At a personal level, it has been a challenging year with unexpected downsides which show that the old adage about ‘fail to plan; plan to fail’ is only true but in the context of the environment you are operating in.
Simply put, there are external factors which - no matter what you do - you have no control over. As I often say to my children - you can ‘control the controllable’ and drive out success - but despite this (being polite) “stuff happens”.
But I am not complaining.
Far from it.
If you have a supportive family and/or friends, as well as the ability to rise above and ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ - it’s amazing what can be achieved - albeit hard work and ‘making your own luck’ must always underpin the foundation of any such achievements.
THE CONSTANT FRIEND
Turning to music - music has been a constant in my life and remains a true friend whilst battling against the every day slings and arrows of day-to-day life. Music is a constant itch I am delighted to want to scratch - and one itch I had for years was to revamp my first ever album, Behind The Orchard Tree. I always felt the songs were strong - especially lyrically, actually - but that, in 2001, I neither had the talent nor the budget to do them the justice they deserved - but I had the song-writing skills and vision then...and it was from that album that I founded Touchstone, I am proud to say.
I have since learned a lot in terms of production over those eighteen years...and I still enjoy trying out new recording and production tasks, let alone writing new music.
Because we had booked Outhouse Studios for a Cairo single in February 2019, which could not happen for various reasons, I extended the booking and uploaded what I had done over Xmas 2018 period having recorded all parts - except electric guitars and final vocals - in my own studio. The result, Back Behind The Orchard Tree (BBTOT) was released digitally in April 2019 and on CD in October 2019 and can be found here together with loads of information on our website, where you can also see the reviews which have been very flattering, to say the least (for which, thanks, all).
The album is dedicated to my wife, Deborah, who specifically had to put up with me being in my studio last Christmas, and, more generally, has to put up with me anyway (!). I am a lucky man as musos are not the easiest to live with...and she is my ‘wonder woman’.
Turning to the band, we said goodbye and thank you to Lisa in May who had been with us since the band launch in October 2016, and who is now enjoying life with her new offspring, and we wish her, Al and Oscar nothing but the very best that life can bring.
After a fairly lengthy and arduous audition process, despite that (!) I was delighted that Sarah Bayley joined the band in August bringing with her not just a great voice and fantastic team spirit, but also her rock credentials and superb experience in the music industry.
THE SCARAB GOES DUTCH
Having booked a gig via Mr Bowler & Serious Music at Parkvilla Theatre in Alphen aan den Rijn, Holland in October, we enjoyed performing a substantial show of just under two hours which included songs from my new BBTOT album; some vintage Touchstone material; the bulk of our Say album plus three brand new Cairo songs, which will feature on our next studio album.
It was - for all of us - a real highlight in 2019, and we cannot thank our Dutch friends enough for such a warm welcome and rapturous reception.
LIVE ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY IN JANUARY
This Dutch gig was recorded and we will be releasing our first ever live album at our first 2020 gig on 24th January at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes where there will be a real party vibe as this gig will be the first opportunity to buy not just our shiny new live album but also BBTOT at a UK gig; brand new merch and of course see our new singer, Sarah, for her first UK gig - plus our guests are the superb The Paradox Twin. Tickets can be bought here and we would love to see you all!
NEW SINGLE SOON
We will be releasing soon in January a brand new video single recorded live by Holland’s Background Magazine.
2020 Vision Tour
We will also soon be announcing our “Cairo 2020 Vision Tour” for later in the year which will cover UK and EU - so do watch out via our website cairorocks.com and our Cairo Music Facebook page.
In summary, the afterburners have been re-lit and Cairo is back with a vengeance!
Thank you to all you ‘Cairo Practors’ for your wonderful patience and continued steadfast support.
As we move into a new decade, on behalf of Sarah, Paul, James and Graham - we wish you all superb health; much cheer and good fortune - and hope to see you at the front in 2020.
May the scarab be with you!
Happy New Decade!!