Ethryll Newsletter – September 2016

Hello Ethryllites Everywhere! My Goodness, September Already!

Ethryll have been having an exciting summer. Between the excitement of some super gigs such as the Sheffield Tramlines Festival and our behind the scenes work on our first album “Murmuration” we have been busy little bees. More on both of these later. Firstly we would like to tell you about some upcoming chances to see us live.

Upcoming Gigs

Saturday 10th September 2016 – Victoria Hall Methodist Church, Norfolk Street, Sheffield.
Maer Atholl Shelter Music Marathon
13.00-21.30 (Ethryll on at around 21.00)
Ethryll will be performing this coming Saturday to help raise funds for the Maer Achol Shelter. This shelter provides help to street children in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and is an extremely worthy cause. We hope you can join us and dig deep to support their fantastic work.

Sunday 11th September 2016Flying Scotsman Tap, Silver Street, Doncaster
7pm until late
This event is an open mic night with a featured headlining band (that’s us this time). Knowing Doncaster’s lively and diverse open mic scene, you are in for a treat. Due to the nature of the event timings are a little fluid. Things kick off from 7pm, and we will be on at around 9-9.30 ish. We look forward to seeing any Doncaster Ethryllites who can make it along.

Tuesday 27th September 2016 – The Folk Train – Second Carriage
7.14pm to Manchester Picadilly from Sheffield Station (Please check platform on the night)
It is with immense excitement that Ethryll will be playing on the Folk Train. For the uninitiated, the Folk Train is the 19.14 to Manchester Picadilly from Sheffield Station on the 4th Tuesday of every month. Each month a featured folk band entertains the passengers between Sheffield and Edale, where everyone decamps to the The Rambler Inn and the entertainment continues until everyone returns on the 21.29 train to Sheffield with the band still playing. Recently the Folk Train has been hugely popular, so much so that there is overspill into the second carriage. September’s main band is the Porch Lizards. Ethryll will be performing in the second carriage to make sure all the folkie passengers are suitably entertained. Please note that Ethryll will not be performing at the Rambler Inn.

Tuesday 4th October 2016Ethryll at West Street Live
West Street Live, West Street, Sheffield
Doors at 7.30pm More information on other artists and timings to follow.

Tuesday 18th October 2016Ethryll supporting “What the Folk” at the RS Bar
The Royal Standard, 156 St Mary’s Road, Sheffield.
Doors from 7.30pm
Summer Fun

This summer as been a fantastic time. One of the highlights has been the Sheffield Tramlines Festival. We were invited to perform on the “Bird Table Stage” in the “Folk Forest” in Endcliffe Park by the excellent Richard Masters of Bell Hagg Orkestar (or you may remember him from Poke if you were a 90’s student). Weather wise, there could not have been a more perfect day. We got to sing “Burning Blue” under an actual burning blue sky as picnic blankets and knotted hankied heads filled the park in front of the stage. The atmosphere was amazing, and it was great to see so many young folk fans enjoying the day. Thanks to everyone who came to support us. Here are a couple of pics from the day.

Ethryll playing the Bird Table Stage at Tramlines Folk Forest in July 2016.
Ethryll playing the Bird Table Stage at Tramlines Folk Forest in July 2016.

13775397_1111062032288824_861143865059976302_n (1)
We also enjoyed a return to West Street Ale House (OMG the beer is sooooo good). Always a great place to play, and it was great to see so many friends there. We were up against the Olympics Opening Ceremony, but were very pleased (and slightly relieved) that we still got plenty of people in.


The work on Murmuration continues. We are still not yet at a point where we can give a release date, but we are still aiming for it to happen in 2016 if we can. Eel Reel with it’s miriad tempo changes has presented some distinct challenges, but no laptops have been hefted through windows (yet).

Newsletter June 2016

Hello Ethryllites everywhere.

Ethryll have been having a couple of quiet weeks whilst Martin is helping his students through the exam season and Hannah has her annual hayfever explosion. However, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes, so we felt a quick newsletter was in order to tell out all about it.

We have just enjoyed a fantastic run of gigs, which have each been unique and fun.

Well done to the organisers of Roof Raiser for Refugees, the event raised over £800 (some still to come in when I last spoke to them) and has enabled them to continue their work. Thank you to everyone who came along and dug deep.13178754_1735700950009839_274947299526684320_nThe Royal Standard was a great venue, and we can heartily recommend the bar food.

Taste Sessions in Doncaster was a fantastic night. As the guests of Tony Nicholson we were just one part of an awesome night. There was even some extra exuberant partying thanks to a Birthday Boy in one of the bands. We discovered several other fantastic artists we had not met before. The food, as always, is fantastic.
13312790_1079990412062653_6120589927778564085_nThe quirkiest moment has to go to our “gig on a tram” as part of the BBC Music Day “Sheffield Makes Music” events. Turns out that being allowed to ride around the steel city on the rails singing your heart really puts a smile on your face.


Starlight and StarlingsThe last month say Ethryll’s first proper releases with a demo version of “Starlight and Starlings”.

wtigyhNot even a fortnight later we had the release of our teaser single “Wait ‘til I Get You Home” which will be on the upcoming Murmuration Album.

They are available to stream and download on most platforms including Google Play Music, Amazon, iTunes, Deezer, Spotify, Reverbnation. Just head to your favoured platform and search for Ethryll.

Upcoming Gigs

13062257_813253982139667_3321314534091563056_nSaturday 23rd July 2016 – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield
The Bird Table Stage, The Folk Forrest, Endcliffe Park, Rustlings Road, Sheffield. 1-2pm (times are approximate).

Ethryll are chuffed to bits to have made it in to the 2016 Tramlines Festival. We will be performing on the Bird Table Stage at 1pm on Saturday. This is the free stage in the market area, so you don’t need a wristband to get in. However, there is so much going on that we can highly recommend getting your wristband to enjoy the other artists and activities happening throughout the city. Just remember to make it to the Folk Forrest! We are looking forward to seeing you there.

Friday 5th August 2016 – West Street Ale House, West Street, Sheffield

In August we return to the excellent West Street Ale House. How could we turn them down. The beer is magnificent! Exact times will be announced a little nearer the day.

Sunday 11th September 2016 – The Flying Scotsman Tap, 69 Silver Street, Doncaster DN1 1JL

A new venue for us. In September we will be at the Flying Scotsman Tap in Doncaster. The Sunday night session involves a regular host, a featured artist (that’s us) and some open mic slots.

Other News

Evening StarlightWe are well on the way with the recording of the first album “Murmuration” and this is occupying a lot of our time and energy just now. Kris is doing an awesome job producing our handiwork as it comes hot off the microphone. We are thrilled to have been granted permission to use the painting “Evening Starlight” by Jane Tomlinson for the album artwork. It has now been incorporated into the design of our refreshed website.

Even as we are recording Murmuration, the Jeanie Johnston suite continues to take shape, with new songs such as “Ten Miles a Day” which tells a remarkable love story that involved some of Jeanie’s passengers. You can look forward to hearing it in our set list later this year.

13315516_10154919028202782_1630344012723599504_nWe have also been considering our on stage look (and how to make sure people can spell Ethryll to google it). Thanks to a bit of painting and sewing and some salvaged curtain fabric we now have a shiny new backdrop banner.

That’s all for now. We look forward to seeing you all and folking your world in July.

Lyrics Insights 4 – Starlight and Starlings

Hello Ethryllites everywhere. This Sunday we have an insight into the lyrics of Starlight and Starlings, which is now available to buy for download and to stream from Google Play Music. You can find it by following this link Google Play – Starlight and Starlings. 

You can hear us perform Starlight and Starlings along with other songs from our album in progress “Murmuration” at our upcoming gigs;

Thursday 26th May 2016, 20.00 – Taste Eatery, 36 Kingsgate, DoncasterDN1 3JU.
Friday 3rd June 2016, 11.00-12.00 – Sheffield Supertram (Details on routes TBC).
Friday 5th August 2016, 20.00 – West Street Ale House, West Street,Sheffield.

Starlight and StarlingsStarlight and Starlings

Starlight and Starlings is about genius not recognised, appreciated or duly celebrated within the lifetime of the discoverer. It uses the metaphor of the apparent drabness of a starling until they fly in “Murmuration. The first verse refers to artists and performers and the second to scientists and engineers. It tries to convey hope to any artist or scientist that someday their contribution may be recognised and their name remembered, even if they don’t live to see it. The title of the song was inspired by a birdwatching and astronomy event held jointly by the RSPB and Mexborough and Swinton Astronomical Society at RSPB Old Moor

In the first verse an artist character sings in the first person, plaintively of the fear of being unrecognised*. The second verse is in the third person and names several scientists. Ignaz Semmelweis was the father of infection control and medical hygiene. He was hounded during his lifetime for daring to suggest that, through their practices, physicians were in fact spreading disease., Alfred Wegener, who first suggested the theory of plate tectonics and continental drift, had his theory laughed at until it was accepted as late as the 1960s. Alan Turing, due to the highly secret nature of his work during WW2 and anti homosexual discrimination, was recognised in his field, but did not become a household name until well after his death. Ludwig Boltzmann was a 19th century physicist who determined how we could predict the properties of matter from the atoms which form it. Although he received academic recognition, and a chair at the University of Munich. Boltzmann was forced to defend his work from (sometimes vicious) peer criticism, until he took his own life in 1906 aged 63.

We were incredibly lucky to come across the brilliant artist Jane Tomlinson who is kindly letting us use the beautiful image “Evening Starlight” for our album artwork. When I first was the picture I thought “If I saw that on an album it would make me want to listen to you music”. It also beautifully captures the mood of the developing album. The glorious greens and purples are perfect for Ethryll too. We highly recommend having a look at her other work. Her Map of the Plays of Shakespeare is a beautiful and witty must have for any English teacher’s classroom wall.

Evening Starlight

Much of the recording of this track was done during the Easter holidays 2015. We were very grateful to be allowed to use the facilities at Sheffield High School as, at the time, the recording equipment we owned was becoming somewhat antiquated. Our PC hardware and software to mix and master the track was likewise ancient and not up to the job. In 2016 we have finally been able to upgrade to using the excellent and simple Audio Evolution for Android for recording, and SONAR for the mixing and mastering. The real gem has been having Kris Hudson-Lee’s producers ears and technical know how in the band. We finally feel we have the means to produce a recording to a standard we feel happy to put out there. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we have enjoyed the journey bringing it to you.

(*Tip for any artist who feels unappreciated: Make an edible cake sculpture. Everyone loves cake, and your art will sell, especially if it’s chocolate flavoured).

Starlight and Starlings

I’ll try to sing a song for you, But I can only squark,
I try to strut upon the stage, When I can merely walk,
You’ll never see my colours, Until you catch me in a ray,
Of golden light, as I spread my wings,
At the close of day.


But then there’s
Starlight and starlings in the evening sky,
A million wings around Venus
And the watcher wonders why,
Each silhouette against the setting sun,
Is a transient work of art,
The flock so much greater than
The sum of every part.     

They tried to explain the world for you, You thought they only squarked,
Semmelweis, Wegener, Boltzmann, Turing and folk,
You never saw their colours  ‘ til you caught them in a ray,
Of golden insight, as they spread their wings,
At the close of day.


Chorus x 2

The flock so much greater than
The sum——— of every part.

New Demo – Starlight and Starlings

Hello Ethryllites everywhere!

We are happy to bring you our brand new demo song today, “Starlight and Starlings”. You can listen to it on sound-cloud now by following this link

The song will be available for download from Google Play in the near future. Then it can be yours to keep. I will post and let you know as soon as it is available.

A huge thank you to Jane Tomlinson who is allowing us to use her beautiful artwork. You can check out her work here It is truly unique and beautiful.

Ethryll have a busy week coming up with two upcoming gigs;
12th May 2016 19.00 – The RS Bar, Sheffield (with The Blewes, Lily Gaskell, Art Neilsen)
14th May 2016 19.00 – RoofRaiser for Refugees at Shakespear’s (with Kingfisher Blue and Bell Hagg Orkestar)
We hope we can see you there!

Lyrics Insights 3 – The Eel Reel

Lyrics Insights 3 – The Eel Reel

Good afternoon Ethryllites. I hope you have all been enjoying the first sunny days of spring. This week’s song insight is into  “The Eel Reel” a jolly sounding song with a dark story behind it. Before we begin, a quick update for you.

News Update

New Gig – Thursday 12th May 2016 – The RS Bar, The Royal Standard

On 12th May 2016 Ethryll will be appearing with two other groups / artists (which are still to be confirmed) at The RS Bar at the Royal Standard , 156 St. Mary’s Road, Sheffield S2 4AX. We will let you know as soon as we have more details on the other artists. Hope we can see you there.

Don’t forget the RoofRaiser for Refugees on Saturday 14th May 2016, at Shakespeares in Sheffield. This is for a fantastic cause, we hope you can make it down to lend your support.


The Eel Reel

You may be surprised to learn that the Eel Reel is a cautionary tale for children about tsunamis. Tsunamis are caused by massive seismic events (earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). They can cause devastation hundreds and even thousands of miles away from the epicentre. People affected by a tsunami may not feel any other effects of the earthquake.

The tsunami caused by the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was recorded to be as high as 46m when they destroyed the town of Merak. They travelled far enough to rock ships off the coast of South Africa and fluctuations in sea level were even detected in the English Channel. Since the cataclysmic Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 an improved networks of sensors in the Pacific ocean can give the people living along the Pacific Rim a life saving warning. Nature does, however, give it’s own short warning of a Tsunami about to strike. The sea rapidly and eerily retreats, often far further than a normal low tide. Minutes before the Boxing Day tsunami hit, people were going down to the beach to photograph the retreating sea and stranded marine life. However, this few minutes warning, could have given more people time to reach a safer place. 

The Eel Reel begins with a young child waking their parents early to come and look at the beach. The sea has run away, and the sands are covered with fish flapping and dancing desperately about. It moves into a chorus where the child fantasises about dancing and playing with the fish. The odd pun in the lyrics, and the quirky similes convey the child’s joy and wonder at the phenomenon.

The reel section really tests the nimble fingers of the band as each repeat through the reel is faster and faster and more embellished. As the song ends, it tells how the child’s parents know the significance of the sea running away. They rush the child, who is innocent of the danger, to the best haven they can reach in time. The highest room of a strong building. Hopefully, in future, more people will know the meaning of a rapidly retreating sea. 

Here you can watch an early video clip of the Eel Reel at Acoustic Edge.

The Eel Reel

Wake up! Mummy! Daddy!
I know it’s still the break of day,
Don’t be angry, I have to show you,
The sea has run away.
Now all you can see,
Are miles of rock and sand,
Why did the sea run away?
Is it scared of the land?

(Spoken ) 1,2,3,4

Chorus x2
I am off to dance with the fishes on the sand,
We will probably do a cod reel,
Waltzing fin in hand,
They wear moustaches and sequin suits,
They leap and sparkle ‘round my boots,
I’m off to the beach, come on and bring the band!

Reel Section

(Spoken)  5,6,7,8

Chorus x2
I am off to dance with the fishes on the sand,
We will probably do a cod reel,
Waltzing fin in hand,
They wear moustaches and sequin suits,
They leap and sparkle ‘round my boots,
I’m off to the beach, come on and bring the band!

Verse 2
Quickly my parents pulled me,
To the highest room,
My Dad said “Hurry, the building’s strong,
The sea will be back soon.”
But I just sat and cried,
For the lost opportunity,
To spend my morning dancing,
With my new friends from the sea.

Lyrics Insights 2 – Pothole Tambourine

Hello Ethryllites everywhere. Welcome to another our series of insights into our songs and lyrics. This week our featured song is “Pothole Tambourine”.

Firstly, A Quick News Update

 On Wednesday night we were at West Street Live in Sheffield for an eclectic evening featuring ourselves, Uncle Funkle and Bright Black. Some youtube clips of our performance can be found here. I would like to particularly thank Matt H. who made me lemsip and was generally lovely (I was feeling rough as a badgers bum that night as I have had the lurgy all week – not quite sure how I made it through the set).

The next gig we currently have booked is on Saturday May 14th “RoofRaiser for Refugees” at Shakespeare’s in Sheffield. We will be appearing with the Bell Hagg Orkestar and Kingfisher Blue. It is all taking place for a fantastic cause. We would love to see you there if you can make it.

Pothole Tambourine

Pothole Tambourine is written about the delightful highways and byways of South Yorkshire. Whilst driving between my home in Rotherham and work at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital I had to drive up a particularly badly potholed road in Greasborough. Having had a rehearsal the night before, I still had my tambourine in the boot. Every time I hit a pothole there was a wonderful arrhythmic percussion effect. Thus the idea was born. It was developed further as I drove around Sheffield. Southey, Walkley and Arundel Gate all get a mention.

I particularly hate potholes as, following back surgery a few years ago, they have caused me particular pain. They have also done hundreds of pounds worth of damage to my vehicles over the last 20 years.

I  this song Kris really gets to have a bit of a show off on the bass, with a really funky beat going on below. Martin uses a light hand on the fiddle here, adding just a little pizzicato embellishment. We decided to use the harmonica as the solo instrument in this song, as it mimics the frantic car horns which can be heard wherever drives swerve to avoid holes in the road and nearly hit each other. The vibraslap was added after seeing a friend’s band “Braver than Fiction” use one and realising it would give us the perfect “sproing” noise we had been missing.

Happily Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and Sheffield City Council seem to be trying to get on top of these potholes at last. Keep it up guys, you’ve a little ways to go yet. Our vertebrae and vehicles thank you for your efforts.

Pothole Tambourine

Fare thee well my springs and track rod ends,
Shock absorbers fair thee well,
For I know that it’s going to be a long time in the shop,
Before you all work again.
There’s a rhythmic clunk from the junk in my trunk,
The change on my dash rings like a bell,
There is no help for it, I cannot ignore it,
If I let it bug me I would be in Hell,
I’m shaken to distraction, by the up and down action,
When I only want to go along,
There’s just one thing left to do for peeps like me and you,
In all the clatter try and find your song.

Pot Hole  (sproing) Tambourine (clap clap) Pot Hole Tambourine
Like the surface of the moon, On a lane of leafy green,
Pot Hole (sproing) Tambourine (clap clap) Pot Hole Tambourine,
The state of Britain’s roads is utterly obscene,
Pot Hole (sproing) Tambourine (clap clap) Pot Hole Tambourine,
Sing this song as you bounce along,
To your Pot Hole Tambourine.

The views may be pretty around the steel city,
But better keep your eyes upon the track,
Otherwise a crater will get you sooner or later,
Knackering your wheels and you back,
From the Green of Southey to the heights of Walkley,
You will find it is much the same,
Ridge and Furrow Tarmac, Grass through the black,
Not so much a journey as a deadly game.


Instrumental (harmonica)

My poor old shocks, can’t take any more knocks,
I’ve lost my exhaust and cowell plate,
My track rod ends, now have funny bends,
And my oil sump is down Arundel Gate,
It’s becoming clear, I’ll need new wheels every year,
Driving’s draining all the pennies from the bank
Unless I win NASA give over, to lend me a Luna rover,
Or I buy an army surplus 10 tonne tank,

Chorus x 2 (key change on 2nd)

Sing this song as you bounce alon———————-g, To your Pot Hole Tambourine. (Sproing)

Lyrics Insights 1 – Wait ’til I Get You Home

Hello again Ethryllites. I hope you are all having fun and generally being awesome on this fine spring day. We enjoyed a fabulous gig on Friday night at the West Street Ale House. It is a great new venue, and you need to try the beer. Delicious.

On Wednesday next week (13th April) we continue our “World Tour of West Street” at West Street Live. We hope to see you there, treating yourself to an outrageous cocktail and some good tunes. The perfect remedy for hump day.


At Friday’s gig I had a request to start posting some of Ethryll’s Lyrics on our website. I thought this was an epic idea. I am hoping it may even lead to more singing along. So over the next few weeks I will be writing some features about our songs, including the lyrics and some insights.

Wait ’til I Get You Home

“Wait ‘til I Get You Home” is about a couple, one of whom is an extrovert, the other is more reserved. The song tells about the social awkwardness this creates for them. However, the song also tells how all’s well when they get home and it’s just the two of them. The song is not about any particular couple, it is based on patterns I have observed in many relationships of friends, family, colleagues and fellow conspirators. The song does not specify the genders of the couple. So don’t be surprised if it reminds you of some people you know, or even of yourself.

The song writing process for “Wait ‘til I Get You Home” began whilst I was driving, and was hastily scribbled down in my notebook whilst parked in a lay-by. To start with it was quite “straight” but I knew I wanted to use my new djembe in it. What brought the song truly to life was when Jackie and Kris got hold of it. Jackie changed the guitar part to more flamenco inspired rhythm, and Kris added a calypso style bass line. Added to this, Martin’s fiddle is more traditional UK folk. Like chocolate and chilli, it probably shouldn’t work, but it does.

You can hear us performing Wait ’til I Get You Home at West Street Ale House in this youtube video.


Wait ‘til I Get You Home – © Ethryll 2016

Verse 1

Tonight you’ve been laughing a little too loud,
Tonight you’ve been acting a little too proud,
Tonight perhaps you’ve raised one more glass than you should,
That pot plant you’re chatting up would run it it could,
And you’re dancing like my dad, After too much coffee,
I forgot on nights like this, You can get really bossy,
It might surprise them all but it happens to be true,
The best part of the evening will be leaving with you.


Wait ‘till I get you home, darling,
Wait ‘till I get you home,
They just can’t understand why we fight on no man’s land,
Wait ‘till I get you home

Verse 2

Tonight I’ve scarce seen a smile on your face,
Tonight you’ve been acting with funereal grace,
Stood by the wall with that stick up your butt,
Too cool to come out on the dance floor and strut,
On the edge of conversation, Wincing at jokes,
Your Monosyllabic, Responses are like croaks,
It might surprise them all but it happens to be true,
The best part of the evening will be leaving with you,

Chorus X 2 Bridge Chorus X 2


Wait ‘till I get you home, Wait ‘till I get you home, Wait ‘till I get you home (Cha, cha, cha).

Ethryll April Newsletter

Welcome to Spring Ethryllites Everywhere!

Coming Up this April

Friday April 8th 2016 – West Street Ale House, Sheffield – from 8pm

Wednesday April 13th 2016 – West Street Live, Sheffield – from 7.30pm

Saturday May 14th 2016 – RoofRaiser for Refugees at Shakespeares, Gibraltar Street, Sheffield  – from 7.30pm. Ethryll will be the guests of Kingfisher Blue and The Bell Hagg Orkestar.

Thursday May 26th 2016 – Taste Sessions – Taste, 36 Kingsgate, Doncaster – from 7.30pm, we will be the guests of Tony Nicholson.

Ethryll In the Media

Check our this fantastic article about Ethryll from Unsung Music Blog

What’s New With Us?

At our upcoming April gigs Ethryll will be premièring the first pieces from the new Jeanie Johnston suite, plus our other new song 2020 Vision.

Our existing song “Pothole Tambourine” now has added Vibraslap. It needed more vibraslap (thanks to Mel Lampro and Braver than Fiction for the inspiration). The packaging that the new toy came in also caused endless amusement. Nice one Stagg.

My new vibraslap came in dubiously branded packaging.
My new vibraslap came in dubiously branded packaging.


Of Guitars

My new axe

There comes a time in every musician’s life when they think “I’m serious about what I am doing (whilst having fun), and I need a more serious instrument”. Boys seem to hit this aged 13 as soon as they are able to play a C Major (that’s “Crooked Lady” to you Phoebe). I remember the other boys doing music at school lusting after Custom Strats and Vintage Les Pauls. My story with guitars is a bit different. Firstly, I have never owned an electric guitar!

The guitar was the 5th instrument I learned to play (I am a bit eclectic). In the village where I grew up there were some fantastic “have a go” style evening classes that ran in the school and community centre. Howard,one of the teachers at the primary school played guitar, and he began a guitar class. Howard had been very involved in the folk scene in London in the late 60s and early 70s, and had some great stories to tell.

The material we covered in class was very folk and protest song oriented. Our teacher began introducing me to songs and styles which really suited my voice. He later told me that because I instinctively sang the song as I played, it had encouraged the rest of the class to do the same. He had taught classes before where everyone played the song, but no one sang! Our class sang together as we played, and after a while we began to experiment with harmonies and songwriting together.

So my first guitar was a nylon strung, snaggle toothed banana. I picked it up at a jumble sale for £15. Three of the crappy plastic tuning pegs had snapped off, so you had to tune it with pliers. The neck was completely bowed, so that by the 6th fret the action was about 6 miles high. I stuck with it from September, when the classes started until my Birthday in February. During this time my teacher constantly bemoaned my instrument and how it was holding me back. (It beat being told that insufficient practice was holding me back).

So February came, and so did my Birthday, and a trip to TPS Music in Hinckley to buy guitar number 2. To be fair, in those days, TPS was a very small shop and choice was a bit limited, especially for my budget.  In those days I never played with amplification, so I opted for a big Jumbo size which was nice and loud. The guitar cost £70 and it is a SaeHan. I have never seen another SaeHan before or since.

I love this guitar with all it’s flaws. If you have been to an Ethryll gig where I have been playing guitar you will have seen it, 24 years on. Sadly it is now getting tired and buzzy. Even some loving ministrations from my excellent friend and general guitar fiend Tim could not resolve all it’s issues. It also has more than a few bumps and grazes from being my faithful travelling companion. It could tell some stories. Thank goodness it can’t!

I had a previous misadventure trying to replace the SaeHan. I bought an Armadillo backed Tanglewood electro-acoustic whilst I was in Freedom Hill. I could not get used to it. Armadillo backs and “decolletage” do not mix. I sold it a few years later.

At the strong suggestion of my husband, and a few others I trust for sage advice, I have decided that the old girl just could not cut it any more. The nail in the coffin was doing some recording where the buzzes and wonky intonation were very obvious. It just would not do any more. So as of today the SaeHan is retiring from stage life. I have a new guitar, and I think I am finally onto a winner.

I have particularly small hands. This had always been an issue for me on the SaeHan, and there were some things I just couldn’t play as a result. On the advice of my beloved Bass man, and several musical friends, I decided to look for a guitar that is the right size for me. I am done with struggling with a massive plank. Some research later, I discovered two brands of guitar which specialised in “ladies” models (shades of Little Britain). Narrower necks, but full scale. The body somewhere between ¾ and standard. A little smaller in the body than a Baby Taylor. These were Daisy Rock and Luna. Luna was much more readily available in the UK, also their high spec electrics and beautiful designs won hands down. I opted for the Luna Passion Flower, which is in a gorgeous and very “Ethryll” purple.

It arrived today, and I am a very happy lady. The sound, of course, has less bass than my old giant SaeHan but it is beautifully clear. Not a buzz anywhere. I think the more treble sound will contrast nicely with Jackie’s larger acoustic.

It is so much more comfortable to play. It was also a pleasure not to have to compromise between sound, playability and aesthetics. I am so glad that there are now much more respectable instruments out there geared up to female musicians that don’t look and sound like toys.

The balanced output is a definite winner (bye bye DI) and I have to say the tuner beats the Fishman hands down. My only suggestion to Luna would be to reconsider the plastic material used at the bridge and nut. This is the only place where this guitar betrays it’s very reasonable price tag. The sound is great now, but I am worried about how it will wear.

It’s first outings will be our gigs on March 14th (Shakespeare’s) and March 17th (High Melton). It will be all newy newness as we also have 2 new songs and Kris’s new Michael Kelly bass. Hope we can see you there.

A Musical Holiday in Dublin

On the plane

This weekend two members of Ethryll (Kris and I) escaped to Dublin for a much needed break. We were also celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. We had a fantastic time and it has been an inspirational weekend, musically speaking. It was good to be somewhere where the live music scene is truly thriving.

Firstly we hit Dublin’s amazing selection of music shops. The Gandharva Loka world music instrument shop gave me the chance to purchase the much longed for rain stick to add a sea sound to the start of Eel Reel. I also got some bells which I am sure I will work in somewhere.

My silly purchase was a tiny working harmonica necklace. This shop is a little gold mine for percussionists and what I want to call “World Woodwind” players. A very friendly place.

At Mdragonflymammyusic Minds Kris hit gold in his search for a stage worthy acoustic bass. He found a Michael Kelly 5 String Dragonfly Acoustic Bass. It not only sounds amazing, and perfect for Ethryll, but it is a visual work of art too. We couldn’t bring it back on the plane, so they are shipping it to us this coming week. I am very excited for it to get here and start hearing it in the band.

The new bass is called “Mammy” (Sunday name “Agnes”) because it is from Dublin, and it has a Dragonfly on it*. I also picked up a better strap for my Djembe (an old handbag strap will not do long term) and a “Travelog” stomp pedal so we can have a stronger beat behind some of our songs.

I found Music Minds to be a great experience. Some really interesting stock and unusual finds at good prices. Stuff you would be hard pushed to find in the UK in a place where you can look at things properly and try them out. **

JeanieJohnstonOne part of the trip which set the song writing neurons firing was a tour of the
replica Tall Ship “Jeanie Johnston”. The original ship has an amazing story which I am hoping to tell at least some of in some new songs now officially “in development”.

If you want to whet your appetite by finding out more you can take a look at  Jeanie Johnston’s story will provide a great contrast to “Fastnet”.

oshaemerchantIn O’Shea’s Merchant’s we found some great music. I was impressed with the Sunday session. The occasional trad. song to sing along to, but it was enlivened by some brave covers which the lads really pulled off. Folk Bob Marley works. The pub also does a great Seafood Chowder and Veggie Curry.   

Thank you for an excellent trip, Dublin. Thank you too to Jury’s Inn Christchurch for a lovely stay.


*  The Mammy, Agnes Brown, is the central, rather sweary character in the RTE/BBC TV series Mrs Brown’s Boys.

**But mind your head on the Flying V hanging from the ceiling. It’s even pointier than it looks.