Howdy Folks,

been a while before an update so there a fair bit to get through.

On the recording front there has been a mass of activity.

For Michael Kennedy’s album we have guitar parts completed, Carl Panuzzo has laid down the vocal parts for his three songs and I just got in the vocal takes from Karine Polwart which are beautiful. Recording some double bass this week with Shannon Birchall and will be eagerly awaiting the “band” parts and final vocal takes from Shane Howard and Chris While to come in over the next month.

It’s taking shape!

Louisa Wise’s album is also nearing completion. Bar one fiddle take, we’ve finished her parts - vocals, fiddles, guitars, dulcimers and just adding a few touches here and there before mixing. In the end we had a huge shortlist of recorded material to choose from - over 30 tracks - which may well forma part of subsequent albums. Right across the board the playing has been fantastic and her songs have been great to work with. Go Louisa! She’s a force to be reckoned with.

More exciting news is that bar the odd overdub we have finished Kate and Ruth’s instrumental tracks for their next album. I might add a few stringy things over the next month or so but for the most part we have the Kate and Ruth backing tracks in the bag - one that could be recreated live anyway. These songs are a great collection and with vocals planned for late January next year it’s going to be a killer. There’s been some great playing, some really interesting musical ideas thrown in the mix and oddly, given the distance the two have been working across, a real sense of cohesion across the whole project.

On the performance front I am trying to get a group together to launch Michael’s album at the National. Because it’s a total new project it might require a bit of bolstering on the budget front as these festivals have to justify the dollars spent but I’m confident we’ll be able to make it work and deliver a fitting tribute and launch for the album - which I think will be an absolute game changer for Australian folk/songwriting.

I am also beginning the ever arduous task of song selection with Peter for a new album with Shannon Birchall on Dbl Bass. Definitely very excited about working in this format. Every gig we have done as a trio has felt like Peter and I can really stretch out and it’s great watching Shannon launching into the material as he becomes more familiar.

The problem we have - and have always had - is choosing our 10-15 favourites for a good selection. I’d love to do one of my stringband arrangements of the Chopin piano music I used to play, Peter would love to tackle some obscure Dave van Ronk, Shannon is an avid Choro lover, we all would be into doing a western strings version of a Greek rebetika zembetiko. Last time we recorded I (cheekily) wanted to hear Peter singing Debbie Harry and the modal nature of Heart of Glass paired quite well with the modal major and minor tunes I remember hearing on an old Deseret String Band record of my dad’s.

There a lot of great music out there and playing with Peter has always been about exploring as much of it as we can. We’ve set up ourselves to systematically compile a long list over the next four months as we’re all quite busy, and then begin whittling down. Wish us luck!