Okay this has been a strange week, I’ve had lots of ups and lots of side steps. Following on from last weeks empowering first solo gig this weeks’ second was a bit of a mixed bag. Met by hissing for not having an item of PA equipment (which was not included in the ‘please bring with you’ correspondence) I was then determined to completely go to the limits of what I was capable of and deliver a damn good show.
As you can see the banjo had its first public outing and I did at least feel like I did that so musically it was a good gig but after my set I was met by downplays and one guy even approached me asking me about the quick reference I’d made to who I’d written The Thatcher about so I explained, in great length, as he seemed interested. He then said, 'okay I didn’t want to know I’m just saying either explain yourself or say nothing.’ Right. I was so taken back I texted my friends immediately asking if it was just me! ‘No’ they replied haha.
That wasn’t really the end of it but lets just say the evening finished with a carrot being dangled in my face and someone basically saying oh you can’t have the carrot unless you’ve got a band backing you. As I’ve told many people of late I’m not looking to replace anyone and am frankly enjoying the free time and opportunities that come with being solo.
I am currently listening to the first mixes of Geography with a critical ear - which is proving harder than once thought as I keep joining in with the singing ><! There are definitely some surprises on this album, guitars that sound like pianos for one. It’s nice to hear songs that were about to be dropped completely come alive and even better to hear songs that I thought would skeletal be bulked with vocals and unexpected twists. I am a bit taken back by it to be honest with you, here I have a completely different album from what I set out to make but I’m quite proud of it. It is different, it is not Evergreen II it stands alone which is something I always hope to say about each album. I think the most wonderful thing about this album is the clear influence of 1950s pop on 'Happiest when Barefoot & Kissing’ which happened purely by chance in an effort to fill in for the lack of bass. I was raised on Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran and I think it’s never been clearer in my music than now so it’s nice to have something to pay homage to those legends.
So getting back to the big ol’ plug ;) Geography is just about on track to be released on September 10th at The Queen’s Theatre. Kiera Osment is confirmed for support and she will be joining me on some original tracks which we’ve begun practising. Honestly I know I always say this about Kiera but she really is phenomenal, I am very much looking forward to sharing the stage with her once more :-)
Phew so there you have it! I’m going to have a bit of a rest now til the 17th then it’s off to Japan! Scary how fast time is going now!
Talk soon x
Hello again :-)
Apologies for being a day late I was swimming in the sea til about 8pm last night so admin kind of went out the window... had a great time playing for the lovely Pam Page at her retirement party despite being bitten by the most evil of all horse flies. There I was in the middle of a melodic vocal run and I felt the bite of a cretin, looked down at my knee and saw him there just drinking away at my blood as if it was okay. I decided to be professional and finish the song first before swiping him off - he stayed the entire time feasting on my knee - and by the end of it I walked away with a big lump on my knee which is still hot and swollen today! Good job they had pavlova haha it was a lovely party though and I did in all honesty have a great time and was honoured to play.
So moving on from my sore knee it is dun dun DUHN three weeks until I fly to Japan for a holiday. I realise this is probably the first time I've mentioned it on here so I'll quickly explain the plan. Basically land in Tokyo, bullet train it to Osaka & Kyoto and basically visit shrines, museums, Geishas, Bamboo Forests and Rollercoasters, land in Bristol knackered a mere three weeks from the album launch. Gulp. Yes I am bricking it, lots of deadlines coming up and the date of geography is very much out of my hands at the moment but hey a little blind faith can go a long way!
I'm very excited about playing Hollocombe Music Club this Friday in Winkleigh Community Centre. So excited in fact I've been printing new price lists, mailing lists, set lists (every kind of list....) and even ran the set this morning. For some reason it inspired me to write a new song about dragonflies but I don't question it, just go with the magic :) I'm supporting the Boys from Melbourne Street, who have also provided the best soundtrack while I've been printing all my lists off, so it's all looking dandy at this rare and precise moment in time!
And so I think I'll leave on an excited, chaotic, happy note of hysteria!
After a long and some what laborious week I can honestly say I am at last feeling positive! I've got a couple promo gigs lined up for August - which is a strange as I had initially planned a break till September - which I'm really looking forward to and I am really working hard and aiming to finish recording Geography next Sunday. I can now confirm that Mike Lake will not be featured which is a shame but I am respecting his decision hence all the hard work to redo some of the tracks. So what can you expect? Vocals. Epic vocals. That's if I can keep this groggy throat at bay!
I have also begun planning my set for The Queen's Theatre and I'm hoping to really bring you something a bit special. I've been resurrecting some old tunes, learning some new ones and reworking Geography. No doubt the set list will change numerous times before September 10th but I guarantee you it'll be a night to remember and hey if I'm looking forward to it you guys should too :) smiles all around!
So for once guys I'm going to keep this short. Wish me luck in the studio and I shall be in touch.
Love you lots,
It's a wrap! At 1pm Greenwich meantime yesterday it was confirmed that after hours of me layering vocals and singing just about as low as I can go, the recording of Geography was finished!!!!
Words cannot describe the sheer elation that was felt! This has by far been the most expensive and tricky record to produce, it's also the longest as I've got a whopping twelve tracks to sort through in order to bring you a fluid, well paced masterpiece! Well that's the plan anyway.... I'm aiming for ten tracks although that could grow to eleven but we'll see. I want you to get a good mix and not be bored after the first 2 tracks - pacing is everything. It's obviously going to be a very different recording from what it became, although I suppose it might not be too dissimilar from how I had originally envisaged it before I collaborated. Either way I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised and hopefully as pleased with it as I am.
On other news I have begun working with Jericho for the *finger crossed* album launch at The Queen's Theatre in September. I am also looking at collaborating with Kiera Osment again, who joined me in The Plough Arts Centre last October. I'm looking at making it a night to remember with some unusual arrangements and sparkling melodies and who knows, maybe an unexpected cover or two ;-)
I know things have been a bit up in the air lately but I'm ready to bring them back down to Earth and give you the music I dream of - I literally do dream some of this up! So thank you, as ever, for sticking with me. Thank you to anyone who ever came to one of my shows. Thank you to the musicians I have worked with and learnt from and thank you to the friends that have been there - you know who you are.
I can't believe that a ten minute song that started at the end of friend's bed - on their guitar no less - has become the title track and umbrella for this album. This record will without a doubt be a milestone for me and I could not of written it or completed it without your support.
Sorry it has been a while, a lot has happened and I felt it best not to post until I was sure of what to say so lets try and treat this blog as a meal, make everything bitesize, start with the filler and end with the good stuff you’ve been waiting for (in my case that perfect cheese cake where the biscuit to cheese ratio is 3:1).
Mike and I are no longer working together. That doesn't mean to say we hate each other or have any ill feelings towards each other it was simply a case of wanting different things. It has been a tough decision to make but I feel it was probably the best course of action for us to take. I have enjoyed my time working with Mike and will certainly look back on it with fond memories. I realise a lot of you are probably doing the ‘oh em gee’ look of horror right now and thinking “what about the album?” Well yes the thought has obviously crossed my mind and I think rather than scrap the music that we have both worked so hard on, with Mike’s permission, I would like to release it along side the other tracks seeing as the concept of Geography is where I am now in my life and is largely about the places and characters I have met along the way that have inspired me. It therefore seems fitting to include them as they are but that is obviously subject to discussion and I’ll keep you posted, either way I will be continuing recording imminently.
Gig wise I have sadly had to cancel B-Bar and Mr Wolf’s as the trains in the south west (particularly those on the Tarka Line) do not run late enough and so with work the next morning I am unable to play as I cannot get back in time. Words cannot express how gutted I am to not be playing these venues but as a friend put it, “there will be other gigs” but then as I responded, “yeah but I really wanted to play those!” Oh well these things do happen I suppose but as always there are more shows on the horizon and as soon as I have them confirmed you will be the first to know.
On the mandolin front we have a pickup! yay! Which has and will continue to make gigging easier and allow me to stand up every now and then as I realise it must get a tad dull for you guys in the audience watching me. I like to mix it up ;)
Well I guess that’s just about it for now, as if that wasn’t enough to contend with! Thank you for being patient with me .