Dave Whitford plays double bass in 'A Thousand Kisses Deep', the Leonard Cohen project fronted by singer Christine Tobin. The group are in the middle of an extensive tour organised in conjunction with the Rural Touring Support Scheme that Jazz Services runs with the National Rural Touring Forum, and he's been kind enough to give us an insight into the tour so far...
A snapshot of the "A Thousand Kisses Deep" rural tour so far...
We've been very lucky to work with and receive a lot of help and support from Jazz Services in the past but this is our first time to work with the National Rural Touring Forum. This tour is a result of the NRTF/Jazz Services scheme. Both organisations do great work supporting live music and the arts. For more information about the touring scheme and to find out more about these organisations, please visit: www.jazzservices.org.uk and www.nrtf.org.uk
We're just about half way through our NRTF/Jazz Services tour now. It’s our first experience of rural touring and the 16 gigs we’ve done so far have taken us to Devon, Somerset, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, County Durham, Cumbria, Northumberland and Dorset.
It's been a great experience and we've found the audiences very warm and receptive. The local promoters have been extremely friendly, helpful and accommodating. They've provided us with plenty of good home cooked food along the way too. We've also been enjoying seeing parts of the country that none of us have visited before.
Christine made some new friends in Somerset...
Photo: Dave Whitford
I think the thing that has struck us the most is the sense of community and the open mindedness towards live music. We've had people specifically coming to see our show because of the program we're performing, but there was also a sense of people coming to see the show simply because it was happening on their doorstep. Our shared musical background traditionally sees us playing mainly in clubs or theatres in large towns and cities, so its been a very different, but thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable experience playing in small towns and villages, sometimes where the population is only a hundred or so people.
I'd recommend Rural Touring to anyone as it's an informal and highly sociable way of bringing your music to people who wouldn't normally get to hear it. There's something wonderful about playing in a small and intimate space, almost like playing in a friend's living room. We've felt very welcome in the communities we've visited so far and are really looking forward to hitting the road again in 2014.
"Doing the Rural Touring circuit has taught me that community spirit is alive and well and thriving up and down the country. I've witnessed first hand that people are hungry for live music. These intimate performances provide the perfect catalyst for uniting people and reinforcing bonds. " - Christine Tobin