Banff!! / Summer Tour!!

I’ve just returned from Canada, having undertaken a 5 week Songwriting Residency at the Banff Centre for Creativity and the Arts.  This was an amazing opportunity for me and I’ve had a spectacular time.  I went into the program with the goal of completing a new set of songs to record as my second album(!), and to make various new friends and connections with a view towards doing some international touring in 2018.

And I’m very pleased to say that I’ve been successful on both counts!  I’m very happy with the new material that I’ve written and am hugely excited about working with my band (AKA Jack the Drummer and Josh the Strummer) over the coming months to expand and develop the musical textures of the new songs.  Here’s a sneak preview of a new song featuring the superb talents of Toronto-based horn player Chelsea McBride:

As far as international touring goes, I’ll keep quiet for the moment but look forward to having something positive to announce in the new year  🙂

My next bout of touring will be somewhat closer to home.  This year I’ve had the huge pleasure of joining the wonderful jazz/folk artist Imogen Pemberton on cello.  You can check us out here:

We’ve gigged around Melbourne without venturing much further afield, but this December we’ll be taking the duo on the road, with myself presenting a sets of new material and old in support.  Many of these gigs will be quite intimate house concerts, so please do get in touch if you’d like tickets or further information!

Dec 2 – Phillip Island – House Concert – 7pm, $20
Dec 3 – Melbourne – Bar 303 – 7.30pm, $10 donation
Dec 6 – Canberra – The Front – 7.30pm, $10
Dec 7 – Goulburn – House Concert – 7pm, $10
Dec 8 – Katoomba – House Concert – 7pm, $10
Dec 9 – Katoomba – Hotel Blue – 6.30-8.30, Free!
Dec 10 – Sydney – Gasoline Pony – 4-6pm, Free!
Dec 12 – Newcastle – House Concert – 7pm, $10
Dec 14 – Armidale – Two Goats Cafe and Baa – 7pm
Dec 15 – Sawtell – House Concert – 7pm, $10
Dec 16 – Brisbane – House Concert – 7.30pm, $10
Dec 17 – Brisbane – Queen St Mall – 7.30pm, Free!
Dec 19 – Ballina – Old Quarter Coffee – 7.30pm

Would be wonderful to see some friendly faces along the road!

Finally, although my experience in Banff was an overwhelmingly amazing one (how could it not be with views like this:

wow!) my final week was tinged with sadness on learning that Terry Sloan, my former piano teacher, as well as mentor and good friend had passed away.  Terry was a hugely influential person in my life and that of many others with former students including Ben Bayl (conductor and former Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge), Andrew Rumsey (internationally acclaimed concert pianist), Joce Moen (singer-songwriter and chanteuse) as well as my sister Holly Downes (double bass player extraordinaire).

That so many of his students have gone on to enjoy professional careers provides some idea of not only the excellence of his teaching but also his ability to inspire those around him.  He certainly instilled in me a great sense of musical possibility, encouraging me to write my first pieces of music as a teenager and has offered his warmth, encouragement as well as constructive criticism as I’ve developed my songwriting.  He’s going to be very much missed.

Anyway, thanks for your ongoing support!  Hopefully I’ll see you at a gig in the near future!


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