We’re stumbling into what I imagine is going to be the most challenging part of the year so far. The complete lack of effective leadership from the UK government causes so much anxiety and stress, and as an artist who is driven by a social conscience, I can’t help but feel firstly frustrated, but now also a lot more compelled to try and be as much of a positive force as possible.
Partly for my own sanity and focus, but also for (I hope) your entertainment and enjoyment, I’m going to start singing and playing for a bigger number of people than my loyal, little lockdown audience – consisting of Mum, Dad and dog. I’m so grateful and fortunate to have had the company of, and support from my family this year.
Why has it taken me so long to get going with something like this?!
I haven’t completely shied away from an online presence. There have been video efforts, and I have contributed to some wonderful online outfits such as The Raven Online Folk Club, Chester Folk Festival and Shrewsbury Folk Festival – the latter was with the super duper, pro-active and positive harmonica/melodeon force that is: Will Pound. You can still watch some of these videos on YouTube by following the links below.
Zoom events such as Lockdown Folk with Jeremy Harmer, The Village Online Open Mic with Ray and Steph Burnside and further afield in the US with the People’s Music Network have been places where I have enjoyed connecting with others through music.
About 10 minutes in to this special video of songs by Stan Rogers, organised by Chester Folk Festival Online 2020, is my rendition of The Mary Ellen Carter
Will Pound and Phoebe Rees
Set for Shrewsbury Folk Festival Online 2020
A sometimes over-reflective personality often clashes with modern, instantaneous technology. I fall into the category of people to whom analytics and insights mean ‘urgh’ and ‘run away!!’ However, I’ve trained for a very long time in order to be able to make a career out of music, and to be able to say creatively what I feel compelled to say – which is quite a lot at the moment! So I may as well get on with it now and try to stop letting global virus pandemics and social media anxiety get in the way.
Please forgive my ‘going quiet’ for the majority of this year and I hope you will enjoy what I have to offer you for the remainder of the year, and into 2021!
What’s my plan then?
One of the things I have missed most this year has been travelling to different countries. It gives me huge amounts of pleasure; that experience of another culture through its food, music, people and landscapes. No amount of reading books by Bruce Chatwin, Gloria Steinem, Nikos Kazantzakis and Victoria Hislop or scrolling through the National Geographic on Instagram quite seems to settle my itchy feet. What goes a little bit of the way however is immersing myself in, and learning, some music.
As a way of starting to share things a bit more regularly, for the next nine weeks I’m going to post a video of me performing a tune or a song – each time from a different country – along with a little story to accompany it.
After following some sound advice on ‘How To Do Digital’ by Owen Ralph from Greenwoodside via English Folk Expo, I’m feeling ready to take the bull by the horns. Along with my own music video – coming to you first thing on a Monday morning, I’m going to share an example of another artist/band whose work I admire, related to the country from the Monday, on a Tuesday.
Throughout the month of December I will also live stream on Wednesday evenings, in the hope of raising some money via a Tip Jar to make up for lost earnings due to cancelled gigs and projects in 2020.
As always, any purchases of my 2019 released EP Roe Deer are so much appreciated. Watch out for next Friday 6th November which is another one of those days when Bandcamp waive their fees for artists.
Thank you for reading and supporting.
Onwards and into this difficult winter of 2020 with solidarity, love, kindness and music,