Neil Mercer and I first played together in the late 60's early 70s - the last line up we were in was called Kites. That was when I was signed up to Pete Townsend's publishing company and we even got a doomed single out on Polydor. It all lost impetus somehow but we met up again ten years or so ago and got back together.
We've recently re-adopted the 'Kites' name (as 'Phil Riley and Neil Mercer" , whilst accurate, lacks a little bit of punch as a band name!) - we also enjoy playing (and until Covid - gigging!) with three others fine performers on a semi regular basis in various combinations and so the idea is that when we play with them we call it 'Kites Collective' to differentiate it from the more folky and originals based duo.
Neil thought it would be an idea to get a 'Kites Collective' Youtube channel kicked off to feature any and all of us - and created it a week or so ago. 'Blues Run The Game' is one of the early postings Neil has put together. Ian Spratley has just posted a great story-photo-collage of his and Neil's version of 'You Don't Love Me Anymore' Please take a look/listen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BPtCsEgLRo
In these strange times I've been trying to learn how to record at home rather than do nothing at all. For better or worse I've got one or two recordings I shall be unleashing on the world shortly. Just warning you.
Neil and I had a great time yesterday at Annie and Al's Juke Joint. (https://www.annduggan.co.uk/shows) - Al couldn't be there, unfortunately, as he was nursing his new knee - mend soon Alan! We always have a warm welcome and the audience is wonderful (I think Annie has them well-trained!). Daryl Kirkland did a little spot too to showcase his stuff for his gig there (in April?) - he's a talented lad with a warm stage presence too. We'll be going ourselves to up and coming shows there just for a listen - it's a unique event. If you haven't already been then give it a try!
After a lovely summer festivalling and playing with Borderline Crossing (borderlinecrossing.net) in Germany, I played a return gig with Neil on Friday at The Song Loft in Stony Stratford (www.thesongloft.co.uk). In it's new venue at York House we had a smashing evening - entertaining support slots from the local minstrels and story tellers and a great singing audience.
We followed this up with a trip to The Millfest in Bromham on Saturday afternoon to play a teatime slot. Another nice event - sadly suffering a bit in attendance with the adverse weather forecast but I hope they persevere - really well organised and great sound crews. We particularly enjoyed listening to Tinkers Lane but all the acts were top quality. I hope we can play there again too.
I've had the luck and privilege to have played some lovely gigs this year (again). Here is a link to a video of a recent one when Neil and I were joined by Tim Smith on bass.
I think I've found the secret to selling out gigs - I think I'll call them micro-venues - when you can't get many people in you don't have to blackmail, cajole and bribe so many to come and listen! Looking forward to my (sold-out!) house concert in Wymeswold this coming Friday after a great (sold-out!) evening at White Horse Folk in Seagrave . In reality I don't actually play many 'big' gigs but, even if I did, small unplugged gigs would always be my favourites (I wouldn't turn down the O2 arena but I wouldn't enjoy it as much!)
A big thanks to Dave and Julia Taylor for asking Neil and myself along last Friday. We had a tremendously enjoyable gig - no p.a. - just incredible acoustics. Smashing audience and two sweet support slots from Colin Perks. Next up is a house concert in Wymeswold 1st December. Email me for details.
I've had a great time lately. Some lovely gigs so far this June in particular - really chuffed with all of them but especially the CD promotional gig at The Guildhall in Leicester. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a memorable night. One more to go at The Riverside event in Stony Stratford, then July getting ready for the Germany cafe tour with Borderline Crossing, then August taking it a bit easier, festivalling and weeding the allotment!
A big thanks to Mike Harding for playing 'Sinner's Song' last week and this week will be featuring 'Cherry Tree' from our 'Lost Legions' CD. http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/
The Song Loft (http://bit.ly/2mBsqQJ) is a great folk club run in the old fashioned way and very successfully too. Neil Mercer and I had the honour of being feature guests there last Friday. Jane Armour, the organiser, was sadly poorly and couldn't make it but Bill Reed and Colin Turner ran the evening very nicely. Lots of good floor singers to enjoy and an audience who seemed to know the choruses of our songs which they'd never heard before, better than we do! They are really a great ''if you sing - we all sing' club. No P.A. of course. It was a great evening and we hope to be able to play there again in the not too distant future.