2016 was a year performing at larger gigs and festivals up and down the UK, and also of writing and recording original songs for a new album, together with our cover of Foy Vance’s Make It Rain, which has become a signature song. The week before its release at the end of January 2017 we returned to Skegness and sound checked in the empty Jaks Club. When we returned to the stage to start our set something had happened, as the place was packed with many hundreds in the audience and more still outside. You could feel the electricity and we played the gig of our lives, which people still come and talk to us about now. The next week the new Catfish album, Broken Man (complete with harmonica contribution from the great Paul Jones), was released and its success and the hard touring all added up to us building a growing reputation, built on the extraordinary talent of the young 22 year old singer and guitarist, strong original songs and the albums I had produced, together with a tight rhythm section.
The constant touring over longer distances was becoming too much for Dusty - after all, none of had expected Catfish to take off in such a way - and he reluctantly decided he’d have to step down, and bassist and good friend of Matthew’s Adam Pyke has now joined the band as we embark on a new album and European as well as UK tours in 2018. Catfish is both a cottage industry and a family business, with father and son writing and performing, and my wife and Matt’s mother Fiona managing and booking for the band. Drummer Kevin’s wife, Kim, also does our CD stall when she can, so we are all involved.
In amongst all this activity I was holding down a full time busy job, doing the radio show and studying for a history degree with the Open University. Now I’m going part time to allow more time for the band, to produce more albums for people and to do an MA in Music; so instead of taking it easy and retiring at 60 new adventures beckon - it feels a bit like running away to join the circus!