2017 has been wonderful for live performances, with my band tour at the beginning of the year, accompanied by the new ‘Five Songs’ EP and then the Autumn tour with Nick, and the release of my live CD ‘In Good Company’. In October I went over to Ireland again with Nick for some shows in the company of the wonderful Anthony Toner. There were also various festival appearances and one-off shows, so it’s been a busy year for me.
Being back in Scotland has allowed me to do the ‘Far, Far from Ypres’ project and with the centenary of the end of WWI coming up next year, I’ll be doing more on that project. It’s been a great step forward for me, to return to Edinburgh, after such a long gap, with so many changes in my life, but I’m convinced it's the right move for me and my family. I have two of my sons, Gabriel and Archie, living here, so family life is good. I’ve even managed to settle my English husband up here too and he’s enjoying his new life as much as I am.
We had a couple of great holidays this year, one in Crete and then straight after, a week in the West of Ireland, both of which were really enjoyable and very different, as you’d imagine.
The Edinburgh Festival was wonderful though very hectic - I’ve learned from this year not to book too many events to see myself if I have my own work to fulfill - I often found myself running from event to event. I played live at the ‘Incredible String Band’ show at the Playhouse during the Festival and there was also my ‘In Conversation’ event with Graeme Spiers and the fabulous ‘Beyond Borders’ Ideas and Literature two day festival in the Scottish Borders at Traquair House, where I played alone; that's always nerve-racking but great fun.
All in all, this year has been taking everything on a stage further and achieving more pleasure than ever before from music and even returning to writing, with a couple more songs in the pipeline to come in 2018.
Currently, I’m working on a CD of string quartet arrangements of my back catalogue with new settings of some familiar and not-so familiar music, arranged and produced by John O’Hara. John is a classically trained musician and although he works mainly with Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson, he is interested in serious music of all kinds. I’m really excited about this venture and I hope you’ll like it too, when it’s released. I cannot say when that will be at this stage.
Nick and I have some work lined up in May but I intend to do fewer live shows in 2018, in anticipation of the full band tour, early in 2019. I’ll be thinking about material and choices during the course of the year - as Troy is away with Nightwish most of the time I’m tasked with the job of sorting out the set list and I can’t wait. The thought of having all the band at my disposal again, after a long time, is really exciting for me. I’ll be writing too, and trying to formulate a ‘feel’ for the tour. I feel a big arrangement of something coming on!
I’m off to the US again in late June and into July, playing in my beloved Virginia and then I'm travelling to North and South Dakota, where I full intend to sing ‘The Black Hills’ on the back of a wagon.
Finally, I just want to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a lovely time and that it won’t be too long until I see you all again, somewhere down the road.
Please keep visiting the site and I’ll keep you updated as to what’s going on. There will be loads of news, so I hope that you’ll continue to support and enjoy my work. I know I speak for Oliver, Troy, Nick, Russ, Brad, David and Colm in sending you love and kind wishes for Christmas and the New Year.