Monday, October 16, 2006

There's a man I much admire, and who many who read this blog will know. He's the person who I believe is most responsible for Greenbelt being the festival it is today - and not a charity that ended up going bust. You don't see him much at the festival these days - this year I think his main apearance was in the Ox Bar. And yet his latest album received 5 stars in Maverick Magazine (thinking man's folk mag). His name is Andy Thornton.

I won't go into detail of Andy's life, I suggest you simply read threads below to get some of the background on him. I first met Andy when he was the General Manager at Greenbelt. He had the delightful task of seeing the festival through some of its darkest hours when tickets sales were in free-fall and spare cash was a mith. I won't say quite how I met Andy, but it had something to do with money. When Helen and I got married we decided we wanted to have Freedom Samba (Late Late Service) at the end of the service (none of this Wedding march stuff for us!) and Andy kindly transposed the music for us.

Aside from his current day job at Citizen Foundation Andy is a very gifted singer/songwriter. As usual at Greenbelt I spent most of my money on a year's supply of CDs which I have been working through ever since. There is one outstanding album - and I mean outstanding - easily in my top 10 all time favourites - the album is called Sunflower Girl, written a year after the death of his wife Donna. It's an album that draws on the emotions and presents Andy at his best. You can read some reviews here and a good interview/review here. And of course the BIG news is that Andy is getting married again next April to Eugenie Harvey, the author of Change the World for a Fiver.

I had asked Andy if he would suport Michael McDermott when he was due to be over here last summer - hopefully I can persaude him to play with Michael in the future as I see the makings of an excellent double-bill.

Go out and buy a copy of the album, it's worth every penny.

I haven't heard the album so have no opinion on that, but I warmly agree with what you say about the man: it was Andy's energetic advocacy of a new way of doing and being which helped transform Greenbelt when the event and organisation was at its lowest ebb. This and much else, far rawer and deeper in his life are the marks of a man who has sustained a firm faith in regeneration and new beginnings against so many odds.
(PS Happy birthday)

I should declare my interest first: I'm Andy's manager. So... thank you for your comments about Andy and his new album, I'm sure he will appreciate them.

Here are a couple of links for people who may want to know more...
Andy's website.

Andy's myspace profile: in case you'd like to listen to some songs.

Sounds Good online shop: in case you'd like to buy a copy of the CD.


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