March started off really magical. A meet up with the other Maidens to continue rehearsals for our first outing in May! – which seems VERY close. It does fee like things are coming together but with all of us having a lot of other things going on time to meet up is short and we snatch evenings between other things to work on the setlist. I am so excited for what is to come though and genuinely can’t wait to be out gigging with Kathy and Jess who were already such good friends but we have grown even closer during this process – hopefully that will show in the harmonies.
I have been documenting a bit of my journey of joining the band in Vlogs on my youtube account if ya fancy a look, click the link—. Minnie’s You Tube
My first gig in March was for Marcus who hosts house concerts up Birmingham way. these concerts are always a real pleasure, as most house concerts are, I really love the idea that people open their homes, sometimes to strangers, to share music with them.
I was opening up the evening for Grimm Fawkner who I 100% recommend you check out. I thought he was something really special and it was so nice to spend the evening with him, Marcus and other friends. Love this snap of Marcus, Me and Grimm 🙂
I couldn’t stay the night as needed to whizz home to be up early for the Helle’s Belle’s Hertfordshire Roller Derby Home Bout. This is the team I Skate with – although I am not quite at bouting standard just yet! Hopefully one day! The skateres representing the team are the stars of the show but the home bout really is a full league effort where it is all hands on deck to human the tickets, lay the track, sell raffle tickets and cakes, welcome other teams and generally make sure the whole day works like clockwork. The team did amazing, it is always so inspiring to watch them skate.
Roller Derby is one of my favourite things to do. I only get to go once a week (sometimes less when things are super busy) as music gobbles up most of my free time, but I love it dearly, every week I am terrified and every week I overcome that and there’s something really good in that! It has welcomed me in to its arms and introduced me to some of my best friends, it’s made me fitter, stronger and braver.
March also saw an outing with the ‘Rebel Choir’ ( I am not sure if we settled on this name, it just sort of came about when I put a few friends together to support Dacorum’s Extinction rebellion) This time was an outing for International Women’s Day. Myself, Jess Distill and Lizzy Hardingham sang some songs (including the awesome “Nana Was a Suffagette”) firstly down in Hemel town with the Labour Women’s Network and then at a male prison where we sang and held a little singing workshop. It was really nice to be able to celebrate IWD with singing. Here we are in Hemel Town 🙂
This month I also welcomed Steve Warner to my prison open mic where he performed for residence and shared with them stories of his faith, how he became a songwriter and also about his experiences with dementia and the creation of a charity single and also with mental health. He was such an interesting performer. I really hope he will come back soon. I have a few more artists lined up which I am funding from a campaign I held with my newly forming charity “Josie Dear” I really feel the visitors compliment the work I am doing in the prison and are an important part of helping to take people out of their daily challenged and relax, talk, enjoy music together.
Then the final week of March …I began recording my Football EP at Spareroom recording. I am really in love with the process of recording. This record feels very different. I am reworking old songs so in many ways there isn’t the same sort of personal investment. With my own songs I am always quite open to lots of production ideas from people I am working with, I have a lot of my own ideas but think it is quite good to get an outsiders view on songs you have written yourself, about things you’ve experienced yourself, through eyes which are your own, processed by a heart which is your own, played on a guitar which is your sound, with hands which have certain limitations and a certain style, all told by a voice which is your own, in a tone you know, in a range you are comfortable with…you get my point? It is good to get a producers/outsiders ear involved. This record however is quite simple, the songs are re-working of old folk songs and as much as I have added instrumentation in areas and Nick has certainly added his production skills and flair – more on that in another blog I am sure – I have kept it pretty much just me and my guitar. I have adapted the songs to suit a Minnie style and to try and tell the story of the journeys they have made from their origin to the terraces/kop choirs (Did I mention they are all folk songs which are now sung as football chants?!)
bit essentially I wanted the traditional songs to shine through and be recognisable and I hope they are. One track isn’t in a key which suits my voice at all, it is quite a raucous number and to get it out I have to really sing quite differently to how I am used to – I wasn’t so keen at first and found myself saying quite despondently to Nick that I sounded like Mary Poppins. But it has grown on me, I think I am finding my folk voice – I hope people will hear it and love it (and not be too reminded of Mary Poppins) I was really pleased to invite Tom of TCW Productions to capture some footage of the recordings. Getting my parts down in the studio was stage one and there’s some more bits to come. I am not too sure when these songs will venture out in to the big wide world but I am excited and nervous to know how they will be received.
Anyways sorry, as always the blog is late, is poorly written and all over the place 🙂 But if you are a reader of my blogs, a watcher of my vlogs, a listener to my songs, THANK YOU!!!!! 🙂 xxxx