Friday, January 4, 2019

In the year of Twenty Eighteen...

So, 2018 has come and gone (without a single blog post). It's been a decent year, musically speaking, and it feels appropriate to reflect upon what's been happening. Here are some of the highlights of the last 12 months...

UK2UB album - PlanB started the year with a mini tour of Victoria and the release of a new live album, UK2UB. The album featured a showcase of songs from the band's 2016 and 2017 tours of the UK, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia. It was a great way to capture some of those sonic memories.

Inner Groove - After threatening to release a new solo album for years, I finally did it in 2018. Inner Groove, along with its companion album, Other Grooves, was launched on 27 May. The launch could not have been any better, it was such a buzz after many months of hard work. It is, without doubt, the best thing I have ever done musically and I owe a debt of gratitude to Nigel Grummet and Gavin Atkinson for their work on the album. Inner Groove was well received, getting airplay in Adelaide, across the country and also in England. The support I received from local community stations was overwhelming. It was Radio Adelaide's 'Album of the Week' in June, which was brilliant!

Urban Guerillas - In May I was invited onto the stage at the Grace Emily to join the Urban Guerillas for a couple of songs. This was a great moment for me - the Guerillas were one of the first local bands I ever saw and over the years I have formed a lifelong friendship (and musical collaboration) with Ken Stewart. To join them for 'Love Makes Children' and 'Here Come the Americans' was a true high-point.

Touring the UK with PlanB - the band headed off for its second tour of the UK; this time focusing on Scotland and the North-East. We played at some decent venues, caught up with our old friends from Koast Radio, and finished the tour in London playing the Fiddler's Elbow.

Playing Solo in Derbyshire - Once the PlanB UK tour had finished, I spent a couple of weeks in Belper, Derbyshire, to catch up with friends and family. I thought I'd try and seek out some opportunities to play by heading down to an open mic at the Queen's Head. I met some fabulous people, was made very welcome, and played a few songs. I ended up playing five shows in the space of a fortnight, including a couple of decent length sets, encouraged by friends old and new. Thanks to the five lovely people who generously lent me their guitars!

Semaphore Music Festival - I've played at the SMF before, at Ambrosia, Mr V, and Semaphore Garden and Pets (!) but it had been a couple of years since I'd been part of the fun. It was brilliant to be asked to play on the BSide Stage this year and, despite a fierce headcold, I managed to entertain the folks on Labour Day.

Touring Indonesia - No sooner had I arrived back in Australia from the UK than we were off again, this time for my first-ever visit to Indonesia. I was in Jakarta for just about a week, as PlanB played shows across the weekend to enthusiastic local and ex-pat punters. Good fun and we were very well looked after at our accommodation and at the venue.

Twelve in Twelve - This year I set myself the target of recording a song a month in my home studio, aka Shabby Road Studios. Surprisingly, I pulled it off! I had a bunch of songs that I'd written but never recorded, and it was unlikely I would ever get around to spending the money to record them professionally. I still held some affection for the songs - they had some appeal, so I thought this would be an ideal project. It would also help me learn more about the recording process. So, I now have 12 songs to finalise and master, and hopefully an album release in the first third of 2019 will occur.

A Christmas No 1! - Quite unexpectedly, and possibly because of the songs being uploaded as part of the abovementioned project, I finished off the year with four weeks at number one in ReverbNation's Adelaide Folk charts. Marvellous!