The Foundation of a Friendship…
…okay so that was a truly terrible pun, as you will soon see. I apologise.
I was listening to Carl Spaul’s Folk Union show last night because he was playing a track from The Lewinskies, our good friends from Nova Scotia. They are releasing their new album “Yesterday We Had Everything” on 3rd October for which I have some advance copies (complete with CD covers hand crafted by Kristen Lewis, The Lewinskies’ song writer and accordion player). I am sending these to relevant UK radio stations in the hope of getting some air play.
During Carl’s song summary he noted that Matt Steady also plays on a few tracks of the album, and went on to remark on the bearded one’s apparent ubiquity! Matt has provided his blues folk compositions to Folk Union Radio for a number of years, and Carl was aware he had helped on The Breeding Ground Of Vile and my other works since 2016, but I think it came as something of a pleasant surprise to find him also as the violin player on some of The Lewinskies songs.
What links us all is technology. I set up this website and the @JohnWaldeaux Twitter handle in late 2015 so I would build some kind of an online presence for my music ahead of the release of my Moorscape album in April 2016. Social media is slow burn but by mid-2015 I had already clocked Matt Steady, and listened to his song The Roamer more times than I would ever admit to him. I can’t remember how long it was before we connected on Twitter, but within a few months we arranged to meet. I sometimes work in Peterborough and Matt Lives in Leicester which is kind of on the way. At the time he was still in full time employment and that was very close to Leicester Forest East service station so that became our venue.
My reason for going to Peterborough was for a meeting and for a business photo shoot, and the uncontrollably tropical conditions in my hotel room the night before had caused a face rash to flare up. Not wishing to appear in the photos as some kind of red faced freak, I borrowed some foundation from a colleague who plastered it on adeptly, disguising said rash and rendering me fit and proper for our super professional photographer. Meeting and photos over I headed north to meet Matt Steady for the very first time.
Leicester Forest East services are not the most salubrious surroundings in which to grab a bite to eat, but that’s what I did as I waited for Matt to finish work. It’s always a delight to meet up with Matt, and this first meeting set the tone for every time since. We talked for a while about music and life, getting on famously over a cup of not especially nice coffee, and then I realised my face was still plastered with foundation. I don’t know what triggered the realisation. Was it Matt giving me a look that said “is that guy really wearing foundation?” Or was it something we talked about that reminded me?
So the first time I met Matt I probably resembled one of those ageing actors or music stars who refuse to succumb gracefully to their age. As ever, a paragon of politeness, Matt chose not to mention it, if he indeed noticed my freakishness. We laughed about it on the day as we have laughed about many other things since. In April 2016 a group of 13 of us, including Matt, Abi, and Martin got together in Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District to celebrate the release of Moorscape with a short walk on to an adjacent moor to take some photographs and video for later publicity. 11 miles and 1,000 foot ascent and descent later we arrived back at our starting point (The Old Nag’s Head pub) as a crystal clear sunny day turned to snow. By this time, Matt had probably considered me to be slightly unhinged!
Shortly afterwards Matt was recording with us, contributing to both the Dry The Life EP and over this last year adding his magic to The Breeding Ground Of Vile. He has also plays violin on my son’s ‘Hypnotise’ album. With Jad on tabla, they both bravely accompanied me in playing my first gig in 34 years in November 2016, and has been a fixture for The Folded Arms ever since. These days we are all a bunch of friends who love doing what we do, whenever we can find time to do it. And when The Lewinskies appeared on the scene, gigging with us in the UK for the first time in May 2017, they quickly bonded with the group. I had also met Kristen on Twitter and after six months or so I invited her and Matthew across (“you pay the flights, I sort accommodation, travel and food”).
So, in a nutshell, technology is why we are privileged to have Matt on our respective recordings and to have him as a friend. And now, we have all been played on Carl’s Folk Union radio show, because technology enabled that to happen too! So here’s me and Matt playing live together this year…