Well chaps and chapesses, here we are at the start of a brand new year, and we thought it’d be fitting to look back and see exactly how we got here. *WARNING* This is likely to be a rather long post, so go and grab a cuppa tea, a cider, or whatever your poison, and get comfy. Ready? Good.
It’s fair to say that 2015 was a huge year of growth for us as a band. As we started the year off, we had only just discovered Dave and he was yet to play a gig with us! Free For All Festival was the perfect kick off – held at the Stag & Hounds in Bristol and overflowing with amazing local bands and a great atmosphere, it was just right to introduce Dave to how we do things Leylines-style (safe to say, he definitely got into the swing of it!)
This month we spent mostly rehearsing and bringing everything together ahead of the summer. We knew we had a busy time ahead of us, not least writing and recording our song ‘Sat In A Field’, which we recorded at Modern World Studios, with Tony Hobden, Tarrant Shepherd and the guys from Weston College. It was a long evening, but we had a blast there, Tony and the guys were fantastic and the organisers of the Sat In A Field Festival came by to hear the song for the first time, which segues neatly into…
… Our video shoot for ‘Sat In A Field’. You’re all probably familiar with this song and the accompanying video by now, but just in case, have a look HERE!
Joining forces once again with Tony Hobden, who filmed and edited the video (a director’s cut of which can be found HERE), along with some great shots from his son, Arlie, we went up on the Roman Road in the Mendips to film with what has to be one of the most breath-taking backdrops we’ve ever seen.
N.B. Although it looks nice, warm and sunny, it was still March and flippin’ ‘eck it was COLD!
Another couple of firsts for us (there were quite a few in 2015!): Our first trip over the bridge to Wales and Cardiff to play at the quirky and charming bar GwdiHw AND our first gig joining Ferocious Dog at Exeter Phoenix. It’s hard to believe this was so long ago. We can remember the whole thing like it was yesterday! It was the very first time we’d encountered FD’s die-hard fans, affectionately called ‘Hell Hounds’, and were the biggest crowd we’d played to so far. We’re not exaggerating when we say that we made a lot of friends at that gig who have stayed with us throughout the year and spurred us on to what we’re doing this year. This gig was the start of all that and we’re massively grateful to Ken, Dan, Ellis, John, Les and Scott for having us along for the journey – it was a pretty big year for them as well (See: Ferocious Dog, Rock City Nottingham, making history!)
May was really where we kicked off the festival season at Kingsbury Episcopi’s May Festival. The one-day festival had a fantastic grass-roots and community feel, with a willow stage and plenty of great music to get the crowd going. We were over the moon to be asked back again this year to play at the pre-festival warm up in the village in April, and we can’t wait to see some familiar faces again!
We also had a (mostly) memorable gig with Mad Dog Mcrea in our home town of Weston-super-Mare – some of us can remember the whole sweaty, energetic gig, some of us might have been out with them until sunrise…we’ll let you guess which of us these apply to!
2015 was our first gig as a full band at Bearded Theory, where we had a set on the Woodland Stage, a great venue placed in (as the name suggests) a woodland glade on the festival site. It was backstage at this festival that we once again ran into Alan Ewart (creator of Sound Of Summer blog – definitely worth a read!) and had a good old chin-wag and general catch up with him. He then wrote some very kind words about our set, which you can read HERE
June / July
Pairing these together as these were fairly quiet months for us. June brought us the pleasure of playing at the Jinney Ring Festival – a great local festival held in the grounds of the Jinney Ring Centre, Worcestershire – The weather was fine, the beer was flowing, we seem to remember a certain organiser of Bostin’ Days (more on that later) swinging around a pole during one of the sets. All in all a fantastic weekend hosting by The Roving Crows! In July, we returned for the second time that year to Bar Brunel. We have always had a bit of a soft spot for this venue in Bridgwater. They have always been fantastic supporters of local musicians. Their Sunday evening live music sessions have amassed quite a following since they started and we always look forward to playing there.
If the last months had been a little slow-paced, August definitely made up for it. We had slots at the inaugural Livestock Festival, Lakefest, Farmer Phil’s Festival, our headline set at Sat In A Field Festival and rounded up with a last-minute appearance on the main stage at Watchet Music Festival with one of the most enthusiastic crowds we’d encountered over the summer. Let’s just say, there’s nothing that quite prepares you for people singing your own songs back at you!
The festival season certainly wasn’t over this month. We had a headline slot at Folkfest in Burnham-on-Sea, a great local (to us) free festival with stages scattered around the centre and a great turn out! Next followed the Heddon Valley Beer & Music Festival in Exmoor. It was great to meet so many new faces, some of which gave a much-needed helping hand when we had engine trouble in the car park (Hannah). Unfortunately, the rest of us weren’t so lucky – a series of events including a puncture, broken tools and running on fuel vapours/crossed fingers on the M5 resulting in some of us only just getting home at 8am the next morning!
Officially closing the festival season for us was Something Else In The Dean Festival, which seems to be an end-of-season party for everyone doing the festival circuit and it was where we ended up bumping into friends who were just new faces a matter of months ago. We’d played SEIND last year and we were over the moon when Gail and the gang asked us back for this one, which had sold out in a matter of days.
This can really only be described as the month we went ‘oop North’ (yes, we are from the Westcountry, so most places are North to us!). We had the good fortune to be offered a slot at The Greystones in Sheffield at fairly short notice, and blimey we’re so glad we took the gig! The line up included: The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican, Black Thorn and Brian Stone. We’d previously crossed paths with BS/VD at festivals during the year so practically bit Andrea’s (the promoter) hand off! Please check out everyone’s music – they’re all fantastic musicians! Anyway, there was a LOT of singing, dancing, swearing, jump-ararnd-ing and, naturally, sweating involved – the adrenaline saw us through the long journey back home – it really was one of the highlights of our year…
Until Bostin’ Days Live.
The only thing we can really say about that weekend in Nuneaton is: EPIC! We’d played downstairs at the Crew Bar the night before the main event with The Sweetchunks Band. These guys are hilarious as well as being great musicians and good chaps. The bar was packed and, well, let’s just say it was SO much fun, we were a little the worse for wear the next day. We might have needed a power nap in the afternoon before we were on the stage in the Queens Hall in the evening! We were (and still are) honoured to have been part of this incredible project, from it’s beginnings in October 2014 and becoming part of a massive family. Our thanks go out to Addie Burns, Steve Bentley and everyone involved for making it happen. Seriously awesome!
By the way, you can still buy the 2 CD album by visiting http://www.bostindays.co.uk/
November / December
We’re going to round up the year by putting these two months together, partly because this has become quite a long post, and because we’re fairly sure your tea’s probably cold by now (or you’ve finished your tipple and need a top up).
We had a surprise birthday party to play at in November. Normally, we wouldn’t disclose the details of a private ‘do, BUT this deserves an exception as it was for one of our favourite people. Clair and her husband Darren have been with us virtually from the start, travelling to our gigs, buying our stuff, making their own Leylines T shirts and generally being awesome human beings. When Darren approached us to play at her surprise birthday party, how could we say no?!
We returned to Weston in December to host our early Christmas party at The Imperial. It was fantastic to see so many old (and new) friends and family all gathered in the same place after rarely playing in Weston over the year. It was particularly great to see friends from much further afield travel across the country to see us! Having previously mentioned that we hadn’t played much in Weston…we were back again a couple of weeks later, celebrating The New Market’s 1st anniversary under the management of Jim and Jo Worley!
There is of course one massive thing we’ve missed off our review – THE NEW ALBUM!
We’ve been wanting to make an album for some time, and we finally managed to organise ourselves into actually doing something about it. This was in part set in stone when we did a live session at Glastonbury FM, and we (Steve) said that we would have new material released ahead of the festival season in 2016. SO, with that in mind, we set up and launched our crowdfunding campaign at the end of November. The response so far has been staggering – you guys have helped us reach around 95% of our target with around 6 weeks still to go before we hit the studio! If you haven’t done so already, please PLEASE visit http://supporttheleylines.co.uk/ and have a look at what we have planned. It really is VERY exciting!
Aaaand that’s it for 2015! Thanks for reading all the way down, knew you had it in ya!
See you out there in 2016 – have a look at our gig list, come to a gig, tell yer mates about us, chat to us online. You know the score!