I'm behind on this post mortem - what with a holiday to Scotland and me finishing university - but this is one that I really want to talk about purely because I did something I'd not done before.

Thank Friday Its Folk is a folkesque night that's organised by my friend Dom Rout. It's donation based entry, with some money going to the acts and the rest to charity so all in all a good idea. We had Steve and the Sea playing a bunch of self penned songs that made great use of a delay pedal1, one of my favourite Sheffield based singer/songwriters Alexander Isembard and The Hobo Conspiracy (who don't have a website but you should go check them out).

I've been toying with the idea of expanding my style of play and performance for a long time, and when I mentioned I might do an instrumental set Dom said that it'd be a great idea.

That's actually pretty weird for me, since I always bill myself as a singer2 but I noticed a few months back that I was falling into a rut again - with so many of the same style gigs in pubs over and over again I'd got used to just doing the same 5/6 songs and not doing much else with myself. I needed an challenge of some description and I decided to limit my material to either a cappella songs or just instrumentals.

It went...okay?

I played out a bunch of really good tunes and all of them were really well received - I've been dying to play William and Nancy for ages - but it didn't feel exactly right to me. I got a bunch of people saying loads of great things about my set but friends who've come to a bunch of my gigs said what I was feeling: "It was good but it would've been better if you'd sang".

I'm glad I did it though - I really do believe that you should always challenege yourself and move out of your comfort zone every few months and playing an instrumental set does that to a large degree for me. I'm always going to be a singer that plays guitar. But since I have a whole bunch of tunes that I write and play, it'd be criminal to not let me play them out every so often.

Next on the list is to do a full a cappella evening - which I think will be a lot more challenging. I've got a collection of a cappella tunes but the main reason I learned them was to sing at chorus sessions so all the work I have is based around the audience singing back to me.

  1. Is that what they're called? I've never used one. ↩︎

  2. It stems back from a few years ago when I was just starting - I didn't really play guitar much apart from the fact that I tinkered. I certainly feel that I throw more of myself into a song more than I do an instrumental. ↩︎