"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.”
- John Lennon.
It’s almost here, and like many of you we are wondering what shape 2023 is going to take. World economies running out of control, basic living costs skyrocketing, travel costs increasing and war on our doorstep…it all really does make you wonder. Both our tours in 2022 (UK & USA) cost just about double what they did before the pandemic. Almost three years of no travelling left us out of shape for our usual 40 odd weeks a year on the road. Health issues and Covid19 slowed us down, (along with everyone else in the arts) and we couldn’t really go and do our mission work because countries like Thailand and Burma were closed.
It all looks pretty bleak on the face of it, however halfway through 2022 we did hit the road again and also had the opportunity to go help a little in Ukraine. These trips reminded us of why we do what we do and how we do it. It’s really all about community and relational work and so we are spurred on to look ahead to 2023 with hope and, hopefully, a smarter way to work.
Some studio work has helped sustain us over the past year as well as a few other things (more on that later) and we had a great time on the road. Our UK trip brought us back to venues we have played for many years but also new places with new opportunities to play there in the future. The USA, as always was generous, kind and supportive of all we do but a few things have made us rethink how we do it. It was about 10 weeks and a 10,000 mile road trip playing venues from Vegas to Mississippi…a massive tour. This was nothing new to us, we normally do this every year, however, Sammy's health issues got worse because of the eleven weeks without treatment, the condition in his eye got worse and fatigue was a factor. This setback now means he is back to six week hospital visits and we really think it is crucial that we make this happen. End of year check up and tests were encouraging for Sammy. Blood sugar almost normal, heart looks in good shape and eye improving, but we need to pay attention to all these factors if we are to stay in shape. Some more tests and shots in 2023, but all in all, if we pay attention we will do OK. We both had Covid and wonder if that has contributed to the fatigue factor but frankly, we are getting older and even though we try to stay in decent shape you begin to notice things getting a little tougher as the years go by. Kylie has also had some medical stuff, jaw and knee issues that we are working on getting sorted.
So, what does all this mean for 2023? Well…being smarter in what we do, how long we do it for and how we do it is key. We are thinking that six-week tours for the likes of USA, Australia will be as much as we do. We realise it means we won’t see some of you as often but we seriously need to consider our own wellbeing if we want to continue to tour and serve.
So as far as music goes, apart from some local stuff, we are thinking West/SW USA only in 2023. We haven’t been to Germany and Switzerland for a few years, (although The Electrics are playing two German Festivals in May) so we’d love to head back over to you there. We may do a few UK dates in there somewhere and late year Australia is calling us. Message Sammy if you are keen to host a show. There will be a new Electrics album sometime in 2023 and Sammy will be working with long time friend Phil Madeira on the first ever MERCYLAND Songwriter Retreat Ireland in April ’23. We are also considering some more collaborations with Phil later in the year, stay tuned. Sammy has, as usual, a million ideas and another Rev. Sam album is possible, plus the second FINN (Finn And the Land beneath.) book is due to be edited through the year. He will also be finishing producing an album for Scots singer/songwriter Sheila Easson and Kylie will be helping with instruments and BGV’s on this project. We haven’t planned on a new Sweet Sorrows album yet, but you never know.
Our work of serving people will continue with Sammy heading to Ukraine early January to bring out supplies and play music at military bases and possibly hospitals around the country. We hope to be on the border of Thailand and Burma to run our TRADE OFF work, just trying see when it suits for us to go there. One other aspect is using our home as a place of rest for other artists, friends and co-workers. We already have folk coming to stay here for short periods about every month for the first half of the year, giving us the chance to reciprocate and give back to many who have done the same for us. All of these aspects of the work are covered by two sources. PATREON and MODERN DAY. Both allow us to perform non-profit service without getting ourselves in serious debt. We can see this area of our work taking more of our time in the future.
PATREON allows you to support this non-profit work by giving a small amount per month, (1 Euro, 3 Euros or 10 Euros) . In return you get exclusive videos, music, early access to new projects, news and more. MODERN DAY allows you to support the work at any level- monthly, weekly or one time donation. This has the benefit for USA supporters as they get their 501c3 tax relief. These two supports have been life savers for us, so if you’d like to help with these message us or hit the links below.
We are also aware how important it is to see our families. In the past we often fit in visits around tours meaning time with parents, family, kids and grandkids is cut short. We need to change this, so we will be making spending time with family a priority every year.
Finally, it is easy for us to fill up a year, but in 2023 we hope to also carve out some time to stop. We are pretty sure that “our usual” touring- constant driving, playing, travelling etc. is adversely affecting us, so in a Celtic tradition and dare I say it, even a biblical sense, we will be having times of stopping. Discipline if you will…this, as much as anything else needs to a part of our year or we will burn out.
So, unless ‘Life Happens’ as John Lennon reminds us, (because you just never know what unexpected thing might come up), this is a rough outline of how 2023 might look for us Horners.
Hoping we see lots of you in the coming year and we wish you all good health, hope and peace in 2023.
Sammy & Kylie