“The biggest skies in the world” is how tonight’s host Matthew describes the Suffolk/Norfolk skies above tonight’s venue – Wingfield Barns
As I drive East the land opens out flat, like the blank pages of a new diary. Anything’s possible tonight. It’s unwritten.
Upon arrival I learn that I’m only the third live act to play here at Wingfield Barns post lock down. Sleepy Suffolk has been enjoying it’s lie in but seems to slowly be waking up and I feel lucky to have landed here in what is effectively the quiet of dawn.
Fabulous flautist of Freedom to Roam fame, Eliza Marshall is my special guest this evening. She’s early and I’m pleased to see her, we met via English Folk Expo’s Global Music Match last year, played a few gigs together and as we venture further into our collaboration it feels like we’re beginning to nurture something special…
Anna the venue manager is so kind, patient and welcoming. She’s also prepared a beautiful meal of lentil stew and potatoes that we sit and share at the picnic table in the late afternoon sun. Sharing our meal like this feels like an oasis of calm within the relentless flow of activity that is touring. Drive-unload-set up – play- pack down – load out – drive – sleep – repeat…Today I’m doing the PA myself and so my car is at capacity, creaking like the bones of back as I unload.
Yet when I play I feel free. I feel confident tonight I’m being heard, five gigs in and the songs have engines of their own, I feel the momentum as I steer. The whoop after the first song lifts me up towards those wide open skies.
I’m compelled to play ‘The Old Savoy’ for the first time on this tour – the story of Malcolm ‘The Last Apprentice’ Andrews’ very first sex education lesson he received in the glass house. I reach the end of the show and ‘Rainbows Never End’ asks for a little more sensitivity than the previous night.
“I will work for me and you” we all chant as our farewell to one another and this theatre barn, East Anglia’s hidden gem.
I’m homeward bound for the next one – Friday 26th May at the Symphony Hall Birmingham – which’ll mark the half way point on this 12 date tour. I’ll be joined on stage by Elizabeth J. Birch and Alex Lowe, I can’t wait to see them and many other familiar faces from the Midlands.
Playing with a band line up will allow me to share both sides of THE GLASS AGE – the sonic textures of the synth stuff on the original production and the stripped back acoustic recordings.
Consider coming down and sharing your time with us this Friday 26th – we’ll be in the “Jane and Justam How Family Room” – with music starting at 8pm
Bye for now