2016 so far has been full on, with the finalisation of two recordings done, and the planning for release dates commenced, and a relocation to Wangaratta for family reasons. A wee Pozible fundraiser for the hospital here recently saw contributions of $1765.00 pledged, (of which most came through). Having settled in to the house in Wangaratta, and now being used to the commute to Melbourne for most shows and recording, a new host of bookings is trickling in and live shows are recommencing.
Tim Kill Custom has sent up a loaner guitar- a Steampunk Dobro called the Clockwork Orange. Swoon. Play time has been facilitated by this cracking new instrument.
I have joined a choir called “If You See Her Say Hello” who are on facebook (Follow the link) but not on a website. The choir is directed by Brooke Russell and Holly Ball, who put together the team of 30-odd female singer songwriters from Melbourne to present each other’s songs as a choir. It’s a breathtaking experience and, as a late-comer I can tell you it’s an immense thrill to hear these beautiful songs so well backed. Singing with a choir is a joy and a healing thing, anyone’ll tell you, but this one really speaks to me, as it is formed by songwriters and features originals by individuals… Members of the choir recently recorded with James Kenyon, and I joined them to record Al Parkinson’s “Story Song in August this year. Here’s a link to a facebook video of them. (Sorry kids, I can’t find a Youtube) https://web.facebook.com/ayleeno/videos/vb.579435713/10156155530615714/?type=2&theater
In a bid to make more coherent written contributions, there’s a new blog for you to check out at Muso.com.au. Some reflection on my personal facebook posts has given me some motivation to write longer, more consistent updates about my whereabouts and goings on. There are a lot of highlights from this year, including the babes choir (above) and of course the chance to perform with Geoff Achison, and the round robin format with David Hyams and Frank Jones at the Lomond Writer’s Block. Such great moments. I wish I had documented them all properly. From now on I’ll be taking a lot more selfies. Of course it’ll show I’m a narcissist, but I live in fear of dementia and to be honest… I can’t remember all the great stuff from the last ten years. How will I go when I’m 80 years old?
Upcoming shows are up on the home page, with festivals added, including a couple of Adelaide / South Australia trips (FleurieuOct ’16) and NSW (Illawarra, January ’17).
With the 2013/14 failure of a recording of original songs, called “The Girl Who Fell Off The Wall” new beginnings have been made to undertake the project again, and to that end, some serious work on production has been required- read, thinking, listening to previous attempts, planning instrumentation…. In the original attempt, work was done with Circal Studios’ Damien Sutton, who was, given his brief, absolutely brilliant. The project was ambitious and set in an unfamiliar environment, and a severe case of the yellow phlegm of bronchitis attacked myself, Sally Taylor and Rowena Wise, who were all working on the recording. Illness, time and inexperience were a killer and sadly I was never confident enough to release the work.
Soon I’ll be looking into recording time frames again. With a lot more knowledge and experience under my belt, having run the failed attempt with Circal, the simple yet charming debut album for the Hens, and the now complete Stray Hens album, “The Confluence” due out at the end of this year, a side project has also been finished and is due for mastering, when logistics and money allow.
This project is called “The Maggie Darlings” – a play on the avian theme, as I am a member of Stray Hens, Layla Fibbins (Sideshow Brides) has raven-dark hair and Alysia Manceau is part of Ravenswood. We note the name change of a stunning young female group to the “Drowsy Maggies” and hope this won’t cause too much confusion. Both bands are awesome.
There are many lovely images online from the events of the last 12 months, and you are welcome to go trawling for them. Not Trolling, though, please. Fragile muso ego and all that. I will endeavour to do a retrospective on past shows and put up some images for reference. Something like a website/scrapbook…
Favourite shows from the last few months have definitely included gigs with Frank Jones’ Writer’s Block, and house concerts. I have a taste for them now and would love to do some more. If you are curious, I’m happy to have a chat with you about how they work. Usually it depends on you- it’s your home. I have also immensely enjoyed collaborations with
In the meantime, there are two medium/large cotton “Mandy Connell” Tshirts available, and of course you can order Stray Hens ‘Debut’ Albums, or Mandy Connell “Tall Tales & Pretty Colours albums from Bandcamp. https://mandyconnell.com/buy-albums/