Hey All, It’s confirmed, Manchester show has sold out! Other shows have tickets available but try not to leave it to the last minute. We are just a few weeks away from the tour starting and so looking forward to playing In England and Scotland. See you soon. Marty
The lakes are frozen, skaters overtake the stumbling walkers. Around the shoreline the arms of the trees are decorated with white wings. To venture off the path surrounding the lake is to wade knee deep in a soft grip that is both warm and cold, sinking into the landscape like a crippled ship. The sky flakes busy themselves around the street-lamps, swarming like blind moths, a million floating unique crystals. Stationery, to contemplate this unprecedented deluge, looking back into the forest, the fairytale beauty is overwhelming perhaps exaggerated by the sense of silence. A blanket on a drum, a hand over the mouth, the black hand of space, suffocation in a submarine.On the lake itself, the ice so thick that the fear of accidentally falling through to the prison of darkness below is beyond contemplation but one wonders where in the season does the possible error of chance lie? But here everyone seems to know when it is safe and when it is not. As they know how to function in extreme winter conditions, keeping the children warm, avoiding multiple car crashes, keeping the buses and the trains running and employing an army of snow ploughs and operators to work through the night, shifting mountains of snow into the corners of the highways and beyond the footpaths onto the verges, allowing access for everyone – and everything.
It is so cold that your bones freeze under your skin. You must keep moving save you freeze to the spot, a translucent sculpture, a glass statue. Whilst walking, your arms are tense tendrils, your gaze determined and forward as you strive for the warmth of indoors. The yellow glow of assorted lamps beyond the triple-glazed glass, a beacon to your survival. Despite the gloves, the layers, the double socks and the heavy shoes you feel the chill penetrating your extremities. A slight wind makes it worse, stinging your cheeks.
Finally, a palace of light, your destination looms ahead, encouraging you to make those final steps, staggering onwards with hope in your overworked heart, furiously pumping blood through your veins and around your body – out of breath a cloud hangs in front of your mouth then disappears into the brittle air.
It is some kind of impending horror as your demise seems so possible, a simple slip away, a broken down car, the realization of your vulnerability, your weakness against the forces of nature, a fragile shell struggling through what is a normal and a repeating winter scenario – how did they survive here in the past centuries?
When finally indoors, deep into the night with the snow still falling at 3AM (it’s -13 Celsius, 8 Fahrenheit), staring out of the window at this most dangerous beauty, this frightening splendour, a woman walks home and disappears behind the trees, unperturbed by the threat of the winter or the threat of her own kind, unlikely to be attacked in the general safety of Stockholm. What might lurk in the woods, in the cracked bark of the trees, what may lay buried, lying in wait under the wind-swept drifts and unsalted ice traps, only exists in the imagination, but the soft kisses on your cheeks allay all fears as you flirt with death so serene, so welcoming, you almost wish to die here in contented, dreamlike exhilaration.
Christmas Day, Germany 2018. Here we are in the small Kloster Heisterbach graveyard where half a dozen untended graves, moss-ridden and illegible as to who are the inhabitants, lie worn and almost invisible in the grass amongst the trees. The monastery, built at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century, flourished until the Cistercian monks’ suppression in 1803 and final destruction of the monastery in 1809.
The picture, taken by Charly Wulff, reminds me of McDonald and Giles’ lone album cover from 1971 – or perhaps one other wintry seventies Progressive Folk record of the day. Can one’s musical direction be inspired by the mood of a photograph?
Photos: Charly Wulff
Olivia and I will be playing at the Live Am See festival in Meschede tomorrow. “Live Am See” means Live By The Lake because…
What will be different from last year? Well, I wanted to play some obscure cover songs (not obscure to me and those that love them) like The Dolphins by Fred Neil and Blues Runs The Game by Jackson C. Frank. In the sixties talented singer-songwriters would often include contemporaries’ songs on their albums simply because they were great songs. The lack of ego benefitting the quality of the record. Donovan sang Buffy Sainte-Marie, Buffy Sainte-Marie sang Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan sang Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon, Fairport Convention sang Bob Dylan (as did many), Paul Simon sang Jackson C. Frank, Tom Rush sang Joni Mitchell, The Walker Brothers sang Tom Rush (a little later)…
Remembering the words is the only hurdle. I will also be seeing what it sounds like to play without a beard. See you there.
Live at the Cutting Room, New York City, 22/02/2018
Live at Colony, Woodstock, 20/02/2018 [Audio]
High As A Kite, San Francisco, 13/02/2018
THANK YOU to an amazing band:
Olivia Willson-Piper (Violin, Cellolin & Backing Vocals)
Don Piper (Acoustic Guitar & Backing Vocals)
Hannah Moorhead (Bass & Backing Vocals)
Patti Hood (Harp in Los Angeles)
Rory Mackenzie (Drums in Los Angeles)
Jonny Cragg (Drums in Seattle)
And everyone who made this tour possible:
Trevor & Tricia Boyd
William Buras & Julie Bell Buras
John Cole & Mo Serrao Cole
Jonny Cragg, Cindy Howlett & Domino
Marc Geiger & Leilani Sarelle
Jeanne Laudon Stahlman
Patti & Mike Lindsey
Dennis “Spyder” Rhodes & Cynthia
Melani & Ed Rogers + TV GENERATION
Robert Rankin Walker
Thanks to everyone for coming, singing along, spreading the word, being enthusiastic, contributing photos and videos and buying merch! Until next time!