A Matter of Confidence
Confidence is a funny thing. It can be shattered in an instant and boosted by the slightest thing. It can be affected by the unexpected and can drop like a stone. It’s three months since we played at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, and I have only been able to record songs for #TheBreedingGroundOfVile sporadically since then. But when you see your 6’6”, 30 year old, fell walking, musician of a son pole-axed by a freak and very serious infection which could have taken his leg, it very much changes the game.
The good news is that after contracting this shocking illness suddenly in early September and then spending six weeks in hospital losing sanity, Duncan is now getting mobile again, and should be back in the hills by the Spring. His sense of devilment is back, he’s finally driving his car again as of this week, and he has started to create and record new songs. And they are really, really good so watch this space.
As soon as I knew for sure he was out of the woods I was able to resume business travel, and me and The Folded Arms managed gigs in Chorley and Hebden Bridge. The recording I have done since then has produced some excellent results, and never more than last Saturday when Kieran, Emma, and Kate joined me and #HeyGamal in the studio. I am now confident that we have all the songs we need for the first CD of #TheBreedingGroundOfVile. All we need now is for #MattSteady and our tabla maestro Jad to bring their magic into the mix and it will be complete.
I have been hoping for some weeks to get back to playing live at my local Folk Club in Sale. The people there are fabulous, welcoming, non-judgemental, and lovers of folk music. So whether you are an a capella singer or a multi-instrumentalist, you are always made welcome. Yesterday work got in the way at the eleventh hour but I am hoping to be back there next week to join the others in delivering a mix of original and new music, and to just enjoy being there again.
It is also the case that yesterday I had (quite unreasonably!) felt a huge pressure from my work, and at one point I actively started to think that I couldn’t play music live again. It was very odd, and it happens periodically when I have had a period away from playing or recording regularly. It’s probably quite natural but at the time it feels quite extreme and almost final. But then every time I travel overseas on business, no matter how well prepared I am always concerned that I’m not well enough prepared, and that somehow I will screw up, but I never seem to.
This afternoon I cleared a huge tranche of work, and felt completely free. Then I went into my attic practise room and rattled off a random set of songs that I may now use as my solo set for forthcoming gigs. I played with confidence and didn’t drop too many words. So this evening I am invincible!
Confidence is a funny thing. When it’s low you have to battle through, and when some of us come out of the other side we can look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. But think about this: some are less fortunate and have their confidence battles for life.