It’s all about people!

Those close will know that this year has proved tricky. On a negative note family illness and loss have needed my time and attention and have frankly been draining. On a positive note I’ve seen my daughter ‘fly the nest’ to start her own journey as a ‘fully fledged grown up’ with all that entails (yes I was covered in paint and ‘bending the plastic’) and there is now an empty room but sense of fulfilment and pride. Its these things that make you realise it’s the people who count. And in low times thankfully I have the music to ease, sooth and get lost in … it is a powerful thing! Pull yourself together man!

So the highlights this summer have been a full electric band show on the Portland Ballroom ‘love boat’ stage with Chris Newman on lead guitar (thanks to Mike Wilson for the gig). A main stage slot at Ely Folk Festival (being sandwiched inbetween the great Les Barker and Stick in the wheel was absolutely brilliant (Thank you Ely and Sue Marchant). An amazing reception to my solo set in the Club Tent at Cambridge Folk Festival (I took a chance on a set completely on Mandocello … it worked)!

And … on the recording front I’ve just started laying down tracks for a new album which I’ll be putting out in 2020. I can’t wait to share the recordings with you! I’ve been blownway at the generosity of the bunch of superb musos who have kindly agreed to play on the album!

Also I’ve seen some great music at all levels from beginners braving their first go at an open mic or on a floorspot through to performances by the likes of my friends Stella and Chris of the awesome ‘Barefoot Doctors’ (check them out and buy their album) and … discovering major talents I’d not previously come across like the ‘jaw droppingly’ good Lisa O’Neill who I saw at Cambridge Folk Festival – I was rooted to the spot (her albums are wonderful).

Returning to where I started this blog entry and with news recently of a close friend being struck by critical illness, its true life isn’t always straight forward and easy and what really matters is friendship, kindness and love. It’s not about egos and opinions … it’s about ‘people’. And in light of current political and global ‘shenanigans’ even more so!

Finally, yes I know … website overhaul and more online stuff – one day I will post a blog that asks what you think of my updated website and online presence!

Finally if your our playing good luck and enjoy. If you’re watching and supporting live music thank you … you’re a diamond.

Soloman

I’m detecting a pattern here!

I’m detecting a pattern here my Spring blog has now slipped into early Summer (must do better)!

So what’s been happening? Well continuing support from St Neots Folk Club (Thank you all). Also unerring support from Stella Hensley and Chris Newman of the Barefoot Doctors (go see them buy the album they are amazing). And thanks Chris for stepping in on lead periodically.

Still venturing around the floor spots and open mics and having fun playing and making new friends. Since last writing I’ve had some lovely plays, particularly at the Cambridge Folk Club at the Golden Hind. Playing an Open Stage and support for the amazing Dan Walsh Trio!

Big thanks and hugs to Sue Marchant and Nicky Stockman at BBC Regional Radio East on the Folk Show, love the banter, Thanks for having me on and the kind words of support. My own local radio Huntingdon Community Radio HCR104fm have also allowed me to plunder the airwaves so thanks for that Matt Rix and crew.

So what’s coming up? Happy to being doing my bit in the club tent at Cambridge Folk Festival and really stoked to be booked by Ely Folk Festival for a full concert slot, which I’ll be doing with bass/drums (huge thanks). http://elyfolkfestival.co.uk/. I’m also playing a full band show at Strawberry Fair Cambridge this year (thanks to Mike Wilson and the Portland Arms).

Hoping to put out another video shortly for my ‘Archimedes’ Song. Possibly going a bit Film Noir. Also get back into the studio to put down some new songs (a good number on Mandocello). Oh and a bootleg solo style album in response to requests I’ve had from audiences at folk clubs for that more stripped back and personal approach … I’ll endeavour to oblige. And yes I know the website still needs attention!

Finally thanks for the continuing support and interest. Enjoy your summer and get out and see some live music there are some amazing performers around.

Soloman x

Here Endeth 2018!

Since my last blog in April I’ve been a bit remiss. My planned August blog never transpired due to a mix of business and family losses – sorry!

Summer proved to be fun with a number of ‘Standouts’: St Neots and Cambridge Folk Festival slots, having my songs put on a comparable level to that of the great Clive Gregson and JJ Cale by ‘Louder than War’, appearing at the Cambridge Folk Club (with the amazing Claudia McKenzie & Jody Swanborough), appearing live on the Cambridge Folk Show with Sue Marchant & Nicky Stockman, sharing the floor with the likes of Jez Lowe, Clive Gregson and Steve Tilston, playing a full electric show (thanks to Joel Mason Lead Guitar and James Burke Drums), making a video for ‘U’ from the album with the amazing Matthew Rix … I could go on!

The latter part of the year has seen me explore a trio format more with my old mate Keith Hagger on Bass and Jody Swanborough on drums – more next year I think as those who know me will not be surprised to learn I’ve been writing new material, which I’d also love to record fairly soon too!

There are loads of people I should thank for supporting me over the last year, thank you all. I would however like to single out Patti and Roger at St Neots Folk Club for allowing me the frequent opportunities to play my brand of folk music to visitors to the club and Festival. And also the amazingly kind and talented Stella Hensley and Chris Newman for the opportunities they have put my way (and the words in other people’s ears on my part), bless you, you are much loved. (Go see their band The Barefoot Doctors they’re fab)!

Finally best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful Christmas and I hope 2019 brings you good things. See you on the other side … and yes I will get the online stuff sorted next year!

Soloman x

New & renewed

Following a great Christmas and New Year the brakes were firmly put on shortly after! Like many others I succumbed to the dreaded ‘lurg’, which came and went right through to the start of April! I did manage to get in a couple of nice plays: one supporting Ninebarrow at St Neots Folk Club (and amazing they are) and also a full electric band show at the Broadway in Peterborough which was great fun. Sadly I had to pull out of a number of other opportunities to play.

Made some new friends in Stella Hensley & Chris Newman, two lovely and amazing people who’ve helped with advice and some gigs too – thanks both (check them out either under names or as the ‘Barefoot Doctors’.  I also renewed some old musical friendships: one with my old mate Keith Hagger and the second with fiddler Colleen Laura – playing opportunities being explored and arranged.

So now the bug has departed I’m looking forward to plays at St Neots and Cambridge Folk Festivals (solo), the ‘Up the Creek Fest’ at Downham Market, a couple of local open air plays (with full electric band) locally and a support slot at St Neots Folk Club for Clive Gregson (which I’m really looking forward). I last saw this amazing singer & song writer some 25/30 years back.

As for the album many thanks for the review and kind words from R n R Magazine “… wordy and thought provoking. There is a wry intelligence at work here”. And yes I know, I’m still long overdue some on-line content – I’ll get there!

Although 2018 didn’t start as I’d hoped (guess I’m not as young as I was), I’m quietly content with the pace of things and happy with the important stuff, enjoying the amazing music and company of others,  making friends and … playing a bit myself.

Best wishes to all and enjoy your summer of music be it playing or listening. Support live music it’s good for the soul.

Soloman

 

 

 

That was a year!

Blimey, the year end and a year it’s been! One that started with trepidation is ending on a high. I’m flabbergasted!

When 2017 hit I was still working on an album I started back in November 2015! Would it match my expectations? I know I was nervous about it. Hey, I got the album I’d hoped for. But it would not have been possible without the help of some truly amazing people. Time for a roll call …

Production: Tony Rawson CEO Music Street, Rob Bond Boskey Recording Studio, Nev Barker CEO Confidential Records UK, Karen Klein Kenney, Tim Courtnall, Andrew Thompson at Sound Performance, Heather Birnie Photography (along with Amber Lu), Emm Rouse Graphic Design and ‘ear bending’ … and there was some! Thank you all for your advice and talents.

Musicians: Rob Bond (Pedal steel), Andy Childs (Bass), Joel Waters, Mitch Field (Drums), Chas Hutchings (Trumpet & Trombone), Joel Mason (Acoustic guitar), Gareth Stuart (Bass) and Katy Watts (B/Vocal). Thank you for your musicianship and creativity.

Si Dartford thanks for being the friend and peer who gave the album its first listen ‘outside of the bubble’ … phew!

Bless you all xx

Released at the end of September digitally and physically, it has so far been received well. Radio, peers and friends have embraced it and I’ve been blown away by the positive feedback. It means a great deal to me. To those who remember my previous stuff your ‘leap of faith’ into the world of the more mellow Soloman Smith (a place I’m personally happier to be) is humbling. Ok I’ll still play the odd old one now and again … well maybe!

I’ve played a few live shows which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Including a support for the amazing Jim Moray, a headline at a new songwriter session at Pepys, Huntingdon and a few support/floor spots . I’ve renewed my membership at St Neots Folk Club (Roger & Patti Pitt thanks for the welcome). Ive appeared on some Community Radio Stations. Many thanks to Doc Mason at  Peterborough, Les Ray at Cambridge and Liz Kelly/Mel Tait (Huntingdon) for having me on.

Muso friends old and new thank you for your generosity of spirit: the great Paul Downes (thanks for the banjo tips), Chris Fox for ‘the gas’, Christian Smith, Nick Hall (for steers) and the lovely Katie Watts for faith.

I’m really looking forward to getting out and playing more live shows. Hopefully some with a backline! I’ve a few things lined up for next year and if anyone is happy to offer me an opportunity to play it will be gratefully received. Older and maybe a bit wiser I’ve realised I can dip in and out of genres and styles and enjoy performing for the joy of it. I think I’m well past being a rock star … did I ever want that? Nah! (Mild chuckles ensue). Not that I don’t still have my professional pride.”If a thing’s worth doing” as the saying goes! Oh and I suppose I ought to enter the spirit of the ‘online age’ and post some more content up (I’ll get there)!

In essence 2018 will I hope be a year of re-engaging and making new friends on the musical circuit, being amazed by their talents and creativity, continuing to learn more about the ‘craft’ myself and to play and create music in the groove and space I find myself happy to be in.  I’ve been too long away from it!

Have a great Christmas and I’ll see you on the other side. Oh … stuck for Christmas gift ideas how about an itunes card with a buying recommendation;)

This year has been filled with some amazing ‘Lasagne Moments’ for me and I hope yours has too? Let’s hope 2018 brings us more.

Sorry for waffling … oh no it’s called blogging isn’ t it. Maybe I am getting the hang of this I.T. thing?

Soloman x

Here I go again!

Well here I go again! I’ve had a bit of a lay off, but hopefully now you’ll be able to catch me out and about ‘spanking the plank’ and performing a new batch of songs (which are available on my new CD Lasagne Moments).*

This is a new page for a new turn on my musical journey having taken time out to review things and write some new material which is more akin to where I am ‘life-wise’.

I’ve had the help of some amazing people in putting together the album and have been humbled by their creativity and generosity. I’m hoping those who know me (and those I’ve yet to meet) will like the new material.

Really looking forward to getting out and playing live so see you soon.

Soloman

* available on all major download platforms.