Venus Tree was a band that never was.
Jude Calvert-Toulmin started writing music on the piano at 5 years old then taught herself guitar at 9. She was a busker on the London tube during the 80s, singing and playing twelve-string guitar and the muse behind Aztec Camera's top ten hits Oblivious and Walk out to Winter.
In the 90s she moved back to her hometown of Sheffield where, during a stormy period of her life, she wrote a flurry of songs which she wanted to record. She roped in renowned Sheffield artist Sally Doherty on lyrics and flute, bongo player Steve Babalola and seventeen year old schoolgirl Katie Bell on cello.
Together, as Venus Tree, they performed a few gigs, one of them at Martin Bedford's Loft project at The Hallamshire, then went into the studios at Jude's former art college, Psalter Lane, to put together an album.
Venus Tree started to get a bit of local press. There were two problems. One, none of the other artists had agreed to join a band. The second problem was major and rapidly growing - Jude was pregnant with her third baby. Once Venus Tree made the cover of local music rag SAM the other artists jumped ship, this was going somewhere, but with Jude about to give birth, going nowhere.
The album, really just a demo tape recorded on very basic kit, gathered dust in various attics for twenty years until now.
The Loft gig footage will be cut and uploaded at some point in the future.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Jude gave birth to a son. She contributed lyrics and vocals to one of BAFTA-nominated composer Chris Mann's personal music projects then started writing again. www.mannmusic.co.uk?page_id=73
A former freelance photo-journalist for the music press in London (i-D, Melody Maker, Masterbag) Jude now started writing for the climbing press, then after her second divorce took up writing full time. She is now a best-selling author currently writing her seventh novel. All her novels are at www.fleurdelyspublishing.com
She finally found happiness with her third husband (and editor) Brian Trevelyan. They live in Sheffield with their five cats and five chickens.
Sally Doherty went on to release eleven albums, some solo, some collaborative. She has written music for BBC TV and BBC 4 Radio Drama, and worked with numerous other artists. She sang the accompanying vocals on Richard Hawley's cover of Johnny Cash's Long Black Veil and on Hawley's album Lady's Bridge. richardhawley.co.uk
Her album Electric Butterfly was borne out of a collaboration with Richard Hawley's producer Colin Elliot.
Other projects include performing and recording with folk artist Donald Grant, electro artist Scanner, jazz pianist Paul Kilvington and collaborating as singer/song-writer on two albums with Italian dance outfit Planet Funk who have had numerous hits, most memorably with ‘Chase the Sun’, a top five hit globally. sallydoherty.com