I just wanted to wish you all a very happy Christmas, calm, peaceful, loving. whether you are on your own or covered in people, or somewhere in between, just listen to as much music as you can, and know that music is one way we are always together. I will be doing that. Having a jazz period, so I’m going to be listening to a whole load of John Coltrane. Love and swing to you, Pol xx
I have had my first academic article published, by those kind people at English: The Journal of the English Association.
The title of the essay is ‘”Me and Not-Me”: folk songs, narrative perspectives, and the gender imaginary in Angela Carter’s Shadow Dance‘, and in it I suggest that Carter observed ways in which folk singers don’t care if the persona of the song they are singing matches their gender, and how she learned a gender blindness from her participation in the folk movement which she came to express in her debut novel Shadow Dance.
If you’re interested, you can read more here.
I’m playing virtually for the Cambridge Folk Club tonight. Come join the Zoom party!
If you missed the London Library show, it’s available to watch again here:
My great friend Annie Dressner and I are doing an 8 day UK tour 22-29 February. Many tickets have already gone… so please buy them while you can and come say hello to us! All ticket links below…
22 FEBRUARY/ NEWCASTLE/ Cluny 2
23 FEBRUARY/ DURHAM / Old Cinema Launderette
24 FEBRUARY/ MANCHESTER / The Castle Hotel
25 FEBRUARY/ BIRMINGHAM / Kitchen Garden Cafe
26 FEBRUARY/ LONDON / Green Note
27 FEBRUARY/ SHEFFIELD / Cafe 9
28 FEBRUARY/ BRISTOL / Folk House
29 FEBRUARY/ WINCHESTER / Railway Inn
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’: become a Patron:
For $5 a month, you get all the songs from the project so far, and a new song emailed to you on the first of every month until December 2020. As a Patron you also gain access to an exclusive weekly video diary, posted each Friday lunchtime, AND a monthly gig streamed live from my shed! Woah!
Sign up at patreon.com/pollypaulusma.
What is ‘Pivot’ all about?
- I send you a new song on the first of every month. I send it to you in form of a unique Bandcamp code which you can then download.
- You can choose from a selection of formats, from WAV (if disk space is no issue) to MP3 (if you need something a little smaller).
- ‘Pivot’ is my latest and fourth album, which I’ve been releasing a song a month across two years (24 songs in all) since January 2019.
- ‘Pivot’ is short for ‘The Pivot Round Which The World Turns’.
- 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.
- I started in January 2019 but it’s not too late to join the club: I just catch you up.
- These songs will not be made public until 2021. They are not on Youtube or Spotify or any of the streaming services.
- I hope to release the album physically in 2021 on double CD and double LP, after which it will also be available on streaming services.
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.