The Folkgrass Lockdown Sessions: On 24th April 2020, shortly after the start of the first Covid lockdown, we decided to broadcast a few songs from the garden to our friends via Facebook. Little did we know that over 2 years later we would still be broadcasting sessions, not just to our friends, but to new found fans around the world. It started simply enough, a few songs in the garden live-streamed on Facebook, an eclectic mix of our own songs and a few covers. The neighbours came out to their gardens to listen, they too starved of live music, then we were persuaded to go public, so we created the Folkgrass Lockdown Sessions.
People have been tuning in from all over the world on a Friday night ever since, particularly when lockdown was in force, but now it's become a Friday ritual for many, some are still wary of going out to busy venues, others enjoy the social aspect, but the general consensus is that the music brings them all together. David has written lots of songs since the sessions started, some inspired by requests from viewers, others by the events effecting us all.
At the time of writing we have broadcast 112 live sessions, including Christmas Day and New Years Eve, sung 540 different songs and over 460 requests. Each week we review a drink, usually beer, but sometimes gin, whiskey, mead or vodka, occasionally tea and often several at once. Local produce gets reviewed too, particularly from Tangiers Road Butchers, who's sausages are a particular favourite of ours.
We are not sure what the future holds for the Sessions, not only are we trying to find time and resources to record our first album as a duo, but life is returning to some form of normality, venues are opening up, festivals restarting and bookings for real life gigs starting to appear again, but from the messages, comments and phone calls we have received during the last 2 years, we do know we have made a difference and as musicians you probably can't ask for a better outcome than that.
The Rural Fruitcake Collective: In 2018, we joined musicians from the Ely Waits to form The Rural Fruitcake Collective, an eclectic mix of musicians brought together for two very special service concerts in Ely Cathedral. The material ranged from renaissance music from the likes of John Dowland (1593-1626), Henry Purcell 1659-1695), John Dryden (1631-1700), Michael East (1580-1648) and Thomas Campion (1567-1620), to Gene Pitney, Elvis Presley and several songs written by David, including Toast The Harvest, which he wrote for one of their concerts. Although brought together with these services and concerts in mind, that's not where the journey ends and plans are already afoot for more of these eclectic musical interludes.
Musicals: David has been working for some time writing songs for a couple of musicals, scripted by a very old friend who shares his passion for music and the decidedly strange. While these are still in the development stages, it is a project that David very much hopes will become a public reality in the not too distant future.
Book Writing: David has also written a novel, a sci-fi comedy, although that's about as much information as he appears willing to divulge at this time...
Wood, Wire & Words: This page would not be complete without an explanation of what our main musical project has been for the last 18 years and we thought that perhaps the best way would be to share the announcement we made that the band would no longer be gigging, in August 2021. Please see below:
Dear friends and fans, it is with much sadness we have to tell you that our multi-instrumentalist and one-third of Wood, Wire And Words, Pat Francis, after much deliberation has made the very difficult decision that due to ongoing health issues and at 75 years young, it is time for him to retire from band life and gigging.
We have been a band for 18 years. We have played festivals, folk clubs, venues, pubs and many other gigs around the UK and across Europe, big and small and all have been an absolute joy to perform together as a trio. Our three albums have all been very well received, with amazing reviews and airplay on radio stations and podcasts around the world and among many different genres. It has been an amazing and incredibly rewarding journey together. This may be the end of the road for gigs, but our albums and merchandise will remain available on all platforms.
This is obviously a very sad time for us as a band and we will miss performing on stage together so very much. We have always been more than just a band, we are family.
When we first played together something just clicked, it worked so well it was easy to make music we enjoyed. We simply enjoyed playing music together and the sound we produced grew rapidly into something we could call our own. That love of playing music together has never faltered, it is still just as much fun as it was 18 years ago when we started this journey, perhaps even more so. We have pushed each other to be better musicians than we would otherwise have been, to stretch ourselves and create fresh, new music.
Wood, Wire And Words have a particular sound as a trio and after much soul-searching and discussion, David and Clare have come to the decision that to carry on Wood, Wire And Words as a duo would simply not be right for everybody concerned. Pat gives the band that particular sound with his instrumental wizardry, as much as David and Clare's vocals and harmonies, David's particular guitar rhythm and Clare's rock solid, driving double bass. They all blend together to produce one, unique, beautiful sound. Two thirds of that sound, however good it might be, would simply not be Wood, Wire And Words.
After 18 years in one band, starting afresh can feel a rather daunting prospect, but David and Clare have been performing as a duo during the pandemic every Friday night for 16 months, broadcasting their Folkgrass Lockdown Sessions on Facebook and they will make an announcement shortly as to what their plans are beyond Wood, Wire And Words. As a band, we hope you will show them as much support as you have shown us as a trio, in whatever endeavours and musical direction they decide to embark on.
In closing, we would like to take this opportunity to say to all of our supporters and fans, all of the organisers of festivals, gigs, folk clubs, sessions and venues, all of the DJs and radio stations that play us, everyone who has ever bought a CD, download, t-shirt or hoodie, every musician we have ever had the pleasure to perform with, record with, or share a picking session with, every single person that spoke to us after a show to tell us just how much you enjoyed our music, thank you for all of your support and belief in us and our music, for so many years, we are incredibly grateful to each and every one of you.
Best Wishes to you all.
David, Clare and Pat.