New Album Update!
Helloo everybody, here's the latest news: as many of you will be aware, the new album has been somewhat delayed given that i did a "launch concert" at Sidmouth this summer with no CDs to launch!!! I won't go into details but due to myriad issues of delay on the production side of things we were forced to push the official release date back to 19th February. The lovely people at the Kings Place in London very kindly moved my September date there to the 17th February and so that has become my new launch date along with a somewhat more intimate gig earlier that same week here in Devon.
I cannot deny that i am hugely excited about this new album and simply cannot wait for you all to hear it. The delays have only served to concentrate the excitment, very much like a heavily shaken bottle of fizzy-pop! I've managed to get most of the Devon folk scene guesting on the recordings and a few neighbouring friends too. I've had the most lovely time recording it in the beautiful Blackdown Hills with the splendid Mark Tucker and i'm confident that all of that fun of making music with friends in such a beautiful environment has poured into the songs and will splurge out into your living rooms/cars/jacuzzis/dungeons and fill your hearts with joy!
Incredibly, this is the first record i've ever made in Devon! Sure i've done bits and bobs on friends recordings over the years but never one of my own! First three solo albums were recorded in Hampshire as was the Devils album, the Mawkin:Causley albums were recorded in a windowless warehouse in South London and Cyprus Well was of course recorded in Cornwall so this one has been a real treat in many respects. I also cannot wait for y'all to see the new artwork. As it is a bit of a decennary celebration i had to get David Angel back down to Devon like he did for 'Fruits of the Earth' back in 2005. We again, had a blast and i took him to quite an unusual location, deep in the foothills of Dartmoor, poor bloke, lets just say it gave him plenty of stories to take back up to London!
So i have some rather special guests joining me for the London launch concert, so take a peek at my gigs page to find out who they are. It really is going to be such a fun night and i feel so privileged to have such talented people helping my songs come to life. Oh yes the songs! That's the other little things i can't wait for you to hear. I greatly look forward to hearing all your feedback, unless of course it's negative and in that case i don't want to know! Actually my main concern now is that people will think i've taken my inspiration for the new album's title 'Forgotten Kingdom' from the current BBC drama 'The Last Kingdom'!! But believe me i've been sitting on that title for a good few years now and no, i've not read any of Bernard Cornwell's books! (Although after watching the programme i feel i might have to now, i'm hooked!)
So have yourselves a merry rest-of-2015 and if you're stuck for ideas of Christmas prezzies... oh and do sign up to my mailing list (see the contact page) and like/follow/friend me on Facebook & Twitter etc as i'll be posting up to the minute news and pictures all relating to the new album so don't miss a trick! Love & lozenges - Jim xx
'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!