2020 in music – our review

At this time of the year we post a round-up of what went on musically during the last 12 months, so why should this year be any different?

January started the year once again and Chief Celtarabian Quentin Budworth presented a sold-out show upstairs at Monk’s Walk in Beverley. He’d been touring Europe meeting with other top Hurdy-Gurdy players exchanging tunes, techniques and experiences and returned with his show ‘Old Dog New Tricks’ to share a new and fantastic solo repertoire. Hot on the heels of Q came another rare POSH appearance at the Adelphi that month including an astonishing rendition of ‘Safe from Harm’. And on an eventual musical note Lou and I had the most amazing journey from Hull to York via Goole by boat with John Dean on his barge the George Dyson, the film and images of the trip being later accompanied by our Loudhailer Electric Companies ‘Night Heron’ soundtrack.

February continued with the fourth Perfect Combination showcase for the Stephen Hughes Foundation; electrically at the Willows Club in East Hull and acoustically at the Back Room in Cottingham. The electric evening culminated in the Jean Genie Band’s tribute to the mighty Spiders from Mars with Ched, Bobby Joyce, Lou and John Cambridge plus a fabulous line up of Jackson D, Ched’s Bare Bones, Loudhailer Electric Company, The Duvets (feat. Paul Sutton, Frank Preston and Tony Trotman-Beasty), Johnny Pat and the Dream Team, and Rebel. The acoustic event at the Back Room the next day was full of fantastic sets from The Arkut Brothers – Sam and Ben, Urban Rain, One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer, Mike Greaves’ Lonesome Too and Work in Progress.

March saw the last Loudhailer Acoustic of the year and the first gig cancelled for us: Loudhailer Electric Country with MG Greaves at O’Rileys three days prior to the first lockdown. At this point we were still looking forward to shows in the summer including at Manchester’s Night and Day with Terra Fin and the fabulous Sonic Rock Solstice festival at Stoke Prior Space Port with Acid Mothers Temple and Astralasia amongst many more…

April was due to see Bob Wayne’s UK leg of his record breaking world tour at O’Rileys in Hull. Bob got stuck in Spain but managed to get to his friend’s house in Germany where he streamed a great performance of fan requests from the front seat of his van before leaving for the states. Our releases on DHM were the Dark Secrets new album ‘Band of Brothers’ and Robert Sharp’s EP ‘She’s in the House’ and Dexter released a live video single of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s Minor Swing. By the end of the month the Sonic Rock Solstice and Night and Day were beginning to look unlikely. However in a parallel universe the Leconauts were still getting into their usual scrapes and sending space chants into the aether in Series’ 19-21 of the LECo Chronicles with the help of the Shaman’s psyder.

May. If it wasn’t for lockdown I don’t think we’d have had the opportunity to watch live gigs Down Under, it was great to see Seb and Andy White and Dave Graney and Clare Moore play fantastic sets from their studios. Lou had been updating our home recording set up and the first recording and future LECo live track was ‘As My Sun Continues to Set’ with Jeff on guitar and Dexter on violin. The Solstice gig was still in the balance but Night and Day had been postponed, but we discovered that the Avenger’s Iron Man’s password for the Holographic Workpads was the first line of Red Guitars’ Good Technology.

June continued with our DHM release of Jonas Lapinas’ outstanding new EP ‘Photographic Room Dust’, Loudhailer Acoustic became a virtual Lego experience for the month and the Solstice came and went if only astronomically according to plan.

July arrived and so did ‘NEXUS’ the third studio recording by the Loudhailer Electric Company featuring tracks; Bodie, Silver, Weatherbird, 5 Years and As My Sun along with accompanying promotional videos and a LECo live stream began to take shape in the pipeline.

August appeared out of the blue with ‘NEXUS’ released digitally on DHM and on the 21st we were thrilled to unveil our new Loudhailer Electric Company show Dreamscape – a collaboration with the artist GE Saunt on SLS’s live stream channel. Gary’s amazing real/surreal images of Hull and Beverley accompanied by a live performance with a virtual audience from across the globe seemed strangely perfect at that time. Also during August Lou had been writing and recording These Animals Are Dangerous – a modern fairy tale song for ‘the year we had to pause’. The video is a collaboration with, and features evocative and captivating paintings by, the artist Caroline Brown and features Dexter on violin and cello. The video was a finalist in the Pinewood Studios Global Lift-Off session.

September – Gig Day! Who’d have believed it a first Electric Company gig in front of an audience in the same space for the first time since the Willows in February? Thanks to Admiral Bunting we had a great time introducing our new band mate and drummer Ash Legg in the North Garden at Burton Constable Hall on Sept 5th and then back to rehearsing new material for anything that might transpire in the not too distant future.  

October continued with LECo rehearsals and another postponed gig on the 16th. We had planned a gig with our friend Nick Harper, fortunately the tour has just been moved back a year and Nick spent his time not touring by producing a fantastic new album in ‘Phantastes’. At the end of the month Lou published First Day of the Heatwave; a marriage of music, video, pictures and Lou’s words telling of a meander along the headwaters of the River Hull, exploring its sources in the Yorkshire Wolds. The narrative is taken from a chapter in the Open Bridges – A River Full of Stories adventure. At the end of the month a new collection of song collages written by Gifford Rolfe, ‘After All These Years’, was released digitally on DHM and Lou re-recorded Blood Moon Rises, a collaboration with son Asa, aka /ˈeɪsər/ especially for Halloween.

November started with Lou exploring and recording mira gestorum and gamelan for yoga practice, meditation and relaxation using voice, real sounds and manipulated Gamelan samples. Back on Beverley Road the Loudhailer Electric Company were in full flow with the new Bombardier and produced two live in-rehearsal films of ‘As My Sun’ and ‘Drones and Holograms’ with Admiral Bunting engineering lights and sounds.

December. Lou’s been working with Quentin on some new Hurdy-Gurdy based experimental sound and vision recordings – two in the bag with a third on its way –  the whole new project is due to be unveiled in 2021. The good ship LECo will set sail as soon as we can. Sonic Rock Solstice 2021 is on the (not too distant) horizon but we’re sure to have some fun between now and then…

Here’s the gallery of evidence from 2020’s exploits below click and scroll on to have a look

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

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