I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately. Simple questions, like, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I heading?” and the best one, “Is what I do actually making a difference? Anyone? Anywhere?” It’s probably a mid-life crisis, again, this time bought on by my decision to go full time music-making.
2017 was a crazy year. it started with the Wild Horses album launch, followed by the start of an amazing tour that again took me up to Scotland and down to the south coast, a gig in Switzerland and an incredible main stage gig at the Warwick Folk Festival. Personally, a lot has happened and it’s been painful at times but like every journey there have been diamonds in the gravel on the road.
I started doing this proper in 2004, quitting my real job and taking on a part time role at a drop in centre. I’m constantly rattled with doubts about what I’m doing and the questions I’m asking are by no means new. But a lot has happened this year and 2018 starts with a very different view ahead than 2017 did.
Just before Christmas I was asked to speak and sing on a Sunday morning at a church in Coventry. At the end a lady came up to me and said she’d heard me 13 years ago on the BBC. The story and song that I sang then, Dancing With Seagulls, had helped her through an incredibly tough time. The easy thing to say is that it’s worth it all just for that. But I think there’s more.
You see, 13 years ago I was hoping for record deals, world tours, sales in the tens of thousands. That surely was how to make a difference. Now, I’m not so sure. I plod along and hope that something I sing about or say shines a bit of light into someones life. Shining light takes an effort, it’s easy to leave people in darkness both by what we do or don’t do. I speak from experience.
I’ve recorded a bunch of new songs that should be out in a couple of months, if you’ve been to any gigs recently you would have heard some of them. I think they sum most of this up. “Love Is Bigger”, “When Heroes Fall”, it’s pretty honest and stripped back.
I often use the quote, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sharing a bed with a mosquito.” I perhaps need to listen to that.
Last year I had a part time salaried job. This year I don’t. It’s all about the music. Let’s see how this goes. Thanks for travelling with me.