May 2003
Well, the touring season is underway again and looking at the Itinerary the West Coast gigs could be fun. I know all the wineries we have played in the past have been excellent, and you get some nice plonk to take home as well.
I have already mentally packed and unpacked my case a few times, but I know I'll probably come home at the end of the tour with a whole new wardrobe as there are some storeowners through Oregon and Seattle who are just waiting for me to arrive.
I'm still tidying up bits and pieces on the new album, and I believe we are close to the right deal for release. I have been living with it for so long now it deserves to go out and stand on its own. We are just beginning to work on the sleeve. The CD format for artwork is not easy, as you can imagine, and every idea has to be brought down to micro size. Do you think someone will soon design a casing that doesn't break? I always bring CD's on the road from home and when I return, hardly any have made it through intact.
On another subject, I wonder if GAIA has been released in the US yet? It is an excellent album and I wish Alan Simon and his team all the best with such an honourable cause.
I expect many people will want to know my feelings about Ray not touring. I of course miss him. He has been a real pal to me, and we loved playing each other’s songs. But I cannot say that his decision was a surprise. Sometimes it is the moment to say "enough".
I do so wish that he had written more though. The tunes he wrote in the early days were so much fun to work on and to play. Because Ray didn't play a chord instrument I had mostly a free rein on the chord progressions and he would then say if it felt right. It always gave me an opportunity to show of a finger picking technique (Ray was always a sucker for that style), and to try any new guitar sounds I had worked up. His tunes on the first seven albums were probably the most enjoyable recordings I ever did. Never too serious, too precious or too intense. It’s incredible to think that we have been together for more than half of our lives so far, and that we have shared experiences and ups and downs that are totally unique. Do I miss him? Yes, and at the same time I just want him to be happy. And people can speculate all they want to, but only the guys in the band really know what went on.
As many of you will have seen and heard by now, fortune has blessed the Moodies once again, and Norda Mullen has come into our lives. I did some gigs with her in the nineties and never forgot the chill up the spine I got when I heard her play. She has so much soul and passion it is a privilege to be on stage with her. She is also a great member of the gang, which is so important in a group, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for any newcomer. As you can see I am a big fan.
Yes, I'm looking forward to getting out there again and to making some music and to capture some magic, and also to having some new adventures, even if I do have to leave home at this most lovely time of the year. But I just can't say no.
From "Meetings with Remarkable Trees" by Thomas Paken-ham, about two great
trees on the shores of Lough Erne, County Fermanagh:
"I showed the photograph to a camper whose brightly coloured tent had been pitched just beyond the dark green circle of branches. "What do you think of it?" I asked. "Amazing" she replied. "Where is it? Far from here? I'd like to see that." "Twenty feet away."
I saw this quote by Carl Sandburg on a financial tip sheet, but I like it in its wider sense;
"Time is the coin of life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let other people spend it for you".