The last week of October. 2015. And what a week it turned out to be.
Plans for an exciting new label launch and business adventure were scuppered with just twenty four hours to go, musicians schedules thrown into chaos as the plug was pulled on our much looked forward to week at the Convent, recording, rehearsing and gigging. Shell shocked and baffled by this turn of events we pull together, as always, and agree the show must go on!
And so, Monday the 26th found us on familiar territory, heading down the A3, all Autumn gold and mist, to producer Kipper Eldridge’s barn studio in leafy Haslemere. Gathered around the kettle we tried to make sense of what had happened. At the end of the day our sense of humour and affection for each other enable us to rise above any disappointment. And so it goes….
With Terl on drums and percussion, Wal (Andy Coughlan) on bass, Nick on keyboards, Simon, Kipper and I on guitars, Dani and Sadie on vocals we get to work on five exciting new songs, a beautiful late night ballad, a reflective country shuffle and three jaunty upbeat numbers. This is what it’s all about, creating new music with a great bunch of people.
With the marvellous Cameron Craig at the desk and Kipper producing and keeping everyone ‘up’, there’s copious amounts of tea and laughter as we run down the songs, sorting the rhythm tracks and working on melodies.
In the midst of all this we get some really good news! Kipper’s lodger, singer songwriter Phil Holbird, hearing of our ‘lost’ Thursday night at the Convent, fixes us up with a gig at broadcaster Chris Evans’ pub, ‘The Mulberry Inn’, in Chiddingfold, Surrey. Late on Monday we wander over there to check it out and are treated to an excellent meal and two bottles of Rioja by the lovely Camilla.
As the week progresses, rhythm tracks are laid down, vocals rehearsed for upcoming gigs and a team from ITN turn up for an exclusive interview with Elizabeth and to film us for broadcast on Tuesday’s ‘News at Ten’. My new ukulele makes its TV debut on ‘Jealous Heart’!
Tuesday night, after a late recording session, while the rest of us head wearily home, Wal sleeps in his van, all kitted out with mattress and blankets and looks fresh as a Welsh daisy when we return on Wednesday morning. He’s full of wise cracks and jokes, remarking that one of Terl’s drum patterns sounds like “a rattlesnake on acid”.
We spend Thursday rehearsing for our first gig in almost twelve months, performing to a packed pub, in what turns out to be a great warm-up for Friday’s date at ‘Bush Hall’ and Saturday’s gig at St Mary’s in Ashford, Kent. After a difficult start to the week all the high notes were hit!