And here we are in March already. Busy month for us, what with the run-up to St Patrick’s Day and all. A lot of shows, a lot of the auld Irish getting dusted off in anticipation of The Day. Multiple shows that weekend (I think we’re at 4 and counting?) After that weekend, we can just rest, right?
Well sure, I guess. For a week or two. But this isn’t a business where we can just rest on our laurels, not if we want to stay relevant, not if we want to grow. It’s like being on a treadmill; the moment we stop moving forwards, we’re moving backwards with appalling alacrity. Even if we didn’t already know that, the pandemic taught us that one with perfect clarity. If we aspire to do more than play a couple of pub shows a month (and we do!) then we have to push hard. We’re always adding new material, so the shows don’t get stale. We’re always brainstorming new ways to grow the fanbase, to connect with the people who support us. We’re always looking for new venues in which to play. And doing those things help us at least hold position, rather than fall behind. If we want to move forward, though, we have to do more. We have to try new things, take some risks, spend some money. And to do those things effectively, we have to make plans.
Once upon a time, in our younger days, spending our weekend nights at the pub, making music and drinking free drinks and putting a little coin in our pockets…that was all we wanted. These days we’re older, wiser, and more fed up with our day jobs. We want to put our music into more ears, we want to tour and travel, we want to see just how far we can take this. And that takes a bit of luck, a lot of work, and no small amount of planning. What follows here are some of my ideas for those plans. Some are likely pipe dreams. Some are quite attainable. Time will tell which is which.
So what am I talking about?
- We should record another album. Before Summer starts. I’m thinking of a live album. We’ll need to find a venue, pick a date, figure out a tracklist, and rehearse our asses off. If we can get it done by the end of May,we should have no problem releasing the CD sometime around September/October.
- We need more merch. Literally every other band in the market has T-shirts and CD’s. We need to brainstorm other lines of merchandise, things that people will actually want to buy. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted for consideration.
- We need new venues. New places to play, new audiences to dazzle.
- The Patreon has done well for us, kept money in the band fund to pay the bills during lockdown, put enough money in that same fund to be able to record our second CD, Mission Statement. We’re so grateful to each and every one of our Patrons for all of their support. We need to find more ways to show our appreciation. (Would anyone be interested in a monthly D&D game with the band?)
- Remember how I said we should record another CD. Well, we should. Record another CD, I mean. Another another CD. I’m thinking of going back into the studio for this one, using the profits from the first “another CD”. Maybe we make this one all Irish; heavier on the fiddle tunes, dust off the old trad stuff, with our usual flair for arrangements and mashups. If we can start working on it by December, it should be ready for sale by St Patrick’s Day 2024.
- I’d love to see us playing more festival gigs. Small local stuff to start; larger festivals generally look for prior festival experience, so we should maybe start working on getting that.
- We need more music. Different music. Our music. Yep, we’ve shied away from it for years. Writing good music requires vulnerability, and that’s never comfortable. It’s easier, safer, to use somebody else’s words. But we’ve got things to say, and it’s high time we started saying them.
None of these ideas are carved in stone; hell, I haven’t even bounced all of ‘em off of Paul, Erin, and our staff. Some of ‘em might need to be pushed back. Some of ‘em might not happen at all. But I think that as outlines go, this list is a good starting point.
What do you think our next move(s) should be?