Ju Blencowe http://jublencowe.com Fri, 15 Nov 2019 02:30:56 +0000 jublencowe@gmail.com <![CDATA[Don’t judge the story by the chapter you walked in on]]> Don’t judge my story by the chapter you walked in on. 

It’s coming up to Mothers Day and to the anniversary of my own Mums passing. With hand on heart I can say that I would walk those nine years of caring with her again in a heartbeat but equally I am thankful that the cruelty and distress in relation to dementia is no longer her nightmare. Life has certainly taken some twists and turns over recent years but I shall always covet the precious and unique years spent with just Mum and I, rolling along together after my lovely Dad died nearly thirty years ago. The laughter is a wonderful memory, the adventures a cherished gift.

I never dreamt that I should marry at 52 and that my beautiful wife and best friend would walk beside us in those last months, carrying us both, we are strong and defiant in the face of adversity. I have learned so much about life and value and worth and personal narrative and I look forward in the future to sharing some of those aspects through my music, songwriting, painting and story telling.

 Experiencing mental health crisis has been a humbling and levelling journey and one I am grateful to have walked through and survived well in, not least because before my own crisis I was a professional practitioner in the field of adult vulnerability.I am mindful of those who are still living that truth today, we are all at different stages of the journey. It sometimes appears easy for others who don’t know you to make a judgement based on those words, “mental ill health”….as people we can kid ourselves that we are indestructible, that it will never happen to us, but depression does not discriminate, we all walk the fine line wether aware of it or not. Perhaps we can dare to believe that the stigma has gone but the reality, although often covered with a veneer of concern, is still occasionally borne out of snap judgement or reactive fear rather than personal engagement and dialogue. It may be trendy to talk about mental health but the realities of reengaging after mental ill health is a bigger wall to scale with dubious graffiti that offers just enough to warrant a twitter endorsement but not sufficient to wear the colours as a true advocate. 

It is worth remembering that we are all fragile at times, fragility isn’t failure it’s human and inevitable. It takes just as much energy to reach out a hand as it does to pull your hand away but the outcome is far more humane and kind and endorsing, it’s what we exist for.

 Not all that long ago I was standing in a lecture theatre on a daily basis (after 20 years of being a practitioner )teaching students at all levels from undergrad to post qualifying on theories of discrimination and disability and the applied law that was relevant to practice with people who were experiencing mental ill health. My own life was spent juggling caring, supporting students, safeguarding vulnerable people, writing, studying, thriving. It was a rich life, a life that I valued and a life that I gave my best to. I lived comfortably in a country cottage with roses round the door and rescued animals all around, the idyll. Then I moved back to my childhood home to care for my mum and ten years later I found myself with an empty tank on the streets of London.

 Those lovely people who were there in the wings to support my recovery spoke of it then as emotional exhaustion, burn out. When we need to be, we are strong and resilient and fierce advocates for those we love and as a carer for nine years that was 24 hours a day, fighting bureaucracy, taking steps to address injustices, winning battles , slowly watching my beautiful mum ebb away, crying for me in the night, crying for me in the day, needing help with all things we take for granted that keep our dignity and our wellbeing intact, feeding, clothing, moving, lifting, holding, reassuring, protecting, keeping promises. When my nine year shift was over, after a year of being entirely focussed upon those needs, the air that I breathed ran out and my world crumbled in trying to make that adjustment, my Mum had gone, my job had ended and I was unable to even tie my own shoe laces. 

As someone who is now well and self aware and resilient and thankful, I look forward in the coming months to elaborating on that journey, the journey that so many of us take and yet so few of us truly own. We are survivors, we deserve to be kind to ourselves. 

We have learned what is valuable and what is dispensable, during a recent trip to London we had to borrow money for a new jacket and the garage that had our broken down vehicle in it let us have it back before paying, that isn’t a self piteous statement because we have so very much more than many, it is merely a recognition that times change, we adapt, we move forward, we come through, we survive.

For a tiny fraction of my life last year  I was a missing person, but you cannot be a missing person unless somebody misses you. Going missing does not define you, it is a moment in time. I now know that I disappeared inside my mind far sooner than when I took that final step to leave. Leaving was the culmination of lostness, the symbolic act that finally made sense, the only thing that made sense, it was beyond a crisis, the chaos had been and reeked havoc and left the after shock, it was in the aftershock that a strange sense of calm ensued, after months of inertia, a moment of clarity, the missing moment when the subconscious met the conscious mind and acted upon it, when the fight met the flight and the wings spread, when the edge was as clear as day and the precipice was the void of not knowing, not caring, not being anymore. I left with the clothes on my back and a few photos of my parents and wife.

 It’s ten months since I returned home and only one month after returning I walked back to London from our home, 183 miles, for Missing People charity. It was a personal pilgrimage a time to find my voice again and a new beginning, acknowledging that others are still missing and thanking those who had helped me to return. I look forward in the future to sharing more, to singing more and to writing more, hold on, we’re in this together, with love, Ju x


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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/3324 Fri, 02 Mar 2018 13:21:13 +0000
<![CDATA[For my Mum]]> https://vimeo.com/207138368

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/3071 Wed, 07 Jun 2017 10:06:55 +0100
<![CDATA[Stafford Gatehouse Theatre]]> What an absolute gift to play this beautiful Steinway Grand Piano at Stafford's Gatehouse Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday evening. The children taking part sang their hearts out and it moved me to tears to be honest.Stephen Glover the organiser of Schools Gotta Sing produces such a lovely concert, a real community event. Thank you for letting me be a tiny part of it and sending love to everyone who took part x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/2954 Sat, 04 Mar 2017 08:00:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Ju's update]]> Well, it's been a while, I took precious time out to care for my dear mum who sadly died in March, she would be thrilled to know that I am now playing and writing again and thank you so much to the 32,000 plus people who have taken the time to check out this website and to encourage me in the creative process. I have taken time out from my profession of social work and am looking forward to writing the new acoustic album and to getting out and sharing that too! Working as a casual technician at the local theatre is a lovely way of keeping in touch with performance and live shows and nice to be on the other side of the curtain too.

Had a lovely gig last night at the local Springslade Lodge and again tonight. A warm, welcoming group of people, a pleasure to be there and if you are reading this, thank you! 

Wishing you all a peaceful and restful Christmas time and I look forward to meeting up with you in 2017 

Ju

X

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/2827 Sat, 17 Dec 2016 08:31:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Stafford Gatehouse Theatre - Guest spot]]>  So lovely to have been invited as a guest singer at Celebration of Music event Stafford Gatehouse 29th Feb, 2nd, 3rd, 4th March where school choirs shall be performing to anticipated full houses. A theatre filled with singing children and the opportunity to perform with a grand piano, how special is that? I shall be singing 'Kindness of Strangers' the song written for mum and a line in the song goes; "listen, put your ears to the ground and listen you can hear the sound of a thousand children singing in the street"...indeed xxx

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1568 Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:45:18 +0000
<![CDATA[Open Mic UK National Final Live Text Voting]]>  Hi, I wonder if I could ask a favour of my Facebook friends please? Some of you may know that I have been fortunate to make the Open Mic UK Final at the NEC next Saturday. The national text voting has gone live today. If you enjoy my music could I ask you to text OPEN67 to the number 84222 and to share with your friends and family to do the same? It's been a really good experience for me doing this, boosting confidence and getting me writing again, playing to such a big audience has been lovely, would love to do more of it and your vote is much appreciated. Thanks so much, Ju xxxx

 
The Open Mic UK Grand Final will be held on Saturday 23rd January 2016 at The NEC, Birmingham.
The winner of the Grand Final will be crowned as the Open Mic UK 2015 Champion in front of a huge crowd and a music industry judging line up including A&R representatives from major record labels, some of which have the capacity to change professional music careers forever.
 
Voting is now live, so the public can check out all the acts and vote on who they believe should win Open Mic UK 2015.
 
On Monday 18th January, the list below will be updated with a leaderboard of the top placed acts. The leaderboard will be updated on Wednesday 20th January and Friday 22nd January.
 
In order to win Open Mic UK you must be in the top 3 judges’ scores in your age category. Those acts not in the highest judges’ scores will be eliminated before counting the texts votes.
 
For those acts in the judges’ top 3, their scores will be ranked and added to the text voting, which will also be ranked. The acts with the combined highest ranking from audience and judges votes will be winners. The winner, runner-up and third position will be announced on the day for each age category, and the overall winner of Open Mic UK 2015 will be announced by Tuesday 26th January 2016.
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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1567 Sun, 17 Jan 2016 11:54:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Open Mic Uk ]]> Thrilled to have made it through to the Open Mic UK National Final, it has been a really good, encourageing  experience  and I have met some lovely people. After years of playing against a backdrop of raffle prizes and rugby club balls (don't get me wrong, it's all got it's value) but to play to a listening audience has been such a gift with the opportunity to hone my craft of songwriting and performing having written two songs especially for the competition. There is so much to learn about and amidst it all I know one thing for certain, the only time I feel whole and complete is on that stage and my hope now is that it can continue. It's a serious job to be entrusted with an audience who take the time to listen and with alot of hard work and the guidance of people who know their profession, I want to get better. 

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1566 Tue, 17 Nov 2015 22:42:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Wishing you all a peaceful, healthy and safe 2015 ]]> Wishing you all a Happy New Year and thanking everyone for your support with the music, all twenty three thousand of you!! Watch this space for new acoustic album in 2015. Stay safe, Ju x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1565 Thu, 01 Jan 2015 18:07:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Celebrating 12,000 hits !]]>  Can't quite believe that there have been over 12,000 hits on the website, thanks so much for showing such an interest in the music, hoping to begin work on acoustic album soon and to get out and play some tunes. Saw the amazing Feast of Fiddles at Lichfield Cathedral last night and the ever lovely Tom Leary who worked his magic on The Hill. Heard the most beautiful song not yet recorded by Peter knight, "from a lullaby kiss"………beautiful! Sometimes you can feel as if you belong to a big folk family,not on the parameter fence but included and valued, Feast of Fiddles have that gift of inclusivity despite their collective and individual expertise and profile. Keep on keeping on and I'll catch you soon, Ju x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1564 Fri, 12 Apr 2013 12:32:05 +0100
<![CDATA[Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas]]> Hi, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and encouragement over the last year.There have been 9500 hits on the website and nearly 3000 hits on you tube. The album 'The Hill' will be released in the new year, the cover has been designed by a great graphics guy http://www.martdesign.net/ with images by www.jayne360photography.com/  and the print run is ready to go in Manchester, thanks to Will and Kev at www.pure-music.co.uk/ . Sadly the mastering process in London has been less than reliable and has pushed the release date back but it will give us something to aim for for the new year and if things had gone too well we may have rested on our laurels too much! I hope to find some time in the new year to write some new material and to hopefully begin the process of recording a stripped back acoustic album, that's my dream anyway, we'll have to see how it goes and I'll have to save my pennies! I can't quite believe that from meeting up with friends after a twenty year gap, we found a village hall and spent our spare hours in the winter , travelling,recording (and freezing!!!) in the old fashioned way (no computers) and the following ten months finding time here and there to bundle into my house and mix it. It has been such a lovely experience, exhausting at times trying to fit in with work and life stuff, feed everybody and keep the momentum going but nevertheless and great experience. There is something quite magical about being able to take the bones of a song and see it grow into a stand alone piece of work, the tender attention to detail being offered by Bob Bowman and Paul Smith; Producer/ Engineer and ovcourse to my lovely friends who have shared their love of music and their time and gifts. Here's wishing you a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a safe and hopeful 2013, much love, Ju x

 

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1563 Sun, 16 Dec 2012 12:29:51 +0000
<![CDATA[The beautiful pottery of Al Higgins]]> Al is a beautifully gifted potter who uses a wood-fired kiln, using salvaged timber. I had the pleasure of drinking from one of his goblets at he and Kate's wedding where I was invited to sing a Woody Guthrie classic. Thanks to Kate and Al, I picked up the guitar again after 20 years, blew off the dust and fell in love all over again! Check out Al's work, it's special x http://flic.kr/p/d2H9fy

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1562 Thu, 27 Sep 2012 00:28:50 +0100
<![CDATA[Tom Leary]]> Thrilled to have the wonderful fiddle playerTom Leary guesting on two tracks of the new album, thanks Tom. It's all done bar the final mixing, cover design and printing, definately long haul but a journey worth making. Written the first track of the next one, better slow down abit!!!!!!!! The final title is 'The Hill', it's been a climb but I can see my house from here :D

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1561 Sun, 16 Sep 2012 15:45:00 +0100
<![CDATA[7,000 hits on website!]]> Celebrating 7,000 hits on the website this weekend, humbling indeed, thank you so much for your encouragement x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1560 Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:17:02 +0100
<![CDATA[Cropredy Festival]]> Just back from a wonderful weekend at Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival celebrating 45 years of musical genius. There are so many humble, gifted musicians, spending their lives travelling, playing, writing, sharing stories, just hanging out with some of those people is an inspiration in itself.........some new songs on the way I think!

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1559 Mon, 13 Aug 2012 13:18:05 +0100
<![CDATA[Weekend Update]]> What an amazing weekend of non-stop music? Five hours of rehearsals, followed by an outdoor gig on Saturday and today, after 8 hours recording we have finished the album and are ready to mix and master. Check out some of the new gallery pics taken by the very talented Jayne Williams over the weekend. It has been such a lovely experience to be playing alongside Planet Ruth, Bob Bowman and Mick Sewell and to be engineered by Paul 'Smithy' Smith.

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1558 Mon, 30 Jul 2012 00:50:27 +0100
<![CDATA[ Wellington Drive Festival Cannock WS11 1PU Saturday 28th July ]]> Chuffed to be playing Main Stage at this new festival at Longford Park to celebrate all genres of music. I shall be joined by my lovely friends and we're on approx 8.30pm. Will let you know how it goes if you can't make it :)

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1557 Wed, 25 Jul 2012 10:11:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Stafford Castle Gig]]> What a lovely audience last night at Stafford Castle Live @ the Castle event to mark the end of Stafford Festival. The acoustic marquee was great and both Mark Lewis and Jamie Wheeler did a great job on the sound inspite of my new fangled VoiceLive Touch loop gadget! So many encouraging comments and new friends wanting to link up on the website. A joy to play some songs from the forthcoming album and some classics from Nanci Griffiths, hope I did them justice. Thanks to Adam for the mention on Radio Stoke and expecially to those new people who took the time to say hello afterwards, thank you, hope to see you at future gigs.Take care until then, Ju x

 

 

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1556 Mon, 16 Jul 2012 08:46:00 +0100
<![CDATA[The 'Grace' Album 2012]]> Well, we're nearly done! 7 songs mixed and in the bag and 5 more on the way, thrilled to hear the finished songs being played during the interval of Martyn Joseph's gig at Nettlebed on Monday night, thanks Paul Smith ! Gigs beginning to filter through and looking forward to writing some more. This has been such a special project surrounded by gifted musicians who I am lucky to call friends thanks to Paul Smith, Bob Bowman, Planet Ruth, CJLodge, Martin Thompson and Mick Sewell for breathing life into my songs and making them ours, love ya xxx

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1555 Thu, 14 Jun 2012 13:16:32 +0100
<![CDATA[The Swan Hotel Stafford]]> What a lovely evening? It was really special to play alongside Bob Bowman and Mick Sewell, not only fabulous musicians but also great characters. Friends had travelled from all over, Luton, Manchester, Derby, Clevedon, Birmingham. Being able to play the album made it real, it dawned on me half way through the set how hard we had worked through the winter months to get it done. Now I just want to get out there and play it. Last night's gig as part of Stafford Music Festival was a really nice event, the 'heated' courtyard with lovely little stage provided a nice backdrop right in the centre of town. Thanks to you for turning out and for the positive feedback on the new songs, look forward to the next time, Ju x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1554 Sun, 20 May 2012 08:15:42 +0100
<![CDATA[Wishing you all a special Christmas]]> Hi, today we are celebrating over sixteen thousand hits on the website. Thank you to those who have supported me this year, I look forward to sharing some new songs with you in 2014. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this festive season, go well and take care of each other, Ju xx

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1553 Mon, 16 Dec 2013 18:45:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Stafford Market Square Saturday 5th May 2012]]> Thanks so much to people who turned out on a cold, windy day to listen to material from the new album; Circles being played for the first time by Bob Bowman and myself. Your comments and encouragement meant so much and I hope new friends will come along to The Swan Hotel on 19th May at 7pm to have a closer listen. A rather surreal experience playing in the market square for an hour, what better way to spend the weekend? Thanks again and hope to see you all soon, Ju xx

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1552 Sat, 05 May 2012 17:12:40 +0100
<![CDATA[Update on Album]]> Well, fourth weekend into recording the new album and things are ticking along nicely, 11 tracks, piano, guitar, percussion and cello down, this weekend bass, fiddle and melodian, with vocals on their way. This project has been such a lovely time spent with friends who love their craft and enjoy sharing it, couldn't ask for more than that could I ?

 

 

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1551 Thu, 26 Jan 2012 08:18:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Recording Started !]]> So, despite the inevitable winter bugs we still managed to begin recording on time and had a wonderfully creative weekend. The lovely Paul Smith producer and MD Bob Bowman. We put down the bones of 11 tracks and Bob began to breath life into them with a fine array of cherished guitars, we even dug out my old Futurama 2 and Selmar amp, blew away the cobwebbs and Bob plans to bring it to life again to play on the album. Looking forward now to being joined by more friends over the next five weeks to weave their magic with fiddle, cello, bass and percussion. It's so good to be back x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1550 Mon, 09 Jan 2012 13:25:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Namatala Slum Uganda Sound Track]]> So moved to have had my song Grace used on the new film of Namatala Slum, Uganda. One day I hope to visit the school that Child of Hope have built and to sing it with the children. Today, just humbled x

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jRUQwS_oivY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1549 Thu, 27 Oct 2011 09:45:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Rose and Crown Gig]]> What a lovely gig this afternoon, a warm, friendly, listening audience. Bob Bowman, Mick Sewell and myself played through the album and  a few covers. It just felt right today, self sufficient with our own PA (thanks to Nige). A great moment when the host asked us to stop playing whilst Andy Murrey served for Gold, then back to it. Well done Andy :) Well.......off to Fairport Convention's festival at Cropredy for a few days jamming with friends. Speak again soon x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1548 Mon, 06 Aug 2012 09:55:09 +0100
<![CDATA[Recording Album]]> And so........we have found a lovely place to record our music, a little old stone school house built in 1850, now a village hall. 2012 will start as we mean to go on....with a tune or two! I am so excited to have some special people and gifted musicians joining me to make the songs take shape and have a life of their own. The wonderful musical directorship of Bob Bowman, the production of Paul Smith.....the gorgeous Ruth Tidmarsh and CJLodge, bass and cello respectively, Mick Sewell on percussion, Martin Thompson on violin and accordian and maybe one or two surprises............... spoilt indeed................spoilt indeed :) xxx

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1547 Sun, 02 Oct 2011 18:50:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Update on Album]]> Well, looks like the tracks are more or less complete with some tweaking here and there, finished the recording in Feb and now with production team tour commitments and other life stuff we await the next time we can gather together to mix and complete the project. 12 songs with different tales to tell, quite a variety. Now gigs are popping up so I can play them to others. Happy days, Ju

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1546 Tue, 10 Apr 2012 08:39:53 +0100
<![CDATA[Airplay]]> Hi all, thrilled to have had some airplay on German radio last night, many thanks to Ludwigsburg Radio and Walter Heger.

Just back from the lovely Greenbelt Festival where there was some beautiful music being played and some great stand-up comedy, amongst many other creative things. Just a joy to be amongst it all and thrilled to return to the news that the website had exceeded 1000 hits!

New songs in the pipeline :)

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1545 Tue, 30 Aug 2011 12:15:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Thank you]]> How lovely to have had so many hits and messages in just a few days. Thankyou everyone! Shall be off to Greenbelt Festival this weekend, always a wealth of inspiration to be found there. Found the same recently at Cropredy Fest too, the place was alive with people playing tunes and sharing music with generous spirit.

On return shall be checking out a studio with Mr Bowman, me thinks it's time to make another EP :) Now....................................what to record!?!?!!?!!?!?? .....................................

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1544 Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:04:39 +0100
<![CDATA[Ye Olde Rose and Crown Stafford]]> Looking forward to working again with the lovely Bob Bowman today, shall be playing an hours set in the town centre pub, guitar and piano. it's so special after living with the songs so long to be able to take them out to play :) Can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1543 Sun, 05 Aug 2012 10:59:31 +0100
<![CDATA[Gigs ]]>  

February 12th 2011. St Leonards Rugby Club Dinner - went on about 9.30pm, one of those performances that you tell funny anecdotes about at all future gigs!! Like playing in a dishwasher as someone shouted out "where's the heavy metal?" Philistine!!! Lol :)........Wouldn't have minded so much but it was the organiser of the event that was heckling ha haa ha haa.

Mind you, International Womens' Day at Kings Hall in Stoke on Trent will take some beating years back now, had to do a set sandwiched between talks on Osteoporosis and Tampon Safety!!!! Follow that :)

June 25th 2011. Carr's Lane Central Birmingham. LGCM 35th Annual Conference. What an absolute privilege to play at this event, a beautiful, appreciative and giving audience who generously gave for The Child of Hope Uganda Project. First time an audience has sung along to one of my own songs, special! A standing ovation and a queue for autographs- how surreal!!

July 11th 2011. Stafford Arts Festival- playing at Stafford Castle as part of the festival with lots of other yummy music, my set; 8.15 -8.45pm, so many familiar faces, like looking out at my christmas card list. A little overwhlemed by the chaos of the event to begin with but really enjoyed playing once on. Joined by Mick Sewell, just met him on the day, a lovely guy and wonderful percussionist and Bob Bowman, a long time friend and mentor whose guitar playing is an absolute treat. Felt so at home with these guys. Bring on the next one !

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2011/07/11/music-fans-enjoy-the-sun-at-stafford-castle-festival/

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1542 Fri, 01 Jul 2011 10:38:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Airplay]]> Thrilled that the title track The Hill was given airplay on xl-fm on Thursday night roots show, apparently more to come this Thursday, cheers for listening x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1541 Sun, 10 Feb 2013 16:32:42 +0000
<![CDATA[The Hill Update]]> Thank you to those who have purchased The Hill, it has been so encourageing to receive such lovely reviews. The Amazon review by T.W.Jones (Tanya Jones) gave me goose bumps as I realised that  the songs now have a life of their own and are free to fly in whatever direction they are blown. I have copied it here for you should you fancy a read;                                                                      The Hill, Ju Blencowe's long-awaited debut, is, I'm beginning to conclude, something of a masterpiece. The opening track, Circles, is a riff on the traditional Celtic blessing - `May the road rise up to meet you...' but in place of the rather passive, if tender, `May God hold you in the palm of his hand', Ju wishes `May you find something in life to set you free.' It sets the tone for the whole album: a gorgeous patchwork of ideas and images, many from the Christian tradition, but which in Ju's dynamic juxtapositions, speak to a much wider audience. Her theme, perhaps, is the search for love and freedom, and the demanding task of speaking the truth along the way. The music is young, vibrant and danceable, sparkling as the eyes and smile on the cover, but the lyrics reveal a hard-won wisdom.
`Is this Stevie Nicks?' asked Mr J, coming through from the kitchen, and Running With the Wolves has that wistful leather-and-lace poetry, with soaring strings, but more precise metaphors and wider empathies. Sky Blue Dress has a more Alison Krauss feel, complemented, as all the tracks here, by a warm and accomplished group of musicians playing an impressive range of instruments. Grace is both a expression of faith and gratitude, and a tender call for justice and compassion, evoked by the beauties of the earth. Its wondering refrain, `We ain't seen nothing yet', holds an ambiguity between earth and heaven that is deeply embedded in an authentic Christian tradition, far from the harsh dichotomies of more strident voices. The same gentleness characterises Scarlet Woman, a confident and compassionate cameo with a haunting fall. The tempo speeds up with Running Solo, to slow again with the bittersweet break-up ballad Little Bit O Smile, with a Grace Petriesque courage and sensitivity. The jaunty Birdsong is impossible to listen to without at least a tapping foot (I couldn't keep my shoulders still either), its theme intelligently and humorously mirrored in the pulsing refrain. More Colour and Sepia Frames evoke an English urban storytelling tradition, with something of Peter Skellern in their nuanced nostalgia. Time begins as maybe the most cheerful-ever rendition of Ecclesiastes' famous sayings, only to turn, while we're still dancing, into a warm and confident love song.
And finally, the title track. The Hill is a poignant meditation on the crucifixion, `miles away' from conventional piety. There are none of the brash formulae of dogma, only a broken man, and the sights, smells and sounds of that two-thousand year old day and night. In its holding together of epic sweep, meticulous observation and a response that is both intensely personal and opened to all, this track for me has something of Springsteen at his best. And I'm afraid I have no higher praise than that.

The album is to be played on www.xl-fm.com on Thursday night between 8 and 10pm. Will keep you posted x

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1540 Sun, 03 Feb 2013 23:38:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Air play]]>  Lovely to hear that the album has been played during show interval at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre :)

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1539 Wed, 29 May 2013 01:27:21 +0100
<![CDATA[Airplay]]>  Thrilled to have had the album played at The Oyster Bands big session festival, thanks to Paul Smith and his magic PA's :) 

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1538 Fri, 29 Jun 2012 20:17:00 +0100
<![CDATA[The Hill Album 2013]]> Well, after almost a year The Hill is finally released and available at www.amazon.co.uk . What can I say? It has been such a lovely process, exhausting at times but a project that celebrates friendship, old, new and rekindled. The final push saw the mastering done by the wonderful Jack at www.optimum-mastering.com, icing on the cake, thank you Jack, just sorry that the artwork had been completed before you worked your final magic but here's the mention I promised! Now.......just want people to kick back and let the music do the talking. Look forward to playing it around and about in the Spring/Summer season and ovcourse to writing some more tunes! Thanks for your patience, enjoy!! Ju x

 

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https://www.jublencowe.com/blog/post/1537 Thu, 17 Jan 2013 19:22:16 +0000