On the 27th of September I played a concert at The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’. Which is in South Wales, near Carmarthen. I stayed here a couple times this summer (2019), and connected really well with the owner – Ken Knuckles. Ken is an avid traveller and spent his childhood travelling with his family, then as an adult would travel across the world for 6 months at a time. We conversed a lot about travelling, it was incredible to hear his stories and he’s a great story teller. When Ken travelled, the internet wasn’t super prominent like it is now, so most of the time he didn’t know exactly what to expect from the places he visited. I’ve made this a habit to not look into too much detail about the places I’m going, to allow the unknown to surprise. I feel always knowing too much information can ruin it at times.
Every time I visited this hostel I would always meet new characters and connect with people from all walks of life, one of the may joys a hostel brings. Hostels for sure take introverts our their comfort zone, but it builds your ability to socialise and hold conversation. There’s always so much to be learnt by conversing with new people, we’ve all got lessons and stories to benefit one another. – a blog post about this Hostel
So after walking into the hostel with my guitars on my back, those at the bar asked me to play a song – they liked those songs – we booked the gig. The great thing about having a portable set-up means you can play on demand, anywhere. The great thing about music, you can fit it into almost any environment and provide entertainment and value to people, as music is cleansing for the soul in numerous ways.
We promoted the gig on local Facebook groups and flyers around the town. The turn out was 6 people, but it was amazing, it really was. Feeling rather nervous about the show, as I hadn’t properly gigged in some time. I feel like I don’t gig often, but that maybe because I felt too many fails from organising shows, spending so much time on building a set of songs specific to the gig, and no-one turning up but myself and the staff – ha! I guess it’s part of the trade, you just got to keep on gigging. So this time around I didn’t solely spend my time writing a new set of songs or postpone busking to practice for the gig, I just continued busking and noted any improvisations to revisit for the gig. So my set list contained a lot of instrumental songs with looping and space for improvisation. I did include a couple of songs with vocals, here’s one;
Which is actually one of the first songs I wrote with this dual guitar set-up. Back when I jumped into the trio of vocals/guitar/bass, part of me wishes I just stuck that out and kept on writing with vocals, but once again those moments of failure pushed me down. But I’m learning to just accept failure, ignore judgement and do that which makes me happy. So I have been writing with vocals more these past few months, I yet have any completed songs, but I’m on the verge of finishing a few.
With only a small crowd of people it allowed for conversations and connections to be made with ease. At times we had group discussions about travel, certain song stories and their confidence in me to travel the world and perform to many thousands in the future – who knows what will happen! It was full of laughter and smiling, which made it more comforting to play and feel good in myself. Taking the time to look up and share eye contact with everyone during a song really helps settle those nerves. Ken said he noticed how when I smiled whilst performing, everyone else would begin to smile, an infectious feeling. Smile at strangers more – it can highly impact someones day.
I met Paul and Deborah, who we’re so kind to offer a place to stay whenever I visited Haverfordwest, even if they’re away I can camp in their garden, well that’s just brilliant 🙂 The following day they gave me a bag of goodies, as I reminded them of their son. Very lovely people. I met Paul (another Paul – Paul WS) during the day of the gig, rehearsing upstairs in the hostel, Paul walked past then asked if he could sit in, “sure!“, he videoed a few tracks and took pictures. When I finished a song he said “You’ve just played the soundtrack to my life“. He told me his story and the journey he’s currently embarking, which is tough going. I won’t go into specifics as it’s personal, but he’s been through hell, and yet his optimism on life is inspiring. Walking across Wales has healed his mind and soul massively, we went for a sunrise walk the morning after the gig.
“Depth over distance, every time…” – Ben Howard
Following the conversations with Paul WS, I wrote a track ‘Freeze Frame’. Here’s the idea behind that phrase from Paul WS;
“Freeze Frame” – Paul WS. We only have today, each day brings a whole collection of moments, a series of frames, just like a film. Take a snippet, one frame of each day and freeze it in your mind. That way of capturing the good moments, allows you to go back and hold gratitude, it aids you out of the darkness because there are always going to be good moments, even if for just that single frame.
You can really learn a lot from conversations – converse more with strangers and dive into questions 🙂
Lessons learnt from the gig;
- Talking with an audience isn’t actually that terrifying when you just be yourself and open up. Eye contact helps, so does a smile – do it more.
- Singing works, keep practising and keep song writing.
- Early mornings outdoors gifts energy for the day.
- Music is healing and holds a meaning to each individual. Don’t stop gifting it to the world#
Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.
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