What did my listeners say?

What is a FAQ? FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Question(s)... but you knew that. I'm just not sure where to start this list so thought I'd start with an easy one to warm up with.

Where do you live? I live in Leicestershire in England, in a small town called Narborough. Our house is called Grace River and was built in approximately 1890. It's huge, rambling, and reminds me of the house in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We live in this crazy place because we adopt and foster a lot of children, and so we need a lot of bedrooms!

What kind of music do you write? Oh gosh... what kind of music don't I write might be a better answer! I love so many styles, and I rarely do two albums in a row in the same style. Presence is a collection of epic instrumental rock tracks. Closer is classic singer-songwriter style songs, performed and recorded live intimately in front of a lovely audience. New Buryin' Ground is gospel/blues. Nawglan - Celtic instrumentals. My earlier albums are a mix of folk, celtic, blues, rock and frankly anything I fancied playing at the time. Get used to it - the only that that doesn't change is the fact that my music changes :)

Where do you gig? I don't gig a lot at all! Firstly, as a full-time fosterer, my evenings are precious. It is particularly difficult to get babysitters that are appropriately trained. Also, and being quite frank here, gigs really don't pay enough to make them financially viable. However, I do LOVE playing live, and I have to play live to keep my skills sharp, so I generally hand-pick some artists I'd love to play with, or in venues that I really get on with. I end up doing a handful of gigs a year at the moment. And yes they are all in England :) I do try and stream them live though if it all possible.

What instruments do you play? Guitars and violin are my main instruments. I can play lots of other instruments to a good enough standard to record what I need, but wouldn't want to play them live! Piano/keys, bass (fretted and fretless), whistles and uillean pipes, mandolin, viola.

Do you play all the instruments on your albums? Not all - but quite a lot! In recent years I've had Terl Bryant do my drums / percussion, as this really elevates the recordings! Also if I can find a bass player, that's another area that, while I can play, someone else can add some serious artistry. If I can find a friendly musician who has the skills and attitude right for the job, it's great to have them on board! Recording can be a lonely process if it's just me ...

How big is your team? Hah! I'm a team of 1. I write, produce, mix, master the music, with most of the recording being performed be me as well. And the song-writing. I sort out the merchandise, I make the website, I do the accounts, I do the marketing. You name it... it's probably me!

Why aren't you on Spotify? I was on Spotify for a long time. I made very little money on it, but I uploaded my albums as a service to my listeners. However in recent times they have made some terrible changes to policy that I really couldn't agree with (for instance not paying artists anything for tracks that make less than 1000 streams), and along with a lot of other independent musicians, I pulled my music off the site. Streaming is incredibly useful and a wonderful experience as a listener, but as a musician, it's awful. One of the other bugbears for me is that I don't know who any of my Spotify listeners are. I can't get in touch, I can't share with you. I don't want faceless, nameless listeners. I want a big group of friends - a community!

What about x,y,z? Ask me a question ([email protected]) and I'll do my best to answer it, and add it to the list if it feels appropriate!