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  • 'Song to the Tin' on BBC Countryfile!

    • xciting stuff folk fans; i had a phone call from a lady at BBC Bristol earlier this month saying that Countryfile were making a programme about Dartmoor due out later in June and that their researchers had come across my song 'Pride of the Moor' which i had been commissioned to write by Exeter's Spacex Gallery last year, celebrating the tin mining heritage of Dartmoor.

      So last week myself and a trusty gaggle of singers i had gathered, ventured up to Crockern Tor on Dartmoor to meet the BBC Countryfile crew at Parliament Rock which was the old meeting place of Dartmoor's annual Stannary Parliament. I was interviewed by Mister John Craven (i was hoping for Matt Baker but one musn't grumble!) and it was very exciting chatting to the star of 'NewsRound' although i didn't let on to him that i wasn't particularly interested in the news as a kid and was always glad when Newsround was over so we could get on with the cartoons! After the interveiw filming was over we assembled all the singers and sang 'Pride of the Moor' (Song to the Tin) for the film crew. John asked me if it was available on an album and i had to admit to him that while it is due out on my new album this summer, i didn't have any physical copies yet! Good news is that you can pre-order the digital version of the album right now should you so wish, it will be my first ever album of entirely self-penned songs and it also happens to mark ten years since the release of my debut album 'Fruits of the Earth' back in 2005. It has been produced by Devon's Phil Beer of 'Show of Hands' fame and will feature some very special guest appearances from some well known Devon-based musicians, that's all i'm telling you thus far! One more thing...

      After my interview with Mr Craven we had to move to another rock to get ready for filming the song, John stood up and moved on first then i picked up my accordion and proceeded to follow him. After only a few steps i suddenly felt/heard a crunch under my feet... i'd only gone and stepped on Mr Cravens spectacles!!! Of course i apologised profusely, John said "no no no, it's my fault for leaving them on the ground". Unfortunately he still had a few shots to film that day so the film crew were going to try and either film him from the side of the un-shattered lens or film him a little blurry from a distance... he won't forget me in a hurry!!!

  • Other Folk's Words

    • Hello folk fans, i hope you've all had a jolly holiday? I certainly have. Some really super festival gigs this summer with highlights including compering the 'Welcome to Devon' concert at the 60th Sidmouth Folk Festival (i haven't attended all the years btw) embodying Louis Killen and Peter Bellamy at Topic Records 75th birthday concert at Towersey Festival and singing to the sea at Clovelly's annual Lobster & Crab Feast!

      I do love a good anniversary, my last cd 'Cyprus Well' was partly about that and next year i've found an excuse for another; ten years since my first "solo" album 'Fruits of the Earth'! (Where does the time go?)  And so i'm going to be heading back into the studio with a small gaggle of pals who have helped me out (musically) over the past decade, to record a new album with a twist! Fear not, it's not going to be another 'best-of', 'greatest hits' or career retrospective as seems rather popular, even in Folk World these days...

      No, i've realised that over the past ten years i've pretty much entirely been singing other people's words and but a wee smattering of my own. I've always written songs, probably as long as i've been able to make noises with my mouth, but when it comes to performing them, the most the public has heard is the odd trad song i've surreptitiously re-jigged. In 2015 i plan to set the record straight, so to speak. It probably will be amongst the least folky things i have done but to Gary Barlow, it will be the folkiest thing he has ever heard. So at this stage it could all go horribly wrong but never the less, that's what i'm a-gonna do. I hope you have a fab autumn and i shall write again before Christmas, most likely Hallowe'en!

  • Inspiration from Bude

    • We has such a wonderful afternoon at the Bude "Cream of Cornwall & Devon" concert i can't tell ee! I only wished we'd come up with a less clunky title!

      All the participants had a great time and also enjoyed hearing new friends from over ther border that they'd never met/heard before! The audience were in raptures and so many came up and said after they'd never had such fun in a concert in all their lives! The organisers were so impressed that thay've axed me to put it on again next yer which is most exciting. The only trouble is turning folks away as there are so many talented singers and musicians and dancers and storytellers in Dumnonia (Cornwall&Devon as was) that there is no way you could fit em all in. Perhaps it needs an entire festival all to itself?!!

      Anyhow i was at a flummox at the end of the concert cause' i didn't know how to end, do we have a song from Devon or Cornwall? Ideally a song that united us both would have been what i was looking for but none came to mind (or existed) so Martyn Babb who is a bit of both sang Rolling Home and i must say the chorus singing and harmonies which came back at us from the audience were out of this world. There is nothing like singing a strong chorus song with a follkie audience as they sing like the clappers! It was like the folk version of last night of the proms i tell ee!

      Oh also i forgot to mention that we held the concert (as we always have with traditional 'Cream of Devon' concerts) in the "round robin" that is; all ther performers sat on the stage for the entire time and i believe that add the the feeling of comraderie and fun. I'm really looking forward to doing it all over again at whichever venue will have us and here is the finale song that concert inspired me to write only the onther day...

       

      Dumnonia remembers

      We shared a common tongue

      The Cornubian Batholith

      From whence we all do come

       

      So much we have in common

      How could we be apart

      The granite and the tin

      Which is our beating heart

       

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

       

      Our little coastal harbours

      That brave the wind and rain

      Our strong and sturdy farmers

      Who yield for us again

       

      We once were a great kingdom

      Of beauty and of awe

      The land does not recognise

      The lines which humans draw

       

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Brother beside brother

      Has stood the test of time

      As when we faught together

      In fifteen fourty nine

       

      Let river not devide us

      In jealously nor care

      Tamara, our life’s blood

      Her waters we both share

       

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

       

      In fourteen ninety seven

      Reunited to rebel

      Against old king Henry

      Who did not serve us well

       

      King Henry and King Edward

      Both in their cruel reigns

      Just like the Saxon stranger

      Come steal from us again

       

      CHARLES CAUSLEY’S WORDS:

       

      By the window, drizzling leaves

      Underneath the rain shadow

      What is that land you said beyond

      Where the river bends the meadow?

       

      Is it Cornwall, is it Devon?

      Those promised feilds blue as the vine

      Wavering under new grown hills

      Are they yours or mine?

       

      When day like a crystal broke

      We saw what we could see

      No mans land was no mans land

      It was the sea