Will you join other fans and become a patron?
I have started a Patreon page (patreon.com/pollypaulusma) where, from January 2020, I will be posting a weekly video diary and streaming a monthly live gig for patrons, content not available to view anywhere else.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is an online platform which enables people to offer continued support to their favourite artists and creators for a small monthly contribution (typically $5), in return for content not available anywhere else. If enough people put a few pennies or cents in the hat each month, their collective power enables an artist to devote their life to their art.
How do I become a patron?
Visit my Patreon page (patreon.com/pollypaulusma), and click the orange button ‘Become a patron’ to sign up. In return, you’ll get access to a weekly video diary charting my creative life, a live-streaming monthly gig from my shed, and, if you’re not already subscribed, a new song a month as part of the ‘Pivot’ slow album project.
I’m back out on the road in February 2020! WOOHOOO! I’m performing a co-headline show with my dear friend and collaborator Annie Dressner. She’ll play a set of some of her songs, and then I’ll play a set of some of mine.
Sat 22 Feb – Newcastle – Cluny 2 – tickets
Sun 23 Feb – Durham – Old Cinema Launderette – tickets
Mon 24 Feb – Manchester – The Castle – tickets
Tue 25 Feb – Birmingham – Kitchen Garden Cafe – tickets
Wed 26 Feb – London – Green Note – tickets
Thur 27 Feb – Sheffield – Cafe 9 – tickets
Fri 28 Feb – Bristol – Bristol Folk Club – tickets
Sat 29 Feb – Winchester – Railway Inn – tickets
I have missed playing live so much, in particular playing live night after night, which to my mind is the best way to do it.
How to join ‘Pivot’:
- Either be a subscriber
- Or be a patron
Be a subscriber:
For £10, you can get all the songs from the project so far, and a new song emailed to you on the 1st of every month until December 2020. Send your one-off contribution from your Paypal account — select ‘Tools’ > ‘Send’ and send £10 (or more if you wish!) to me at email@example.com. Provide me with your preferred email address (you can gift this to someone else if you want), and I’ll sign you up.
Be a patron:
For $5 a month, you can get all the songs from the project so far, a new song emailed to you on the 1st of every month until December 2020, PLUS access to an exclusive weekly video AND a monthly live-streamed gig! Woah! Sign up to support me at patreon.com/pollypaulusma.
What ‘Pivot’ is all about:
- ‘Pivot’ is short for ‘The Pivot Round Which The World Turns’.
- I’m releasing a song a month across two years (24 songs in all). I started in January 2019 but it’s not too late to join the club: I just catch you up.
- I will email you a new song on the 1st of every month. You can choose to download the song from a selection of formats, from WAV (if disk space is no issue) to MP3 (if you need something a little smaller).
- These songs — which examine our daily pivoting roles as child, parent, lover, friend, grandchild, grandparent, and everything in between — are the product of the last six years and contain songs cowritten with Kathryn Williams, Tom McRae, Astrid Williamson, Danny Wilson, David Ford, Martin Carr, Laura Jessica Barnett and Mark Davies Markham.
- They will not be made public until 2021. They are not on Youtube or Spotify or any of the streaming services. The only way you can hear them is to be a subscriber or patron.
I’m playing four songs at 1.40pm on Sunday 5 Aug 2018 in the Club Tent at Cambridge Folk Festival – come and say hi!
Polly has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to pay for two days in studio with John Parker (double bass) and Rastko Rasic in September.
Here Polly explains the project:
I have a great big pile of songs that’s been growing since 2012 and I’m going into the studio in September to record the drums/bass tracks for these with John Parker (double bass) and Rastko Rasic (drums) at Three Circles Barn near Saffron Walden in Essex. I need your help to pay for musicians and studio time. After that, I’ll be tinkering away on the recordings in my shed, building up layers of guitars, pianos, tambourines, melody horns, mandolins, wine glasses, dulcimers, voices, hums and other noises. That part of the process is free. It’s just me and my time.
As time has passed I’ve noticed a theme running through the songs, about the ways in which we pivot daily in our various roles: mother, daughter, father, son, lover, friend, confidante, student, teacher, neighbour, friend. I have been wanting to make these recordings for a long time but I’ve felt uneasy about making an “Album” in the conventional sense, for reasons of family, of life, and of health…. I’ve experienced in myself a resistance to the idea of making a Great Big Statement, and a longing to return to the form of the song, that little perfect crack in the fabric that lets the light in, when it’s right.
What’s really exciting for me are the strength of the co-writes that exist in this pot of songs: work with novelist Laura Barnett and playwright Mark Davies Markham, and musicians Danny Wilson (Grand Drive, Danny & The Champions of the World), David Ford, and Tom McRae, among others.
So I don’t want to make an album in the normal sense this time around; I want to build it up slowly, at my own pace, just releasing the songs one by one to you, dropping them like breadcrumbs, when they are ready. I want to give each song the time and space to resonate, to occupy its own space for a bit. I want the album to build itself slowly in your head. And then, at the end of the process, in about 2 years’ time, I hope to collate together the favourites (yours and mine) into what you might call an album. A vinyl album. We can talk about that part later. This is the first part.
I have just been asked to play a set at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Last time I was there was 2012 (see photo) — now I’m working on a trad folk album it seems like the perfect place to be playing this summer. I’ll be in the Club Tent for a 20 minute set at 1.50pm on Sunday, 5 August. For tickets and more information click here.
I’m so excited to be playing with some of my friends on this amazing bill at Ramblin’ Roots Festival in April. Come and join us!
Tickets and more info here.
On International Women’s Day, I will be taking to the small stage at the beautiful Bloomsbury Theatre in central London (very close to the British Library) with my sister-in-song Edwina Hayes (www.edwinahayes.co.uk) to sing old songs and new, laugh a lot, and possibly cry a bit too — probably with laughter, knowing Edwina. I do hope you can join us….
Tickets and more information are available here.
On Monday this week, I found myself in Bristol to sing two traditional folksongs – ‘Reynardine’ and ‘The Flower of Sweet Strabane’, and to spend time with Chris Molan and a beautiful group of folksong-loving people as part of a BBC2 documentary on Angela Carter.
The production team had caught wind of my research on Carter’s influence from singing folksongs, and so I was interviewed about my ongoing work but also sang a couple of songs for them. It was a wonderful if terrifying experience, but it’s encouraged me to get on and make that trad folk EP I’ve been cogitating on for three years, since my EFDSS bursary in 2015.
The film will be broadcast on BBC2 sometime later in the year; I’ll keep you posted on a TX date when I have it.
I’m just back from five AMAZING days in north Wales, holed up in a beautiful cottage in the Snowdonian hills courtesy of the Chester Literary Festival and Storyhouse, with five other creatives — to write, sing, eat, drink, and most importantly, laugh.
We were six: me, Kathryn Williams, David Ford, Salena Godden, Mark Davies Markham and Laura Barnett.
I did burst into tears a couple of times — once when, under the influence, I was sure Salena had moved my chi — and then, to an incredibly sad song about young love and death penned in about 15 minutes by an inspired David Ford. But the rest of it was laughter. And shouting. And rudeness. Foul mouths. Hugs. Food. Wine. Teapot cocktail concoctions. And outpourings of the most intense emotional kind as only we creative nutters can muster.
Here is how I described it to my travelling-home friend Mark Davies Markham as we lost each other at Euston Station.
“So I kept one eye out for you amongst all those rushing hoards
but I didn’t see your black cap nor your toothy grin
so I pulled my collar up and tilted my chin down
and gritted my teeth and braved it out into the
rapids of blacks and greys and leapt into a
black cab, and I now sit on another train
waiting to speed back to the fens,
where I will turn back into a frog-mummy
who secretly goes to her shed every now and again
and turns into a songwriting prince.”
I think it might make a song one day. It was that kind of time, when everything that comes out of your brain is a bit syrupy-golden because of the company you’ve been keeping.