The Isolation Sessions

by pdcawley in Doncaster, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £3,305

raised so far



Over three afternoons during lockdown, I recorded three mini-albums of unaccompanied traditional songs and now it's time to make a CD

by pdcawley in Doncaster, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 4th December 2020 we'd raised £3,275 with 65 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

There's going to be a CD! Thank you all so much! Now let's make the album of my dreams. If we hit our stretch goal, I'll produce a double CD with all the tracks originally recorded for the digital release, and the songs chosen by backers. 

I want to record the new material in the same way as the existing material, and get it all  professionally mastered. And package them  in a professionally designed, eco-friendly cardboard digisleeve with a booklet of sleeve notes.

Again! Thank you for proving that there is a real audience for unaccompanied folk singers, you've made a middle aged man very happy!

For an example of how the tracks could sound after they've been mastered, check out The Isolation Sessions Sampler

Stretch Goal Update

We hit the target! So I've extended the stretch goal slightly. If we hit the new target then, once lockdown ends, I'll stream a recorded gig for all backers from Simpson Street Studios' beautiful chapel live room in Rothbury, Northumberland with professional sound and videography. There's even room (it's a former chapel, after all) for a small, socially distanced audience, so have a look at the new reward if you'd like to attend in person.

The lockdown has been hard on all of us. I was building a business as an artisan baker when the virus hit and my wife and I had to go into self isolation because of our (oh so delightfully named) 'comorbidities'. Unable to bake, I turned to the art that has sustained me all my life:, unaccompanied song. In happier times, I love to sing with others, but in isolation I started to record the songs that don't always fit in a singaround.

There's consolation in these Old Songs: a sense of empathy with people long gone and of shared humanity alongside weird and shocking differences. The sound of a lone voice singing with no accompaniment has always thrilled and excited me – it's why I was inspired to make these recordings. I hope that I'm not alone in that feeling. 

I released the recordings via and people were excited enough by them to ask if there were plans for a physical release. At the time, there weren’t, but it persuaded me to start this project.

Why £750?

With £750, I can:

  • Replicate 300 CDs in jewel cases with a small sleeve note booklet
  • Cover postage and packaging to all backers

I can't include everything from the Bandcamp version because I recorded slightly too much music to fit on a single CD. Backers will also receive a download code for all the digital tracks.

If we exceed the initial target, as well as making more CDs, I'd like to improve the product in the following ways:

  • Professional mastering of the tracks
  • Replace the jewel cased package with an eco friendly all cardboard digisleeve designed by someone who knows what they're doing


Obviously, I think I've recorded a thrilling and essential album of unaccompanied singing. You don't have to take my word for it though:

Fascinating, moving and thrilling. … one of the country’s finest unaccompanied singers along to your venue – essentially a vocal gymnast performing without a safety net. — Jon Wilks

One singer. One voice. Carrying you away from wherever you are to distant places nestled away in the heart of Deep England … Piers’ voice contains a multitude of emotions and energies, adjusting his rhythm, volume and tone of voice in order to bring the story to life and maintain the listener’s attention. Piers changes lanes regularly enough to call the hairs on the back of your neck to stand to attention.Folk London

I'm sure many of us look forward to Piers' contribution on #TradSongTues — @TradSongTues


This project offered rewards

£12 or more

Just the CD please!

For £12 you get a code to download the album as soon as the campaign is over and a signed CD as soon as possible after that. This reward is included in all higher tiers.

£6 or more

I bought it on bandcamp!

For those who bought one or more of the digital releases on bandcamp. You'll receive a signed copy of the final CD and my undying gratitude

£12 or more

I don't have a CD player, send me a postcard!

For £12 you get a code to download the album as soon as the campaign is over and I'll send you a signed postcard with my thanks.

£25 or more

Let me watch the launch gig!

Shortly after the project completes, I will stream a launch concert of songs from the album. As well as receiving a signed CD, everyone who backed at this level will have access to the stream and to the recording. If you'd like to be in the Zoom audience for the gig, check out the next reward tier

£50 or more

I wanna be in the Zoom where it happens!

Shortly after the project completes, I'll host a zoom meeting for everyone who backed at this level and perform songs from the album and chat with you about some of the inspiration behind it. You'll also have access to the recording of the concert and (naturally) a signed copy of the CD and a high quality digital download. Choose all the dates that suit you and I'll pick the most popular

£150 or more

I need some artisanal vinyl!

As well as access to the backers' gig, the digital download and a signed album, this reward includes one of 30 copies of a The Isolation Sessions Sampler on a 10” lathe cut vinyl record with a handwritten, signed and numbered white label.

£250 or more

Record something direct to disc

The people I plan to use to cut the EPs are also able to do direct to disc recording, in which I sing into a microphone that drives the cutting stylus on a recording lathe and we capture a unique performance. Choose your favourite tracks and that's what I'll sing for you. NB: Delivery times on this are subject to Covid-19 restrictions, but rest assured, as soon as we are able, we'll get the recordings done

£300 or more

Sing anything, unaccompanied!

Have you written a song for your one true love? Is there that one perfect song you long to hear me sing? Maybe you yearn for a solo unaccompanied version of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rihanna's Umbrella or Sia's Chandelier. Now's your chance! For £300, I'll give it my very best shot and send you the evidence on a unique CDR, private digital download and video link. And a signed album, digital download and access to the Zoom backers' gig

£350 or more

Let me come to a gig!

As well as the signed album and the Zoom gig for backers, you can attend a special gig recording in chapel live room at Simpson Street Studio's near Rothbury. This can't happen until lockdown is over, but as soon as things look clear we'll arrange it.

£400 or more

Sing for me in (socially distanced) person!

At a mutually agreed date, I'll come to your house or garden and sing for you and your guests. If we're still in lockdown, I'll set up a small PA in your garden and sing through your windows or, if it's safe to do so, I'll sing for you in your house. You'll also receive a signed album, digital download and access to the backers' zoom concert. I'll travel anywhere, but if it's outside mainland UK I'll have to add reasonable expenses.

£100 or more

Sing a traditional song for me!

Choose a song from the list of reward options. As well as a signed CD, high quality digital download and access to the backers' Zoom concert, you'll receive a video of me singing your chosen song, an extremely limited (max 10) CDR of the songs chosen by the backers and an acknowledgement of your support in the album sleeve notes.

£750 or more

Show me what you can do!

I’m not just a singer. Full delivery of this reward will be after lockdown. I’ll visit you, take your photo, make you a loaf or two of sourdough bread, leave you some starter for your own use and sing for my supper. You can also choose a song from either the traditional song or ballad list, which I’ll record for you. I’ll travel anywhere, but again if it’s outside mainland UK I’ll have to add reasonable travel expenses

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