In this photograph, taken by Claire Goldthorp at End of the Road Festival only a few weeks ago, you can see us posing with Neptune, Roman God of the sea and Protector of Tambourine Players. Neptune—so the legends say—rose from the Adriatic to play the tambourine at every new dawn, and his jingle-jangle morning routine called the sun from the horizon. One terrible day, the sun would not rise, no matter how he jingled and jangled, but steadfast Neptune continued to play, eventually beating the tambourine so hard that his left hand came off at the wrist. Thus he is always memorialized without his left hand, as he is here in the grotto at Larmer Tree Gardens.
Cue awkward segue: the tambourine player is often overlooked, always in the background, but often brings the whole song to life. Same goes—and it’s not really much of a stretch—for the labour and love poured into music by the folks that don’t clamber up on stage and yap and yelp and bang and jangle. There are lots of them, fortunately for the rest of us, from indie record label owners, to promoters, to college radio DJs, to fans who go the extra mile for the bands that they love.
At this point, three weeks into our 101 nights of Revival Beach touring, I’m feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the work of all of these kinds of kind people. We’ve experienced such incredible help and support over the years, and it would be a gargantuan and probably impossible task to list everyone I feel particularly indebted to or fond of. In the last few weeks, the enthusiastic volunteer work of Lloyd from Olive Grove Records in Glasgow and Jamie from Netsounds in Inverness (two dudes I’ve never even met in person) sent us on a fantastic journey through the Scottish hinterlands with Jeffrey Lewis; Ro Cemm, Claire of Kent, the Tipi Stage crew, and Brave Jack at End of the Road made an already-great festival unforgettable; Alex and Mike of Black Isle Brewery and Alison of Wildwood Bushcraft reached out to us out of the blue and achieved new heights in the Kindness of Strangers International Rankings. I’m writing this, right this minute, from the home of Donal McConnon, a visionary musician and songwriter who has given up his own bed so that I can write blog entries in comfort and safety while he seeks shelter under the Spanish Arch, or more accurately at his friend Richard’s house.
I could go on and on. The point is that music is a collective effort, and we wouldn’t be doing any of the things we’re doing otherwise. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do a lot of work behind the scenes and never get any credit. I am ashamed to admit how slack I’ve often been myself in attributing props where props are due, but believe me, we really appreciate everyone that has ever helped us on our sometimes difficult, often ridiculous journey into whatever dimension we find ourselves inhabiting now. We like it here, and you all deserve our thanks and our hugs and high fives.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Neptune, God of the Sea, and master of the tambourine!