Jan
04

Zizzi in Earl's Court

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


A very happy new year to you all. There's slightly less to catch up on retrospectively than normal as I took my annual 'I'm actually not going to do much for a couple of weeks at Christmas' Christmas. So my gig at the Market Vaults, the usual pre-Christmas epic that it is, was my last gig and as always it was a belter because let's face it, it is the best pub in all the world. After this, it was off to my parents in Penrith for a thoroughly lazy week and then a great time at new year with extended family down in Chichester. I feel much better and greatly refreshed as I prepare for 2017.


This year will see a new album and a lot of touring again including my return to the USA (don't worry the visa situation is all in hand and after all they've got this new president who's apparently much more open minded...). I'm excited about my new album - it's a bit of a revisit to some of my original love: the folk music of Ireland. There's a few trad tunes on there and quite a few trad-type tunes as well as some of my usual things like funk and a bit of bluegrass. I'm excited!


Now then, I'd like to tell you about the heaping pile of turd that was Zizzi in Earls Court, London. This experience can be best described as shite. Have a read through my letter of complaint to them...

Dear Zizzi,

My family and I went to see Paul Simon recently, a very exiting occasion for us all. As we had plenty of time (or so we thought...) we decided it would be nice to go out for a meal and sit down and enjoy it. Zizzi seemed a good bet as I had been before and the food had been as distinctly bland and generic as one might expect but of reasonable value and it had arrived relatively quickly. That this was not true across all restaurants became quickly rather apparent. After being given a welcome that was about
Dec
14

New car!

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


I write to you from beautiful Northumberland where I'm preparing for tonight's concert with Alistair Anderson. It's our second house concert with an invited audience with a view to making a live album! It's such a blast playing with Alistair, a legend of the folk world and one of the most wonderful ambassadors for the music around the world as well as his extraordinary role in keeping the music alive and vibrant for the younger generation. It was Alistair who created the folk degree programme which I was lucky enough to be a part of. We had fun last night so we're looking forward to this one too!


Since my last blog it's been typically hectic. The Urban Folk Quartet were hard at it in the latter half of November starting with a memorable gig back in my former home of Newcastle at the Cumberland Arms. The audience were wonderful and I had a lovely time getting pleasantly sozzled with many of my chums out in town afterwards. It's a funny one with Newcastle really - I yield to no-one in my fondness and admiration for the place but it's always difficult for me going back because I'm never quite sure how much I still
Nov
15

No I don't want to play you a tune...

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


Greetings from North Wales where I write to you from the ever classy Wetherspoons. Don't judge me, it has wifi and most of North Wales doesn't it seems! It does a job that's all I can say and one of the great things is I don't feel guilty about staying for ages and only having a couple of cups of tea!


Anyway, it's been a slightly less hectic time since I got back from India. Well sort of...straight after India I was into a crazy few days with gigs in Leek and London with the UFQ, the latter of which was great craic particularly and then it was on up north to Huddersfield to play for the first time at the annual event organised by Eagle Music and
Oct
23

Wonderful India

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,

I am typing this blog on a long and fairly tedious flight from Mumbai back to London. (I then helpfully forgot to actually post it online til today…). The word ‘tedious’ certainly can’t be applied to the country I have just been in. India is an extraordinary place and is eternally fascinating. Many of the countries I have toured are perhaps quite similar in culture to the UK – Germany, Norway, Canada, New Zealand, USA etc. They are all very different to each other of course but India certainly stands alone in terms of being a completely different kind of place! My fascination with the music is well known to people who follow me and the influence has found its way into some of my work and collaborations. This trip was slightly different. I’m lucky enough to be an endorsed artist by the wonderful Deering Banjos and they invited me to join them in India in a trip primarily intended to research if there was a market for banjos out there and taking in
Sep
20

Stewards

Author // Dan Walsh

Dear all,


Well I must apologise it has been an awfully long time since my last blog. August was a quite ridiculous month and September pretty much likewise but I must get back into doing this weekly ish because I do rather enjoy talking to you all this way! After Switzerland, it was back into the studio to record my new album and it is pretty much done in terms of my parts - exciting stuff! I'm looking forward to you all hearing it. Then it was a festival crazy time! First up it was the wonderful Green Man festival with UFQ. It has become a royal UFQ favourite this one and we had a wonderful time there once again. I often get asked whether I prefer the seated listening type gigs or the jump up and down dancing gigs and my answer is always that I love them both...but when it comes to the latter group Green Man is quite possibly the best of the lot! One of my favourite folk festivals followed - I was at Folkeast where I had a cracking time as always and then it was off to Moira Furnace Folk Festival with UFQ to round off a hectic but wonderful weekend.


Then it was three of the finest folk festivals - Whitby, Shrewsbury and Towersey. The former was solo and with Alistair Anderson and then the latter two were with UFQ. All three were such fun and I saw some great music. Whitby is one of the more trad ones I suppose and it was great to hear so many of those legendary figures from the folk scene still going so strong! Shrewsbury was a real thrill and you can even see the sets here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfY79X3rP0s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGc9PX_sSgQ


And then began my banjo duo tour with John Dowling. It's been really wonderful and it's still going! It kicked off, fittingly, in my hometown of Stafford where we had a cracking gig. I then had a solo gig at Didmarton Bluegrass Festival for the first time which was a real thrill and then UFQ played in Wales at Llanwyddyn festival, the festival with no vowels. Then the John gigs continued in Bath at the Ring O Bells which was another nice wee gig