Well. I've just spent an incredible nine weeks travelling and exploring America! Now, with a new ukulele (okay so I stood on it and broke it..it still looks pretty.......i'll fix it........) and yet another acoustic guitar in tow i'm ready to take on my wee home county of Tyrone. It's great to have a few American gigs under my belt. I was so, so lucky to be able perform in a few Irish bars in Boston (check out The Black Rose & Porter Belly's). It really is a whole different boat..stage...song and dance or whatever, over there. When they request songs THEY MEAN IT. They will pay you an arm and a leg to hear that specific 1972 Eagle's track that you've heard about three times dissected, trust me. Also if an entire college football team turn up with their own team of girlfriends (who can full on three part harmonise along with you to almost any American country song) in tow and stand directly minus 3 feet from you and yell
"COME ON YOU'RE FROM IRELAND SING US AN IRISH SONG" don't be alarmed apparently they're worse when they're drunk...
Wagon Wheel really is THAT popular. Who knew.
Of course, there was Nashville and I was determined to sing somewhere so I managed to pay my way to the stage in the purple paradise of Tootsies. I performed Bye Bye Devil on a very, very customised...("i'm not tightening the strap or re-tuning this guitar back up a semi-tone because it's my girl's guitar") guitar. But I sang in Nashville and that's that. Tick. It really was a beautiful city.
All in all it was a great experience and one I won't forget. We covered Boston, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco/Hermosa Beach/Santa Monica (California), Texas, Memphis, Nashville, Virginia Beach (host to one cancelled Bruce Springsteen concert SAD FACE), Philadelphia/Lancaster (Pennsylvania).
Sure it's not always a lasting feeling of comfort once you cross the threshold back home again after travelling. It can sometimes be unnerving as things aren't quite the same once you've seen little bit more of the outside world. That's why I'll be throwing myself back into my music starting with a weekly Tuesday slot at the Icon Bar in Londonderry and some exiting video and songwriting collaborations I have lined up. I will also begin volunteering at the Pulse centre based in Strabane and Londonderry next week. Their aim is to support 16-24 year old's to re-engage in education and training through music. Er no, I didn't copy and paste that! Cheeky.
The workshops will include songwriting, music production and instrument skills. I'm looking forward!
Then there's Liverpool. I must have sang the leaving of Liverpool around 6,500 times whilst in America with my full on "this wee one is close to home...it's not as sunny as Cali-for-nia here but hey!....." Liverpool will always be the other home from home to me and I'll be returning to the wannabe emerald isle in the near future but first i'll focus on this one.
To all the amazing and wonderful people I met this summer, thank you. Thank you for the memories and thank you for the lyrics to my future album. See you all soon!