelson Brothers, featuring songs from ‘Hometown’ and ‘Places In The Heart’ and previewing songs from our new album ‘Sacred Heart’ due out in October on Convent Records.
Today we are here with Sadie to meet with Matt and Ian, discuss plans for recording and live appearances and just to have a look around and hang out.
Matt’s hospitality is second to none. Having arrived into Stroud on the 9.35 from Paddington we were collected at the station and driven out here, greeted by Matt in the car park and ushered into the lounge for tea/coffee before a guided tour of the building.
There’s always something new to see here, something going on. New renovations, new ideas, new beginnings. Sadie loved it. The setting, the ambience, the music piped through from the Convent’s own radio station, Matt’s vision and enthusiasm, his love of live music and respect for the musicians and songwriters he supports.
In the control room we meet legend Alan Clayton, here putting the finishing touches to the next Dirty Strangers album, and a fine gent he is. We listen to a couple of rockers from their new collection, then adjourn to the Chapel for a photo shoot, before returning to the lounge for lunch and more conversation.
We ate, drank, talked and laughed, made plans for the autumn, said our farewells in the car park and headed back to the station for the rocking, rolling ride back to London.
Can’t wait to come back….