Well, when your tour partner comes down with a bout of laryngitis after the 3rd gig, and has to pull out of the tour, then it does. My amazing friend and tour partner Ryan James suffered a total loss of singing voice, but also gained a moment of true clarity and direction through this. He's taking a break from music for now, but I'm certain the stage will call him, and his beautiful jacke, hat, warpaint and wings out soon enough.
I toyed with the idea of touring on my own, or getting someone else to join me, but I came to the realisation that this tour was about "Ryan James and Howard Sinclair". No one else, and nothing else, would, could or should replace that. There was something special about the show we created, and those lucky people of Swansea and Bristol who got to see it, will I hope agree. Those who missed it, there will be another time I'm sure.
So, for me it was back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, the bad/emotionally difficult news didn't stop there. In that same week I discovered my ex-wife is re-marrying at Easter. Now, we've been divorced for some years, and not in contact, but that sort of news hits you like a very delayed train coming out of a dark tunnel. At first I shrugged it off and wished good luck to the both of them, then came the memories and the tears and the songs that made me think of what we'd shared. So, I had a fragile week of it, but made the best of it by playing and singing whenever and wherever the opportunity arose.
A lovely night up at the Greyhound in Clifton run by the ever generous Ant Noel, I played bass for Chris Stanley on a couple of songs, and generally had a lovely night immersed in good company and lovely sounds. One artist struck me in a way that she hadn't before. Sadie Fleming, a leading light and regular performer on the Bristol Acoustic scene performed a song which she introduced by saying it was a friend who'd just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The words, music and tenderness of delivery were breathtaking, and by the end of her performance I was fighting back the tears, with little success. This was a true triumph of the songwriter's art, to deliver a message born from adversity, and make it at once both heartbreaking and upliftingly beautiful.
So, a new week has dawned on me already, and already I'm half way through it. A really positive and productive rehearsal session with Graham Higgins, preparing for our debut performance as a duo at the Pilgrim Inn on the 15th of March on Monday. Then last night, an open mic I didn't know existed, caught my attention! It's hosted by Linday Bullamore, another wonderful singer-songwriter, at The Blue Lagoon, on Gloucester Road. A total walk of about 5 minutes from my door, good real ale (A Leicestershire brew called Everards Tiger was particularly fine), and one free drink for everyone who plays. A great mix of players including Sadie, Bex, Lindsay herself, Tom and Rob. I played 3 original songs (As I Recall, Division Street and Hitcher) and "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" which went down particularly well with a very inebriated fellow sat singing into his empty pint glass, his timing was off, but you can't doubt his spirit! I'll definitely be back there.
I'm hoping to get some writing done soon, there's a fair bit of material in emotionally difficult times, so maybe something will come out of the slightly dark week I've just been through. This week is already looking very much brighter. Tomorrow I'll be joining Ant Noel and the Peabody Drakes as sound engineer and temporary guitarist at the Seven Stars Inn. I can't wait, it will be rip-roaringly good!
Sorry for the delay between blogs, I must get into a better routine with it!