My Dad knew Steve Wickham – he was the musical director of the pantomime one year.
‘You should talk to Steve’, he said, when it became clear that this musician thing wasn’t going to be a passing phase with me.
And so I met Steve one day for a chat. I spoke about fancy chords with flat 13s and sharp 9s that I was learning in jazz college and he didn’t pass much heed.
‘Write 10 songs and I’ll listen to them for you’, he said. I didn’t.
But I got to play with him a bit more over the next few years, and chatted to him a few times, and eventually his message got through to me. If you want to be an artist, you need to create.
And those words are still in my head.
We wrote The Match together for my first album in 2013, and I have written a lot of music since. Partly because Marie at the Hawk’s Well asked me to write something for a project they were running around that time. Mainly because I like doing it. But partly also, if I’m honest, because Steve Wickham thinks it’s a good idea.
You see his words carry weight around here. On this week’s podcast he is very modest about his career and the people he has played with, but not many in these neck of the woods have played with U2, or Bob Dylan, or Elvis Costello. And he may say he was in the right place at the right time, but game recognizes game.
I travelled to Belgium with him and the No Crows gang for a few gigs one year. We jammed on the ferry over. We spent an hour in rehearsal when we got there getting the feel of my off-beat chords in sync with those of rhythm guitarist Felip. Detail. And he’s always looking to connect on stage.
He has done a few theme nights over the years. It’s always great to have him involved when he is around. The famous Orange Blossom Special with Niamh and Seamie. Raglan Road and Only Love this year during lockdown.
It was a really lovely chat and you can hear how despite the fact that he is a rock star, he isn’t a rock star. Two new pieces of music from Steve on the show too.
Have a listen.