Max ZT and I were honoured to welcome the soul-shaking and brain-bending artist that is Wrenne to our tour – opening up proceedings at The Old Stables in Cricklade (thank you Seán and Nigel for booking us all). Her sweet, angelic voice luring us all in, before she ditches the acoustic guitar and manipulates her voice, spinning the sound back into the room, illuminated with her dramatic and instinctive movement. A unique and truly ‘present’ performance from an artist forging her own pathway.

Our soundcheck was calm and long. The sound engineer (a lovely guy called Ben) had broken his foot the night before playing football, so with limited movement he sat at the back of the room and Max and I invited him to bark instructions to us as we wired in his PA. We had been plugging things in for a few minutes when all of a sudden the penny dropped for Ben….
Ben: “Hang on! Are you the Max from the Cory Henry – Crazy video?”
Max: “Yeah”
Ben: “OMG, my band and I have watched that video SO much, such an inspiring piece”
You can watch the video in question here
And boom! an explosion of laughter and love in the room, this kind of mutual respect and appreciation can go so far to carry a moment and allow freedom of expression to flourish – we trust one another – so important when we are working together to set up for a performance. Especially when the heating is broken in the venue!
The audience politely form a queue outside the barn door and when this happens I always feel a strange mix of excitement and guilt. It’s great they are all here on time, keen to pick the best seats and settle in for an evening of live music, and I am sorry they have to wait outside until the musician’s complete sound checks and the doors open – so I go outside and offer some apologetic and excitable sounds to the line of folks and am warmed by the smily faces beaming back at me.
It’s decidedly Autumnal weather in Wiltshire tonight, I check the weather app on my phone/glass and it’s 18 degrees still in Tokyo — I’ll be there next week, I’m flying out on Nov 5th and it feels so close now. It will be incredible to be reunited with my son, having been apart since April 7th.
And tonight I am consumed by the happiness this brings us both, I feel this love in my heart and see it in the faces of my friends and colleagues on this gig. Experiencing this feeling gives me courage and belief. We shall all take flight together tonight – Max, Ben, Wrenne and I – opening our hearts and singing to the stars – regardless of the chilly temperatures!
We open with ‘The Perfect Circle’ – a soaring melody at the top of my range and an open hearted proclamation of love. I have let this phrase intimidate me on previous gigs, I have cowered in it’s shadow. Tonight, I own this line with the confidence I wrote it with. The belief within me feels as strong as the links on one of George Lovetts’ (Brierley Hill Giant) chains.
Our waltz, Why Don’t We Dance? feels particularly resonant in this old barn tonight. I picture a couple embrace, in love – from generations gone by gently swaying to the song as the fairy lights flicker.
Max’s improvisations take a dark and twisted turn, I am so blessed to get to sit and listen to this craftsman nightly. The notes he chooses tonight uncover a dusty old leather file of notes, it feels like a diary I’m hesitant and even ashamed to open from years gone by…full of letters, poetry and songs from the underside of a time just like ours. But rather than the stuff you see on socials – the self congratulatory, point scoring, cries of vanity, these here are letters contain truth and authentic words. Words that can be hard to read, difficult to admit to, full of shame and anger. I begin to write…
we take to the streets
to ensure there will never be a repeat
they strike, we strike
armoured vehicles
my hands my feet this knife
the war of words is guarded now and echoes now in my mind
i tear the glass from that pane and…
screaming yr name screaming yr name
we remove our shoes as we walk
we remove our shoes as we walk
let us feel this land we reclaim
we remove our shoes as we walk
let us remember the streets and paint our names
we remove our shoes as we walk
let us feel this land we reclaim
round and round we go
unlikely to ever lose
aiming high
can we bury our lives in the sky
close your eyes honey
take this magic back
raining down
feel it now
raining down
rescue you
i say we’re reigning high
on our magic ride
we take to the streets to ensure there will never be a repeat
they strike we strike
we remove our shoes as we walk
I’ve just shared the recording of last night’s improvised song on my patreon site – head on over to give it a listen:
Only two more shows with Max on this tour – it’s been a blast and i’ll miss him dearly. But he’s here today and tonight we will play. If you are within shooting distance of Birmingham – come out! a few tickets left on the door and this is gonna be a special night, a real ‘one off’ – this collaboration feels so unique. Next week Max flies back to New York Tuesday, I head to Tokyo Sunday, who knows when our paths will cross again.
Come down and share this moment with us today – on stage 8pm at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Much Love
Dan x