Sam and I are living in the most enchanted place, near Backwell, on the outskirts of Bristol, surrounded by horses, beautiful gardens and geese and looking out onto an old church with a St George’s flag weathering all elements on top. We’re renting a small part of a large Grade 2 listed building with wood-burner, 11th century stone floors, columns and a front door that requires a key that’s longer than most pockets! It’s like being hobo knights or accidental aristocrats – rusticly simple, royally decadent and timelessly romantic. We are getting to work with a team of supportive sound engineers to record and film here, live, during a series of cosy gigs planned for November 2012. We want to release ‘True Love’ on Valentine’s Day 2013 and Wide Open – with remixes by select producers – in the Spring. Ultimately it’d be nice to film a kind of West Country Wayne’s World while we’re here, featuring the many other truly wonderful musicians we know from the area and from further afield, we’ll see…
Sam and I have recently committed to a routine of playing for (at least) five minutes a day. As new parents of a 4 month old baby girl, Willow May, we have found this to be the most incredible way to ensure that we stay fresh and inspired with our musical creativity on a daily basis in spite of all demands on our time. We can always do 5 minutes a day (at least!) on any given day (even if it’s last thing at night) and often find it turns into half an hour, an hour or more… We recommend it as a discipline to all of you who have a burning desire to develop something creatively which you find you somehow often don’t get round to.
We’re so happy to announce that we are expecting a baby to arrive some time around May Day! We have officially become ‘a couple’ after a few years of performing, touring and working together as a professional folk/country duo and have now moved in to a magical, anciently rustic, wood-burner fuelled, 11th century bolt-hole, 20 minutes outside Bristol and are getting ready for some extra company. We don’t know what we’re having yet but are pretty sure it is going to be either a boy or a girl.
For those who aren’t so fussed about babies – 8 months ago I would have fully empathised! – we have both been writing some great new songs. Sam was prolific in morning sickness, sitting up in bed to write four crackers in three otherwise horizontal and nausea-filled weeks. I meanwhile feel I have found a whole new lease of life as a songwriter even if I only have two 3/4 songs to show for it! It’s been a long time since I’ve really wanted to write and a long break has done me a lot of good.
We have the perfect setting now to play music, living in an open-planned space full of sheepskins, the afore-mentioned burner and even a baby-grand piano. Realistically we’ll have to see how much we manage to play over the next six months but the plan is to get the baby used to it as early as possible! And we have a complete home-recording set-up already for when we feel moved to step in that direction. Meantime you can stay in touch with all our new live and other recordings on our soundcloud page at http://soundcloud.com/sam-and-henry
More soon and much love to you all in the meantime, thanks for visiting our page!
We’ve just finished the Ramping Up The Era of Great Benefit retreat at the Balanced View Centre in Sweden with the founder, Candice O’Denver. It’s been beautiful, awe inspiring, life-changing, loving, immense, heart breaking, full power and a whole lot of fun.
On days off we cycled to the nearby lakes, played music and delighted each other with flashmob performances of our latest pieces. Our open stage night was explosive. Such an honour to perform with Candice in the front front row, slapping her knees with delight.
Henry and I worked in the Cafe. Here’s a very swedish photo of us in our cupcake aprons! We were serenaded each evening in the cafe with maestro Pete on piano and many others who joined in. It’s amazing to watch talent flourish in such a held, safe and supported way.
The tragedy in Norway happened the day before the retreat ended. It was profound to hear the news from Candice the next day and be reminded after all the fun we’ve had of the real reason we are here. You can listen to her talk here: Ramping up the era of great benefit – Day 10.
Sam and i are back in Diesel Daisy again for a festival and radio shropshire roadtrip. We arrived in Hay-on Wye the day before our gig in the acoustic tent at ‘HowTheLightGetsIn’ festival in search of a river to swim after a hot drive from London. Local advice landed us up wild camping for the night in a rugged kind of no-man’s land on the banks of the Wye in amongst a wealth of buttercups. We met up with fellow performers and dear Bristol friends, Troubadour Hook, for dinner in town, caught the mighty Universal Vibration and headed back through electric fences to pure night-time, riverside enchantment in the forms of fire, sounds of the river, reflections in the water and finally rain.
We were woken at 7am by a pack of 8 or so wild horses licking the dew roughly off our tent. What began as a surreally beautiful way to awake turned a little sketchier as the tent took a few rough tugs from the horses’ searching lips and eventually a giant triangular tear to the roof. In spite of this, and having seen off the non-plussed horses, we withstood a rainshower with the tent’s remaining inner-shell performing admirably, before waking up with an exhilarating, glide down the shallow but fast-flowing Wye. Gig’s looking good as i write, nice cosy sofa-filled tent serving delicious sweet chai. Half an hour to the town of books then off to meet Genevieve Tudor in Shrewsbury for a live session on Shropshire fm at 7pm. To listen live, click here: Listen Live to BBC Radio Shropshire on iPlayer
What a lovely time we had on our tour! Highlights included ‘Acoustic Haven’ in Totnes (an incredibly intimate gig in a beautifully grand old room in Bowden House run by our friends Doug and Clare), The Betsey Trotwood in London (so lovely to catch up with old friends) and The Cube Cinema in Bristol.
For each of our gigs we played a half hour opening slot. We then invited friends and audience members to perform and finished off with another Sam and Henry set. For our bigger gigs it was great to give our friends a chance to play and for the smaller ones it was brilliant to introduce this random element that seemed to bring the night alive and had us all fully attentive! It seems to create such a special atmosphere opening things up like this and each night worked out beautifully.
I’ll be heading off to Sweden on Sunday for the Spring Gathering at the Balanced View Centre in Skane. I’m so inspired by the Balanced View teachings and I’m very excited about hanging out with the community there. For more information on this visit www.greatfreedom.org.
Henry and I have so loved playing together in India and on this tour and we’ve written quite a few new songs. Here’s one of them: True Love.mp3
Once we’ve collected a few more we’ll be ready to record our first Sam and Henry album. Can’t wait.
Super, super, super psyched about kicking off our UK Tour at ‘The George’ in Bradford-on-Avon on Saturday night. It’s a gem of a place, on the canal, serving real ales and inhabited mainly by the boat-dwelling community. We’ll be having ourselves a warm and all-embracing folk/country session, hosting, as we will for all dates, an ‘open stage’ interval for locals and performing members of the audience to get up and sing one of their songs or whatever else they’ve got to offer. Can’t work out which parts of the evening I’m most looking forward to, singing with Sami or hosting the ‘wilder’ element…?! All good. Sam returns to UK shores today, fresh from (r)evolutionarily beneficial activities in Goa, leaving just about time for a few rehearsals and a costume check and we’ll be on!
All other tour dates and happenings (radio/in-stores) listed on our ‘gigs’ page, plus a link through to buy advance tickets for most shows. Recommended pre-booking for London & Bristol dates especially and it’s cheaper to book in advance for all our events through this site.
Break on through, oh yeah…!
So good to be back in the UK! Well, one half of Sam and Henry is back anyway…to be made whole again in a few weeks’ time! We’ve had an incredible two months of community living in the mangroves of Arambol together. Many music nights on balmy, moonlit rooftops and dream rehearsals on our palm-tree-lined balcony. And now from one beautiful time there to another back here – we are SO EXCITED about our twin albums release on the 4th April and accompanying UK tour starting officially at ‘The George’ in Bradford-on-Avon on 26th March. It feels absolutely the right time for Sam and I to hit the road and we’re both hugely looking forward to all of it, the gigs, the radio appearances and the in-stores. Join us in whichever way you can along the way!
This past month meanwhile has yielded more rich experiences from our musical adventuring together. We played a memorable halloween gig to a delightful crowd of recovering zombies in The Canteen on Sunday 31st October, christened Hamilton House’s events’ space in style with the rest of the Coexist Music Collective on the barn-storming, post-Guy Fawkes Night ‘open day’ on Saturday 6th November and were featured in the Bristol Fringe Festival down at ‘The Harbourside’ on Wednesday 24th November.
The fringe was held over two nights to coincide with Music South West, a brilliant event pulling together all artists and industry representatives from the region. Sam and I loved listening to legendary manager Chris Morrison (Thin Lizzy, Damon Albarn, Gorillaz) share his wholesome wisdom with us borne out of such a long time spent in the good end of the business. Very encouraging to know that people like him exist, fighting artists’ corners and backing them to get on with crazy projects like ‘Monkey’ ! Met a whole host of other inspiring characters over these two days and have big plans to work with Bristol Music Foundation, who hosted these two days, on future touring projects and other collaborations with Coexist Music.
We’re wrapping up the year with a tiny little collective xmas performance in the Stoke’s Croft Museum this Friday. If you’re passing through, look out for us between 8-11pm, playing in the window and dancing with the bear…