Happy Canada Day everyone!
No matter how many times I celebrate it with my lovely friend Brenda, it never gets tired and it always reminds me how many amazing musicians out there are Canadian. Speaking from my own obsessions, I love a bit of Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette (forever my inspiration), Loreena McKennit, Sarah McLachlan I mean the list just goes on and on and on really! And that's just the music! Let us not forget the amazing mounties, maple syrup, mountains, Brendan Fraser ugh I mean really what's not to love about Canada?
So I learnt a few covers for my set - I sing some songs every year at this amazing gathering - and finally after all this time, after all the suggestions, hints, emails I took everyone's advice and listened to Joni Mitchel. Wow. I mustered my way through a case of you... I think it was alright but next time it'll be better ;) Canada day also gave me the chance to cover some Rita McNeil, whom I grew up listening and trying to sing along to. I continue to be blown away by her voice but the music just stirs something, hope I can make music like that some day!
So I've had a grand ol' time despite a very bizarre week of tough choices. I recently had to leave a job as I need to work part-time (something about creative types...we seem to self-destruct via anxiety if we don't have enough time to roam free) so after 2+ years I walked away from working in a school and last week was my first day of my new job in a care home. I was excited and really liked the thought of really feeling like I was making a difference but after one day - I know right - overwhelmed by the paperwork and somewhat rigid schedule I just knew it wasn't going to work. I'd only had to walk away from a job once before and in that case it was because the GCSE class that dominated my timetable had taken it upon themselves to destroy the contents of my bag and classroom.... In other words it was a far more obvious reason. This time I had to let it go because my music meant more to me. With this new job I wouldn't have been able to gig as much let alone tour. Tutoring would go out of the window; it would have basically become my life. But I already have a life, and I already have a calling. It was weird and honestly I spent the whole evening in tears at the realisation that I couldn't stay. Friday came and I had to let them know (how embarrassing) but I also had band practice. Luckily I have a good friend in my Johnny Cash as he knows a head case when he sees it and clearly my mind was on other things. He drove me up, we got it done and he said "well you're still young, this is growing up" which gave me an immediate flashback to the blink 182 song (that I adore), 'Dammit' with the refrain I guess this is growing up. Yup!
So I realised I've waffled on now for quite sometime but I wanted you to get a feel for what's been going on and what's to come :) Album-wise all is recorded I'm just waiting on the mixes. Instrument-wise, I bought a Ukulele (shout out to Thomas Richards, yes it's because of your cover of Barefoot & Kissing). Gig-wise lots coming up in the fall starting with our Johnny Cash Tribute act at the Plough in Torrington (more dates to come). So yeah... it's a time of change but I maintain a good one!
Take care and stay cool in this crazy heat wave!
So Easter was a blast! I flew to Egypt for some down time and had my mind blown by the history and tranquility of the place. We stayed in Hurghada and spent most of our time snorkelling with parrot and puffer fish along with a whole variety of silvers and shapes dashing through the blue. I was most proud of myself for finally having the courage to swim in deep water near boats and piers (I don't like dark water... or any water where I can't put my feet down) but I'm so glad I went for it. Special moments included finding a couple of clown fish and spotting a huge lion fish in a bay, yes don't worried we stayed clear of that stripey wonder. Aside from snorkelling we visited Luxor for one epic road trip of a day...in 31 degree heat. Now I'd already heard Luxor was home to Karnac and the Valley of the kings but nothing prepares you for when you actually see it. I felt like I was Rachel Weiz in the Mummy and just couldn't believe where I was.
I learnt so much about Egyptian history and culture, I was jotting down details in my sketch book as we went - and melted - in the temples. I'm sure something musical or at least poetic will come out of it because it was such a spiritual experience; taking a barge down the River Nile and spotting a crane feeding and water Buffalo having a drink with the city of the dead rising above them like some mythical home of the Gods. Incredible sights. We stopped at the Colossi of Memnon before exploring the tombs; a huge pair of figures once guarding a temple, now sat with birds all over the laps, that was a peaceful sight.
We meandered our way through the city of the dead, past Howard Carter's, and up into the colossal Valley of the Kings. Now I'm normally the first to avoid tombs - normally due to an overwhelming sense that they are there to rest and I shouldn't be poking around their remains - but the heat was so overbearing I was happy to get into the lovely cool tombs as quickly as possible. Then it hit me. The blaze of sunshine stuttered my eyes and when I opened them again it was like being in a palace. Walls made famous by national geographic were suddenly right in front of me and I couldn't believe it was real. I got out the sketchbook again and made some drawings (no photos allowed here without extra payment which I kind of liked, it felt like you were giving it more respect).
An absolute whistle stop tour of a day but one that has stood out for me. I shall definitely be going back!
Right onto musical endeavours then! Who knows what might come out of that little trip to Egypt? Anyway I'm sorry I'll stop waffling about my holiday.. I have some exciting dates for the diary coming up, I'm just keeping them close at the moment until they are fully confirmed and there are pictures to share. So in about a week I think I'll be announcing those. I've been working on putting bass lines on the new album so that gives you an idea or where we are. My method of recording is:
1. Get the bones down (guitar & vocals and percussion if available)
2. Overdubs (instrumental solos)
3.vocal overdubs (harmonies)
4. bass lines
7.duplication and celebration!
So as you can see we're nearly there! I've also been working hard on a Johnny Cash tribute act with my talented percussionist friend, Ian Holleran so I shall keep you updated with those dates too.
I've probably said enough now so I shall leave you in peace. Thank you for your unending support and for taking the time to read my rambles.
Love you all,
Greetings from the white hills of North Devon!
As I type this the second wave of snow this year is whipping its way past my window in a craze of heavy white flakes. I'm having a productive Sunday of planning out my future musical endeavours. I have recently taken the bold step of dropping a day at work, which in my world is financial madness but I felt it was the right thing to do. I was raised with the ethos of life is work; you work and you work and you work for as long as you can because that is how you survive. The trouble with that ethos is you will work yourself to death and at the end of it all you'll realise you didn't do much of what you wanted. I want to get back to doing what I love so this is the first step to achieving that.
You'll notice for example there's a new tab on the website - music tuition! I'm been tutoring for twelve years now - where does the time go! - and now that I have more time it would be lovely to have more students with a variety of instruments to teach. I'm also a lot more active on youtube, trying out tutoring videos and just singing some songs to the camera. I'm hoping to look into wedding singing too as I did one once, many moons ago, and although I probably under charged and froze to death in the process I had a lovely, memorable night. Maybe it's because I'm getting married too and I've been around a tonne of wedding fairs already this year; I realise there's a niché in the market for someone like me to come and play something soft. You can tell I've been thinking for sometime about what I would like to do and it's kind of exploded like some thought bubble. Ultimately I love to sing and perform and it will be wonderful to have more time to share more music with you.
Thank you for your continued patience and support; the comments left under new songs on Soundcloud and videos shared on Facebook often make my day and give me the motivation to keep going xx Look after each other and keep warm!
ps. I'm heading back to the studio this week (hopefully it'll be warmer by Saturday!) and also continuing to rehearse a Johnny Cash Tribute-Duo side project so much more music to come, stay tuned x