‘Forever Autumn’…. that’s a song I haven’t heard in quite some while. It was beautifully sung and played last weekend by Sarah McQuaid who came to our village to perform. I remember it from Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ and it does seem a bit like that at the moment: a battle between a world that makes you feel nothing but despair, and a world that fills you with hope.
It turns out Sarah knows a number of my old friends. That’s been happening quite a lot recently. Connections and coincidences. Like when Brent Jones came over to record at Real World Studios and asked me to join him for the vinyl launch of ‘Coincidence Makes a Miracle’ which took place in the lovely Wood Room. A true artist, Brent’s music really connected with me when he last came over from Canada and it was a balm for the soul to hear him play the songs live on the Bosendorfer grand piano in such an intimate setting. Brent lives his life with great openness and gratitude, and without a mobile phone. Somehow he always gets where he needs to go and has many happy adventures on the way. It’s refreshing to be around. I only met him once before but he quickly became an old friend. For him, this trip was like coming full circle, back to his place of inspiration. In the four years in-between he has taken the original ethos of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and built a fantastic recording studio and performance space for his community back home in Canada. For me too, it was like coming full circle. Back then I was in a very different place from the one I am in today, both geographically and metaphorically, so performing two new songs, accompanied by Stuart, and singing ‘letting the sunshine in” on Brent’s song ‘Sky Light’ seemed very fitting.
Autumn on the whole has been a mixed bag. Tricky patches of murkiness interspersed with shafts of light. Horrendous happenings in the news and laughter over the pancake pan (wrong season I know, but hey we like some spontaneity too). Surprise visits and big long plans. It took some unexpected turns too. Like finding myself rocking the glockenspiel on a Bruce Springsteen song in a band who had never performed together before, in front of a wildness of people in their Steam Punk finery in a castle by the coast. Or sitting in a grand mansion room alone, writing this blog. Walking in the orange, gold woods before sunset, or the burst and crackle of fireworks when we thought the rain was going to stop play, echoing down the valley in triumph.
I had a lovely comment from Gowan Clews Hayes FM on bonfire night after he played ‘November’ on his radio show from my 2017 album ‘The Year, She Turns’ saying, “…and that truly is an album of beautiful music, full of lovely songs” and last Friday I went to see Show of Hands at the Bath Forum and by the second song in I was listening to Miranda Sykes singing my song ‘Sea Glass’. Coincidentally, we had been working on my own recording of the song that day. In my hometown, hearing her sing that song was a special moment for me. I love it when a song goes off to have a life of it’s own.
I think the best we can do in this broken world is to keep trying our best, keep creating and connecting with each other, and travel through it as hopefully as we can.