As 2020 draws to a close, I want to thank all our friends and followers for your ongoing support, in a year when we had to cancel almost all our real-life gigs and tours. I hope you’re all staying safe and well, and that you’re all set for a cosy Christmas at home. At the end of a really difficult year, in the spirit of positivity I wanted to celebrate some of True North Music’s 2020 highlights:
- The two sensational February gigs that we hosted with Newberry & Verch in Meltham and Sheffield back in February – here’s a reminder of their stunning finale!
- Being successful in my very first application for Arts Council England funding, to support our inaugural Yorkshire Americana & Bluegrass Day in Marsden, and the fact that ACE kindly permitted me to roll over this funding to 2021 after we had to cancel/postpone
- Hosting my first ever live stream on 30th May, with great performances from Blue Summit, Jaywalkers, Zoe & Cloyd and Simon Brady, and raising £870 in donations to pay the artists!
- In October, being successful in my second ever application for Arts Council funding! – this time to help support some online events in place of our cancelled music series
- Organising and hosting a successful Fall into Autumn Virtual Festival in late October, with eight fantastic artists performing live over two evenings – plus warmly received Zoom workshops in dance, songwriting and bluegrass guitar. We raised a total of £1,928 in donations and this combined with the ACE funding enabled us to pay out around £5,000 in performance fees to the 20 independent musicians who participated – absolutely vital support for them during a year when they lost so much work and income
Looking ahead, we have some diary dates for you, with a couple of live streamed shows coming up early in 2021. I know that it’s not the same as real-life concerts, but it’s still the best option we have right now. Your support is essential to help musicians and grassroots venues and promoters (including me!) keep going, so that we can resume in-person concerts once we eventually get back to some sort of normality.
We’re delighted that our friends at The Live Room at Saltaire have booked AJ Lee & Blue Summit for their first online show of 2021 on Friday 8th January. This exceptional California band combines contemporary bluegrass and Americana with elements of western swing, soul, folk, country, jazz and pop. With virtuoso instrumental work and soaring vocals, Blue Summit is led by powerful singer, talented mandolinist and gifted songwriter AJ Lee, winner of the IBMA’s 2019 Vocalist Momentum Award. Blue Summit impressed everyone on their 2019 UK debut, including a sold out show in Meltham, and the band was due to return for a longer run this summer before I had to cancel the tour. They will perform a full online show (two sets plus Q&A) – you can find more info and ticket link at The Live Room’s website here.
February will see our first of our Concerts from the Carlile live streams, featuring the multi-award winning Kyla Brox. Mancunian singer and flautist Kyla started out as a professional performer in her father’s band at the age of twelve, and with several albums and many tours under her belt, she is now widely regarded as one of the very best blues singers the British Isles have ever produced. She will perform for us in a duo with her husband and bandmate, virtuoso acoustic guitarist Danny Blomeley. Opening the show will be talented Leeds-based banjoist, guitarist and singer Simon Robinson, who you might know from the Redwood River Band as well as his solo work. Simon will perform some footstomping Appalachian tunes and evocative folk/Americana songs, accompanied by gifted fiddle player Mick Russell. Check out our Concerts from the Carlile page for more info about this gig on Saturday 20th February.
We’re really grateful for the Project Grants: Supporting Grassroots Live Music funding from Arts Council England, which has helped us to continue with our live music venture this year, pay a number of artists reasonable fees for their work and put together some high quality live streamed events. Thanks again to YOU too, for your ongoing support of grassroots music. Please keep up with all our news by following us on social media and subscribing to our YouTube channel at the links below. Stay safe and have a (quiet) Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!