As New Years Eve approaches the time feels right to settle into the nearest chair and reflect on the last year.
Although much has been made in the press about the ending of the final series of Downton Abbey, the occasion has been bittersweet for me, as it marked the moment that I could put Lady Cora down to rest , and let myself sink into music.
There’s no way to describe how nice it has been to see Ian, Steve, Simon, Terl, Nick and Danica again, and to have an amazing new bass player playing with us… Andy (Wal) Coughlin. I still can’t believe my luck when I hear these musicians. We developed five new songs with Kipper, our producer, and lay down bass and drums in his Hazelmere studio. The bass playing pulls everyone together, makes you feel nailed to the ground, and like you’re flying at the same time. There’s no showing off. You feel it, you don’t hear it.
The way Kipper is able to identify, and gently coax, the best from everyone in the band, is a wonder to behold. Yes, it’s his great ear, and feel for melody… but, secretly, I think, as much as anything, it’s the enormous joy he has for life in general. It permeates everybody and everything around him. It’s impossible to resist being happy in his presence.
Yes, we had a few knocks this year. We are still waiting for the management of The Convent Venue to sort out the shambles they have made of our affairs by encouraging us to make all our music unavailable so that they could share in our profits through their distribution company. We foolishly trusted their seductive talk. I hope other musicians don’t fall prey!
But when The Convent pulled a gig out from under us, (after musicians had canceled other work, and after we’d rehearsed a great show.) a Guardian Angel appeared in the form of Phil Holebird, from the band, Brando. He even came down from the sky (as he lives in the loft over Kip’s studio). He quickly arranged for us to play in The Mulberry, a wonderful, atmospheric pub down the road. It was one of the most magical nights of my life.
Phil, I think of you now, this Festive Season… Your smiling face beams down at me from the sky (well, from your loft) and I thank you for everything you are. Just as I thank all of you who have listened and responded to the music. We know you all. We talk of you often. Thank you for sticking with us. Believe me when I say that I feel your faces beaming at me from the sky I can’t wait for you guys to hear the new stuff!
Happy Holidays Elizabeth McGovern