I've just got in from the gig at The Horseshoe. Thank you to Alan Tyler for inviting me down to what was a convivial and heartening evening in a pub that seemed to come straight from the old-fashioned world before anything horrible happened. If people had been smoking, we could have been in any era from the 1930s onwards, really. Chaps nursed pints, crisp packets rustled and there was even a baby in the corner; and various Rockingbirds were in attendance.
Alan and Patrick were playing their own songs when I got there, and the regulars were singing along with them and clearly enjoying themselves immensely. I like the song about the barge in Deptford, because I have been to lots of parties on the Creek before in another life: it was an evocative and gentle song. They harmonise beautifully and play and sing as one warm-hearted whole.
How much nicer it is to wander into a pub in Clerkenwell, plug in the guitar and sing to the assembled punters, than to slob in front of the telly watching repeats of TV shows that I didn't even like in the first place! There was a great punters chorus for The Sea (one of the better ones of the tour, if not quite the volume of the Bristol crowd) and I really, really enjoyed playing.
The headline act were Alden, Patterson and Dashwood, who had travelled from Wales although they actually hail from Norfolk. They feature Dobro, guitar and fiddle and their music has that woven-together, shifting folk Americana feel with a combination of traditional and self-penned songs. Their sung harmonies were lovely and the acapella song was light and airy; they were the perfect group for an evening with loyal supporters who defied the harsh winter chill to come out and enjoy live music, trusting their host to provide them with an evening's entertainment twice a month. Here is their website; they've got a bit of tour left to do, and you might catch them: https://aldenpattersonanddashwood.com
There was a bonus, too: I had been venturing out this week to search for a venue for a gig with the Charlie Tipper Conspiracy (who have now changed their name to Arrest! Charlie Tipper). I'd looked at the Betsy Trotwood but thought they might not fit in there because there are so many of them, but Rocker said they'd played there before, so that was going to be my first stop. Coincidentally, tonight Patrick invited me to play there anyway, and said they'd had a seven-piece there a couple of days ago, so I hope we'll do a gig there together in the New Year.
As McDad used to say, it's a great life if you don't weaken; there are songs in the pipeline, Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat (but I'm not going to eat them), I made a huge macaroni cheese that will last all week, and I have a huge pile of crime novels to last through the winter.
And there is chocolate in the fridge.