Crowns' success had me juggling my role as music critic and mum
It's one thing to be proud of your children, but quite another to keep crowing about their achievements.
As 2012 has progressed I've found myself in a slightly tricky position as both the WMN's music writer and the parent of a member of a Westcountry band who are starting to make their mark on the contemporary scene in Britain and beyond.
Crowns (pictured) are a rousing, flag-waving Cornish folk-fuelled pop rock quartet who pitch themselves in the unique genre of "fish punk". Originally from Launceston, but now based in London, they have been hitting the headlines both locally, nationally and internationally this year as they build an all-ages fan base – from traditional folkies through to heavy rock lovers.
Just as I try to do with the other promising artists who emerge from this neck of the woods, I've kept readers up to date with Crowns' development and I make no apology for my pride in their progress. My son, Jake, plays bass and sings backing vocals with the band, and I've watched him grow up and develop his craft alongside Bill Jefferson (vocals and acoustic guitar), Nathan Haynes (drums) and Jack Speckleton (mandolin).
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I know they work hard and are passionate ambassadors for their home county as they share their unique sound with audiences.
It was wonderful to report how they secured a publishing deal, recorded at Rak Studios in London, notched up their debut single, their debut EP, played local shows, support dates around the UK and a raft of prestigious summer festivals. To offer a fair appraisal of their performance and creativity, I invited WMN colleagues to write honest reviews when Crowns supported American pop punk giants Blink-182 at the Eden Sessions in July, and released their debut album, Stitches In The Flag, in November with a show at Falmouth's Princess Pavilions.
Next year is already shaping up to be a busy and exciting one for the boys, with a UK support tour with American Celtic rockers Dropkick Murphys, a BBC Radio 1 live session and an invitation to the SXSW international music showcase in Austin, Texas. Watch this space, and I promise not to crow too loudly.