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Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?

Leadfingers 06 Apr 16 - 08:28 PM
Desert Dancer 24 Mar 09 - 05:40 PM
Valmai Goodyear 24 Mar 09 - 07:55 AM
Guy Wolff 23 Mar 09 - 12:12 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Mar 09 - 02:17 PM
TheSnail 22 Mar 09 - 08:20 AM
Anglo 21 Mar 09 - 09:49 PM
English Jon 21 Mar 09 - 09:27 PM
Stringsinger 21 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Mar 09 - 08:22 PM
Stringsinger 20 Mar 09 - 06:02 PM
Stringsinger 20 Mar 09 - 05:51 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Mar 09 - 07:23 PM
Stringsinger 19 Mar 09 - 06:45 PM
Guy Wolff 18 Mar 09 - 06:48 PM
Jayto 18 Mar 09 - 11:49 AM
matt milton 18 Mar 09 - 09:53 AM
Surreysinger 18 Mar 09 - 09:28 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Mar 09 - 09:05 AM
Terry McDonald 18 Mar 09 - 09:04 AM
matt milton 18 Mar 09 - 08:21 AM
matt milton 18 Mar 09 - 08:03 AM
matt milton 18 Mar 09 - 07:51 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Mar 09 - 07:27 AM
Acorn4 18 Mar 09 - 07:15 AM
Acorn4 18 Mar 09 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Sally 18 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM
Valmai Goodyear 18 Mar 09 - 03:26 AM
Surreysinger 17 Mar 09 - 10:31 PM
Guy Wolff 17 Mar 09 - 09:15 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Mar 09 - 09:09 PM
Guy Wolff 17 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM
Guy Wolff 17 Mar 09 - 08:50 PM
Guy Wolff 17 Mar 09 - 08:45 PM
English Jon 12 Apr 01 - 10:50 AM
Indy Lass 09 Feb 01 - 12:23 PM
English Jon 09 Feb 01 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Mark. West Sussex. UK 08 Feb 01 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,JWB 08 Feb 01 - 03:34 PM
Lady McMoo 08 Feb 01 - 10:43 AM
GUEST 07 Feb 01 - 03:09 PM
English Jon 07 Feb 01 - 06:15 AM
Deni 07 Feb 01 - 06:04 AM
Deni 07 Feb 01 - 05:44 AM
John Routledge 06 Feb 01 - 08:45 PM
death by whisky 06 Feb 01 - 06:33 PM
GUEST 06 Feb 01 - 06:07 PM
cowboypoet 06 Feb 01 - 04:27 PM
KingBrilliant 06 Feb 01 - 11:33 AM
English Jon 06 Feb 01 - 10:04 AM
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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Apr 16 - 08:28 PM

Don't know how I have missed the various appearances of this til now !
My main advice to ANYONE who decides on doing Paid Gigs , wether as a Pro or a Semi Pro is get in The Union . I have been doing it for pennies for more years than I like to think about , and have had to use the FREE legal service on only three occasions , but having The Union Card in my wallet has stopped an unscrupulous promoter trying to rip me off enough times to make the annual fee worth every penny !

This thread has been regularly targeted by a spammer. If you wish to add content, contact a mod who will reopen it. --mudelf


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 05:40 PM

Any cats, corrrently?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 07:55 AM

I'm utterly delighted by The Lollipop Man and look forward to introducing him to a Cliffe coach next Bonfire season.

Great British filth at its finest.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 12:12 PM

Jon thanks for the wonderful update . I for one am really glad to find you again !!! Very exciting things here. I cant wait to hear what your up to next !! If I ever get across the waters again I will find you and see what sounds we can make together . Your friend (with no sense of time or space) and the maker of all the confusion in the latter part of this very interesting 8 year old thread. Guy <><><><


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Mar 09 - 02:17 PM

Snail - very possibly, but only if you close your eyes...


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Mar 09 - 08:20 AM

Richard Bridge

He [Jim Causley] does not do the macho man singer thing that would go with singing, say, "the Threshing Machine".

Oh I don't know, go here http://www.myspace.com/jimcausley and listen to The Lollipop Man.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Anglo
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 09:49 PM

Best wishes Jon. As one who remembers the sample mp3s you made available a number of years ago (very nice), and has since bought your solo CD (for real money, here in the States yet), and who has seen a number of your YouTube demo videos, I applaud your efforts on behalf of English traditional music. You are a talented laddie, and I hope you go far.

Good luck
JR


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: English Jon
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 09:27 PM

Gosh. Well this is sort of embarrasing really. I've not been around much of late, but I didn't realise I'd got >entirely< back to square one! However, all these comments are just as relevant now as when I first asked, so thank you once again for your collective sagacity....I can't believe where the time has gone, though.

So...an update: In the last 8 years I have....

Quit my job as manager of a recording studio. Gone solo, performing pretty much exclusively English traditional song and self accompanying with various combinations of fiddle, mandolin, viola, english concertina, melodeon, bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, piano and guitar (variously tuned DADEAD, DADEAB, CGCDGA, CGCGCD and various others with the possible exception of DADGAD and EADGBE). I've done countless barn dances, medieval banquets and period functions, learned to call, breath fire, write sonnets and make violins.

I've been in ill starred bands with some great musicians, some of whom win folk awards, and good working bands with fellow strugglers and stragglers on the road to obscurity. I made an album for Fellside which was hailed by the press as hugely significant and the next big thing and sold nearly two copies, and I've sessioned on all sorts of other records. I've busked when times were hard and moved to a town I hate in order to afford a mortgage.

I have had a small but significant sequence of personal disasters and been ill in the sort of way that necessitates the prescription of SSRIs and the removal of sharp objects from the house. I got better, so "here's a health to the doctor who eased all my pain". I suppose if I hadn't, I wouldn't be typing this. It's a funny old world.

I still do the odd bit of recording for private clients, and I sell melodeons at The Music Room 3 days a week, basically John Spiers' old job. I now play hurdy gurdy in a trio that people seem to like in spite of the fact that it has a hurdy gurdy in it and I'm generally older but none the wiser. I've got a great new guitar, courtesy of the exceptionally splendid Mr Colin Kendall and I've even started working on some new material. I say new, strictly speaking it's a couple of hundred years old, but you know what I mean. I'm currently trying to learn renaissance cornett and Eddie Van Halen's two handed tapping technique....I'll let you know how I get on with that in another eight years.

Best wishes all,

Jon Loomes


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM

it's not about being a macho man. It's about sounding the way you look and presenting
an acceptable image to a folk audience. They are the ones that pay the bills. As I look
at Causeley I see someone who matches his image with his voice and may not have a bucolic image but certainly a working-man down-to earth image. He doesn't look like something else.

The idea that the public will accept someone who looks oddly out of place with what he/she is doing is not borne out by reality. Appearances are a lot more important than many folkies like to admit because it runs counter to their idea of somehow remaining pure from the trappings of show business.

There are so many conceptions as to what constitutes the look of a folk singer and many may not cross the Pond.

Well Julian Clary! His image is concrete in the public eye. I don't see Causeley anywhere near that image.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 08:22 PM

He's a splendid singer. I mean that. Splendid. Live, however, his stage presence is more like Julian Clary. Not that I mind, but it does not jibe with the traditional singer thing - and that's my point. He does not do the macho man singer thing that would go with singing, say, "the Threshing Machine". It is therefore possible to be a well-thought of folksong singer while not presenting in accordance with the bucolic image.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 06:02 PM

O.K. I YouTubed Causley and I like him very much. Rich folksy baritone voice with subtle
ornamentation in his singing style. No necktie though. Plain colorful shirt, not buttoned down but simple in appearance. No excessive flash in the costuming but a hint of the working-man image. He definitely has a "look" that goes with a folk image.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 05:51 PM

Not knowing who Causley is, I maintain that if you want to have a career as a professional entertainer calling yourself a "folk singer", you have to look like one. There is sometimes
a mannerism that you can adopt. Holding your head up and looking to the ceiling like Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger, cupping your hand over your ear ala Ewan McColl or today the obligatory sporting of a beard seems to lend a kind of visual legitimacy. There are not too many folksinging performers that are accepted wearing a tuxedo (with or without tails).
Ascots, or fur coats with high heels won't help you either.

Think of your favorite folk-type performer. Can you visualize them? What are they wearing? How do they "act"?

Being a "professional folksinger" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) means adopting
a certain "aw shucks" performance attitude which is a part of show business. That is
if you want to get paid for doing it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 07:23 PM

Jon is a very entertaining talker - his "meet the" at Broadstairs a couple of years back was very lively. I have been dining out on his comment about the age and tuning issues of his hurdy-gurdy ever since.

If we are broadening the thread top general advice to folksong-singers who are starting out on a possible career, I don't think a certain disparity between stage apearance and musical presentation has harmed a certain Causley very much.

But despite Vin Garbutt's eloquent narrative, I would suggest that it is possible to talk too much - as well as too little.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 06:45 PM

It helps to look and appear the way you sound. People are impressed by visual presence.

It helps to be entertaining. I don't necessarily mean telling jokes but don't put your audience to sleep.

Singing well and playing musically is a plus but not always a requirement.

Know your material.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 06:48 PM

Sorry for the confusion everyone on bringing this thread back as I did .I am glad to hear how Jon's music is doing and what he is up to . I am an early fan and in the usa so I am happy for any information here, Also from Jon's early conversations (8 YEARS IS IT ? ! ) its great to hear about all he is doing .. Congratulations to a good musician and a nice person .. I just did a national American TV show and in the middle of the segment Martha Stewart showed America how different we looked a decade ago. I must say Martha looks a lot better then I do for the time under the bridge .. All the best to all here , Yours Guy


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Jayto
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 11:49 AM

I agree be yourself.

Try to feel what you are going to play and sing not think what you are going to do.

Believe in yourself. The crowd will pick up your insecurity. If you believe in yourself and your music the crowd will too.

Don't think about how many are in the crowd or focus on "Is everybody liking it?" Most of the time not everyone is liking it and there is really not much you can do. Focus on making the ones enjoying it enojoy it more maybe the ones not liking it will start.

I don't know man there is more advice but I will take a break. Everyone will have thier own advice and ideas of what is right and wrong. Keep an open mind and read through the posts. Decide which (if any) will help you or you like.

I have read things that I think "No way would that work." Then I have posted things on other threads and people jump me saying "No way that would work." so just keep that in mind while reading. No advice offered by anyone is intentionally bad advice. All is well intended but every performer is different.
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: matt milton
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:53 AM

So will we get the equivalent of one of those reality TV update episodes where they go back to do a "did they take Sarah Beany's advice in the end" programmes?


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:28 AM

Yup, Richard noticed, and so did I before posting about Trio Heretique that this is an eight year old thread... and in that time Jon has done the rounds, so current advice directed at him is a little out of date ... he's had eight years at it [grin]


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:05 AM

Er - chaps - Jon's CD Fearful Symmetry is both good and well reviewed!


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:04 AM

Matt, you might like to read Guy Wolff's posting from yesterday for the answer to your question...........


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: matt milton
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 08:21 AM

Hey, just noticed this is a revival of a thread from 2001! How'd that happen?!


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: matt milton
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 08:03 AM

That said, much as I love Martin Carthy (fave MC album: Shearwater), I don't do so unreservedly. Sometimes his music can be a little dour and monochrome.

At the risk of opening a huge can of worms here, I also think his singing has, on some albums, suffered slightly from that slightly nasal British folksinger stylization that anti-folkies love to bash (often unfairly, sometimes entirely justifiably). It hasn't prevented me from coming to love his albums though.

Let's just say that if you really do sound a lot like Martin Carthy, then one way out might be to ask yourself if any of those reservations might also apply to your own music?

Have you heard the album Strange Histories by James Raynard? He's a young singer who clearly owes a debt to Martin Carthy, but still manages to be his own man. Well worth having a listen to.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: matt milton
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 07:51 AM

I think the best thing to do if you're serious is to put your money where your mouth is and put out a CD.

You can do endless floor spots, open mics and folk clubs and whatnot for years and never get any feedback beyond a polite round of applause.

Or you can record your current repertoire as best you can over the course of a month. And then press up 1000 copies of a CD for around £400 (cheapest I can currently find is colour card wallets at: www.wr4multimedia.co.uk/index.php/cd-replication.html)

And then send out your album to every journalist at every magazine you think is relevant. Send out your album to every festival and club organizer to think is relevant. Send out all 1000 of them if you have to.

If you're really serious about a pro career, you might even want to set yourself up as a business and claim a portion of this money as a promotional/marketing expense. But that's a whole other thread.

Don't worry about whether you sound too much like Martin Carthy for now.
Just get out there.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 07:27 AM

Please, chaps and chapesses, stop to think how known Jon has become over the intervening 8 years before suggesting he travels miles to do floor spots!


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Acorn4
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 07:15 AM

...and of course, Bob Dylan started off imitating Woody Guthrie.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: Acorn4
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 06:09 AM

Everyone imitates ar first. Nic Jones started off by trying to sing and play like Martin Carthy but ended up with his own style.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Career: Guidance?
From: GUEST,Sally
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM

Get out there, be prepared to play for nothing, be prepared, professional at all times, be tolerant, and if you've got IT, it'll come to you but it could take years!
Sal


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 03:26 AM

Good luck, Jon. Lots of floor spots at folk clubs will be a help in getting you used to audiences and are far more effective at getting you folk club bookings than sending demos, which aren't representative of what anyone is like in live performance. YouTube and MySpace links are very useful to put in publicity material for gigs you've already got as they tell the audience what to expect.

If you ever in Lewes in Sussex on a Saturday night, come and do a floor spot at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club in the Elephant & Castle. We enjoy a wide range of styles, but what we mostly book is performers of British traditional music and song.

You could also come to one of our workshops on a big variety of subjects. Here is this year's list:

LEWES ELEPHANT FOLK MUSIC WORKSHOPS 2009
The workshops last a full Saturday or Sunday & the tutor performs at the club in the evening. Booking forms can be printed from the website.

28th Feb         Brian Peters                         Melodeon
1st. March         Brian Peters                           Ballad forum
28th. March         Tom McConville                 Fiddle        
25th. April         Craig Morgan Robson                 'Way through the Woods' suite of songs & readings
26th. April         Craig Morgan Robson         Vocal harmony
6th. June         Nancy Kerr                         Fiddle
                James Fagan                         Bouzouki
                Robert Harbron                 Concertina
7th. June         Nancy Kerr & James Fagan         Vocal harmony
                Robert Harbron                Winter MS tunes (any instrument)
11th. July        Will Duke                         Scan Tester's tunes (any instrument)
18th. July         Bonnie Shaljean                    Harp
12th. Sept         Tommy Peoples                 Fiddle
19th. Sept         Jeff Warner                         Song accompaniment
10th. Oct        Tim Edey                            Melodeon
14th. Nov        Vicki Swan                         Scottish smallpipes
14th. Nov (eve) Vicki Swan & Johnny Dyer
21st. Nov        Tom & Barbara Brown        Ballad forum
5th. Dec        Billy Teare                         Storytelling
5th. Dec        Kathleen O'Sullivan                 Irish song

Telephone (01273) 476757 for details.
email: valmaigoodyear@aol.com
Website: www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org/

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 10:31 PM

Jon has recently been out in action in his new trio Trio Heretique at Cheltenham Festival. They have a new website at this address


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 09:15 PM

Here is a link to a whole batch of his music on my space .I did see something at that site about his being sick and being on the mend . I wish him very well !!! Guy

http://www.myspace.com/jonloomesmusic


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 09:09 PM

Jon has been out for a while, but is back in the fray.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM

Heres Princess Royal on melodeon .. Just great .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ1cZVL77yI&feature=channel


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:50 PM

Here is one of my favorite songs from Jon Loomes up on youtube !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSCyoCL-pQk


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:45 PM

This was such a great thread . It would be great fun to get an update on how English Jon has gotten on . I will look for some of his Yiutube things to post here . The Hurdt gurdy seems to have come to pass as well !!! Im still a fan and want to hear more about how its all going for English Jon !!! Al the best to all here .. Guy


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: English Jon
Date: 12 Apr 01 - 10:50 AM

Update:

Have now done first solo gig. 2 Hour set for small private audience. Didn't go too badly... Whether or not I'll get a return booking is another matter! -we shall see. Anyway, I'm recording at the moment. 1/2 a dozen tracks down so far, going pretty well, but I'm only REALY happy with one of them, so I shall probably re-record some of the others. All advice given in this thread has been incredibly helpfull. Thank you all. Will keep you posted.

Cheers, Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Indy Lass
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 12:23 PM

KingBrilliant-Yes, I'd like to form a group. I've been checking out bookstore performances, coffeehouses, etc. but the musicians I've approached have just not found common ground with what I do. I guess this is the case with a lot of musicians/perfomers. I live in central Indiana. I am influenced by Loreena MacKennitt, Connie Dover, Mary Dillon, Karan Casey, Dolores Keane, Kate Rusby and the like. I love the ballads for their stories. I play guitar with a fingerstyle I've developed playing years alone. I don't know if I have the nerve yet to busk. I've played at open mic's, bookstores, and a pub (only once because of the smoke) I must admit I'm a bit dependent on my amp for the sake of not wearing out my voice when performing. I need a group that can pick up on the music by ear because I don't have sheet music. I played with a symphony violinist who could only learn from sheet music, though we slowly managed to work out one song for a performance, and it was worth the effort. So if there are folks near here wanting to form a group, PM me!


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: English Jon
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 04:38 AM

Once again, another batch of realy useful advice. I thought when I posted this thread it was probably a bit silly, but I'm glad I did. This stuff is gold dust. Many thanks.

1. Cashflow. Yep I know it's a bugger. But I really want to do this. I'll make it work somehow. I'd rather be poor and happy than work in a bank. (Easier to say at 26 than at 36, I suspect...) Fortunately, I have a friendly agent who is pretty good with the band, and I dare say would take on "Jon Loomes - Solo English Idiot" or whatever. But I don't suppose I can quit my job just yet...

2. Clone-ism. I'm very aware of this one. I like MC's guitar style a lot, and it's certainly been a huge influence. Also Nic Jones - fantastic stuff.

The thing is: I do English Trad, and with these people as primary influences it's very hard not to be a "sound-alike"

A little on my guitar style: I wanted to get a very sustained sound, like a hammered dulcimer. Basically, I wanted a cheap guitar to ring like a Martin 000, so I worked out that by playing melody notes on adjacent strings tuned a tone apart, you could get long sustained runs, and play the whole scale on the middle two strings. This also stems from the melodeon, the push pull thing gave me the idea for tuning 1 tone apart etc.

Coupled with some D+A drones (also an idea from the melodeon: Capo 5 gives you G+D perfect for morris tunes) I came up with DADEAD, which turns out to be an early "carthy tuning" (it's great, by the way? anyone else found this one? I prefer it to DADGAD)

O.K. MC now plays in CGCDAB, but it's close enough to sound almost the same.

Derek Brimstone and Ralph McTell are also big influences, although I tend to play less tinkly stuff now, prefering that sort of Bluesy thumping noise (carthy, jones again) Also Renbourn, but I don't think I'll ever be anywhere near as good as him.

I've recently bit the bullet and bought a real guitar. I'll still be paying for it in 2004, but it's been a revelation. It's perfectly in tune all the way up, and suddenly, without realising it I'm using much more of the fingerboard. Weird.

Anyway, hence I'm fiscally a bit buggered right now, so Home recording it is. However, my day job is a recording engineer, so it shouldn't come out too bad. I'd rather get another engineer to do it for all sorts of reasons, but thats just the way it is. Demo in Progress. Will send out copies to interested parties when it's done. Probably just 3-4 tracks in the first instance, but I'm trying to get together "the album". I think Mark is right, and guests should be kept to a minimum for demos. I'm not a great one for overdubs anyway. They never sound natural to me.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

Many thanks again,

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: GUEST,Mark. West Sussex. UK
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:19 PM

Read all the above advice Jon. These 'Catters know what they're talking about. Yes, go Busking. It toughens you fingers and your voice, makes you project your personality and, sometimes earns a bit of cash. Play floor spots everywhere, not singarounds so much, you need to test yourself in the same circumstances as the pro guests. Whatever you play, make sure it is accomplished and well-rehearsed throughout the set. As to the patter? To some it comes naturally as part of their personality such as Ian McCalman and Vin Garbutt. To others it is irrelevant. I was so lucky to book Isaac Guillory a few months before his recent tragic death. There was a man of very few words who held audiences spellbound and earned love and respect wherever he went. Folk performance is not like other live performance. It is up close and personal. An Actor, Comedian, Cabaret, Stage star can have a "Persona" which is a professional act. Up close it doesn't work. You get found out. Be yourself and relate to audiences from your own experience. When I started out I was lucky. I got support and advice from some great people, particularly Alex Campbell. Alex was always very concerned about young players running before they could walk. He maintained that if you went after bookings before you were really ready you could do irrepairable damage to your reputation. You would get that "Not bad but not again" response from promotors who would hold that opinion no matter how much you improved. Be patient. Don't go out as a Martin Carthy Clone or any other Clone. Audiences spot it and make the inevitable unfavourable comparison. Develop your own style and arrangements. Listen to people like Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, Norma Waterson, Jon Brindley, Kate Rusby - not to copy - but to see just how original some arrangemants and interpretations can be. Finally, do you want the life? Every cup of coffee on the road you have to buy. Hard floors and cheap B&B? Endless "English Breakfasts" will put you off fry-ups for life. Washing your clothes in unfamiliar laundrettes because after three weeks on tour you are out of clean pants and socks? At £100 a gig you have to do 100 gigs to earn ten grand a year. That is two gigs a week average if you can get them? It can be a hard life full-time. But if you are serious, fund a decent demo or CD but get it done in a pro environment with a good engineer. Don't do it on your mate's computer with a nerd mixer. (Bill Jones got hers done by Brian from "Artisan"). Get a folk directory of venues and pick suitable approaches. Don't waste time sending out forests of paper. Promoters don't book paper. One good demo is worth a forest of bumf. And don't clutter it up with guest instrumentals. If you are solo, we want a "What you hear is what you get" sound. When you've done it send it to me at the Famous Willows Folk Club, Arundel. Or come and visit our open stage on alternate weeks. We'll tell you honestly and discretely where you are at. Good Luck mate.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: GUEST,JWB
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:34 PM

The key to success in performing is providing entertainment. Why would anyone go to some place miles from home and pay good money to listen to music they can hear just fine on their stereo system? Because they want to be entertained.

Whether you play music for a living or perform as an avocation, you will be successful if you entertain people. That means knowing your material and being in practice, selecting songs/tunes for variety, making eye contact, smiling, saying the right amount of stuff to introduce each number, paying attention to the audience's energy, using humor, and -- most important -- enjoying yourself on stage. I've heard time and time again from audiences, "You were great! You really looked like you were having fun." They want you to like what you do, so they can relax and enjoy it too.

Don't ignore the fact that making a living at music means that you spend a much smaller percentage of your time actually playing in front of audiences. There are phone calls to make, bookings to book, promo to send, miles to drive, songs to learn. I've been performing for over a quarter of a century, and have no desire to make it my career (and I still have two CDs out that have made a profit). The professional folk musicians I know spend inordinate amounts of time on the road and on the phone so that they can 1) spend a few hours a week in front of an audience and 2) pay the bills. Most of them give lessons, too, since actual gigs tend not to bring the ends together.

All that said, go for it! I'm happy with the choices I've made about folk music in my life. Everyone must make the choices that work for them.

I think there is wonderful advice in this thread. Some enterprising Catter could edit this into a book to sell to aspiring folk musicians.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:43 AM

Lots of good advice here. Go to it!

But has anyone explained the vow of poverty yet?

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 03:09 PM

Don't be too polished. I think the unique thing about folk music is that it allows you to make mistakes and grow from them. No one expects perfection (boring). Be yourself and relax. The audience will let you know how they like a song. Applause is instant feedback. You'll know right away if a song is right for you. So go for it. Have fun and GOOD LUCK! (I'm jealous).


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: English Jon
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 06:15 AM

Norma is fabulous. Always comes and has a chat, bless her. And the most hugely relaxed and captivating performer, to boot. This is the kind of thing I'm aiming at. One of the nicest things about folk music is the abscence of a lot of Ego-tripping which has always struck me as unnecessary and a bit silly. There seem to me to be two sorts of performer: those who put on a persona, and those who are completely open. Having given this a lot of thought, I think the open approach is probably better. It's also harder and a lot more exposed. I'm not quite happy with the show yet , but I guess Geordie Broon is right. In at the deep end! I'm trying to finalise my set at the moment. Too much material is the problem, rather than not enough. You have to make value judgements about which items to include/leave out and then issues of context within the set, variety, continuity etc come up... Trying to keep two 50 minute sets absoluteley polished is hard work... Especialy when you're trying to do a lot of material that nobody else does. It takes me about three weeks to get a new song arrangement polished to the extent where I think it's good enough for public airing. Maybe I'm trying to set too high a standard, but then, I think you've got to.

After which stream-of-consciousness narrative, I shall say

Cheers,

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Deni
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 06:04 AM

Liz the Squeak

Thought I'd have a look at what you had to say about June Tabor in previous postings. You've got about a thousand messages to sift through. Nothing cam up on a search. Any clues to go on? Dying of curiosity. Cheers Deni


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: Deni
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 05:44 AM

English Jon,

A new committee has recently taken over our local folk club, The Hyde, Mutley, Plymouth, UK and I am the poor sucker booking acts. Bearing in mind that everyone in the club - sometimes 40 people, has different tastes, entertainment combined with a varied set is the thing I'll be looking for.

Our members regularly visit a nearby club, Folk on the Moor, Wotter, Dartmoor, UK, where they have loads of guest acts, very high quality too. All are musically great and doubtless work hard, but the ones that impress me much are those with a bright resonant vocal style, and those who look around the audience in a relaxed way, catch people's eye and make them feel included, tell jokes, bit of background etc... (but never lecture like one chap I saw recently). This removes the us and them problem which makes local performers resent the visitors.

Once you get to the stage where you are known enough to be booked widely, all your competition are terrific music-wise, but they're not all terrific guys. If they like you as a person, they'll come and see you, which brings us back to the 'nice guy' thing, and Martin Carthy is not the only one who does it well. Norma Waterson is an angel too.

Richard and Indy Lass.

If you haven't got a club near you, why not start a low-maintenance singaround in a local pub. Some people have done that where I live and it's turning out to be very successful. The landlord (Artillery, Stonehouse, Plymouth Devon UK), is very supportive. The singaround happens once a fortnight, the locals either listen or chat and the landlord gets around twenty extra customers and everyone's happy.

When you walk in, the atmosphere is much as I imagine it must have been in a pub 50-100 years ago, except that the decor and toilets are of a very high standard and there's no sawdust on the floor. Those singers really raise the roof, they are all friendly and brilliant to listen to. It's a pity more pubs don't put out feelers for occasional musicians free-for-alls. It's good practise and you get feedback from members of the public who aren't into folk, as well as the hope of converting a few.

Cheers and good luck all!


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: John Routledge
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 08:45 PM

English Jon - The only way to learn to dive from the top board is to do it once and then practice what needs to be polished up.

Best of Luck. You will be fine. Cheers John


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: death by whisky
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 06:33 PM

The saeson is just about to start. For the last three years I've been doin 5 nights a week (march-sept).Play the songs youREALLY LIKE,practice with your eyes shut,music is an aural experience.I get the best reaction from songs I want to play.Some standards are expected,fill your set with them. Good luck


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 06:07 PM

Richard and IndyLass Don't know where you live, but my local folk club has occasional workshops for folk to get together and play as a group, with excellent instructors. If you can afford the time (and money) you could join a Folkworks event.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: cowboypoet
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 04:27 PM

Let 'er buck, pardner! One last thought, for whatever it's worth. You meet a very high class of people in the folk world. I've made some very good friends through music, or perhaps I should say that some of my best friends are musicians (o,-). However, as my daddy used to say, "There's always one more son of a bitch than you counted on." In my case the SOB was most often the manager of some club or a concert promoter who didn't want to pay me what I'd been promised. The point is, let your love for the music sustain you when the SOB you didn't count on shows up. Oh, and if I make it across the pond (or when you do) I'll expect free tickets to your concerts no matter how much they cost, seeing as how I knew you when.


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 11:33 AM

Richard - go for it. Folk clubs are very inclusive and supportive, and I'm sure your local club/s will love to hear you.
One thing I find helpful is as follows: when I first started to go along to listen at clubs/festivals etc I always assumed that everyone who played/sang must have been doing it forever and be full of confidence, and I always thought that if they made a mistake then it was not a disaster - and then it occurred to me that if I just gave it a go then people would most likely assume the same of me. It seems to work, and that thought gives me enough initial confidence to be going on with.
I too thought I'd like to sing with a band for mutual support - but I've since discovered that I'm not much of a team-player at the moment, so I've decided to go my own way & just do what I do (but I'd like to have a go at a group sometime).
I'm thinking that in a couple of years time I'll go part-time in my job & spend more time on singing/playing - not as a career, but just because I love to perform and want to develop that side of my life before I miss the boat (I'm 37 & I've only been singing for about 3 years - tick tock tick tock...). So I'm following this thread avidly for tips & advice...

Let us know how you get on.

And - Indy-lass, are you going to form a group then? I'd expect its easier to do that than to find an existing group to join.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Help: Start of Folk Carreer: Guidance?
From: English Jon
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 10:04 AM

John B, I'm in the lucky position of having a reasonable day job (sound engineering) which doesn't involve too much overtime/weekends. Current problem is more to do with not having enough solo experience. Plenty with bands etc. but solo is so much more exposed.

I guess i'm worrying about performance details at a fairly high level. Blowing my own trumpet for a minute, I think I'm good enough as a musician. (Nothing clever about that, just a lot of hard work - I'm passionate about the music). I need to develop a bit more confidence with the act though for it to be really top class. I suppose I just want to get every last detail right....

DebC, I'm glad it's not just me mad enough to want to do this! keep up the Good work, and if I ever get over to the states, we'll do a few songs, yes? Likewise should you ever find yourself stranded in dear old blighty.

Many thanks

Jon


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