This is the vid from my Lomax gig, playing Scratch the Surface. The other vids are now up on YouTube
Last week was awesomely busy. There seem to be a lot of people inspired to learn to play guitar for the summer. This for me is very good. This means I have been spending increasing hours in the first half of my week meeting new guitar students. This is good!
Interspersing my increasing demand as a tutor came a nice little couple of days off for my long-ago-booked gigs in London and Brighton. These two gigs have been on my list for a few months so I was very excited when they finally arrived. With the National Express and Mega Bus as my chosen method of rock n roll transport I headed down to Greenwich on Wednesday towards The Pelton Arms. The British summer has so far being a British summer at its best…this of course means a lot of rain. This meant that en route to gig I got absolutely drenched. I stayed in a hostel near Deptford Bridge. Round the corner from the hostel was a piece of paper stuck to the wall that had ‘Cardboard City’ written on it, with an arrow pointing down the road.., this did make me question whether I had made a mistake..
So…London…my gig was with Icarus Club run by the lovely Phil Dearing. Very friendly and supportive. I sold copies of my album and had a return invitation. This I take as positive. The bar was some decent real ale and a pay-what-you-want for food deal on a Wednesday. 🙂 I played and ran off into the night towards the Cutty Sark and onto cardboard city. All was well.
Up early and I jumped on a bus to Brighton. Pre-gig I met one of my good friends Mark M Thompson from uni that I haven’t seen in a few years. We obviously hit a few pubs and pints of beer and had the quickest catch-up, compressing 6 years into 3 hours. Knowing I had to sober up a tad in order to play a gig of decent caliber we headed for some food, bid goodbye and I again ran off into the rain towards the Brunswick.
A friendly gig where I also got chance to see the fabulous ‘The Finds‘ headline. Very tight band. The sound was great and there were a few familiar faces from the Pool there too. Unexpected and very welcome. I met some really nice people who like my music too.
I stayed the night in another hostel in which at 4am a massive fight broke out upstairs by seemingly somebody who was very upset about his bed… The morning hit and I took a long walk down the sea front, had an espresso in the Alchemist Cafe and begun my 9 hour coach journey back to Liverpool. On our stop off at London a guy tried to get on the coach with a Tarantula….he couldn’t quite grasp why the driver said no….:/
Done., looking forward to many more trips and gigs!
This weekend was a corker!
It began with a very, very early morning start to head down to Clevedon. I’ve had this planned for a couple of months now (since Jan), when the lovely Bob of Bob’s Folk Show helped me to spread my musical name around a tad and I was introduced to Jon Earl through the ever important life source Facebook. Jon runs a show called Songs from the Shed. It’s renouned for hosting a mixture of quality emerging and emerged acts. The one before me was Paul Heaton from Beautiful South/Housemartins. Very excited I was to do this day trip and musical quest and see what this legendary shed was all about.
Jon started Songs from the Shed up a couple of years ago after wondering what to do with the shed in his garden. A pub-based conversation occurred and the direction was to invite musicians to play in the shed, video them and upload it online. Awesome. Well, down the line, 900, 000 youtube views later and whole lotta good reputations brings us to my weekend.
I have to say, I got quite excited. I did my warm up in the back seat of the car in a pub car park and then headed to meet Jon at his ace house down the lane. Jon’s a good bloke. We had a cup of tea and then headed to the Shed. It was extremely surreal but awesome. I literally unpacked my guitar and got stuck into 3 of my songs from Cycle Grace Pulse Break. Jon video’d them on a hand-held camera. No sophisticated mics or even a tripod. This thing is all straight up hand held, microphone on the camera. Happy days. Old school my fave.
The shed is full of things that have been collected or given, there’s loads of things in there to keep people like me interested for a very long time. And the bathroom has it’s own life entirely. I could have spent half a day in there just reading the walls. 🙂
With the patter of rain on the roof we were done and dusted in 1 take each. Time for a cuppa and a chat and off to find fish and chips by the sea! Incidentally it felt like we walked into Fawlty Towers for the pleasure of this but what a cool day!
Sunday was spent climbing Mount Snowdon with Blythe. 2 1/2 hours up and 1 1/2 back down because we were going to miss the last bus for the car! Today my legs are having real issues walking down stairs. Good job I get to spend it sitting on my butt!
Feeling pretty postive about this whole thing! 🙂
This weekend I spent in Bristol.
2 gigs. One at Spring Gardens Tavern which happened to be closing down the day after! Friendly, music supporting staff with a great sound system. My fave grungy kind of venue. They only play CDs from acts that have played there so I slipped them a copy of my ‘Cycle Grace Pulse Break‘ for future sonic pleasure ;). I was last on the bill for this one so really had to monitor my beer drinking speed. I managed this successfully but made up for it afterwards. This meant the tourist day of Bristol was had with a faint headache…
Saturday was tourist central. After a leisurely walk into the city we headed to an event called ‘Feed the 5000’. For us this meant free tasty curry and salad in the sun. What it also meant was that all of the food used came from sources that had been rejected by supermarkets because they weren’t the right shape etc (potato, carrot rejects etc…think of the Raggy Dolls but food!). Awesome. Sunny day on the grass. We also managed to soak up some Davinci arwork in the museum and some top grafitti in Stokes Croft including a couple of Banksys. Topped off with a coffee in Cafe Kino. That eve came gig number two at Marlows.
Swanky hotel bar with an awesome slide Blues guitarist playing when we arrived. I want a stomp box and a Cigar Box Guitar now :). I had a great response from the audience, job’s a good un! Cheers to Mark Venus Music for giving this out of towner some gigs.
Loved Bristol. We were also very hospitably put up for the two nights with the Callan family who very much looked after us 🙂
Sunday was spent with an early(ish) start toward Forest of Dean for some cycling and a cruise upto Cannock Chase on the way back to Liverpool for a second installment of Red trail mountain biking. Failing to realise the trail was 21k of severe uphills and awesome downhills by the time we arrived back at the car at 8pm I was absolutely broken.
In bed by 10.30pm. It’s been a while since that happened!
Next gigs are IPO Festival in Liverpool:
15th May @ Cavern Club
18th May @ Cavern Pub
Rock on! x
After a little bit of waiting my debut album Cycle Grace Pulse Break is now on Spotify for all of those streaming experiences..
I’m fairly new to radio sessions but 2011 brought me a spurt of them and after booking in for this session in October last year I realised it had arrive pretty quickly. I’m mostly pretty confident and chilled with this situation, the worst thing that tends to happen to me if I think about it (which I try not to..) is that I start to think I’m going to forget my lyrics whilst live on air 🙂 .. it’s not happened yet…
I REALLY enjoy journeys and so heading down via London with a coffee and a book and my guitar was great fun for me. I get all philosophical and creative. I felt like a muso…:) a proper one. So… Bob’s Folk Show.. I met Bob in Chertsey and we headed to a pub where Keith Moon used to drink. A beer, a halloumi sandwhich and some good old convo about being independant and sticking it to ‘the man’ we then headed to the radio shack which is next door to the hostpital in Wey. Awesome 🙂 proper studio, bit of vintage about it, I loved it. Bob’s massively into his music so we chatted and he introduced me to some artists he liked and then we did 2 hours of his show. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to play 9 of my tracks live inbetween listening to some fab independant musicians. Great show, great bloke and I’m looking into sorting some gigs down in London in the next few months. I stayed in a hostel that night in Pimlico and as I arrived at midnight (after Bob very kindly drove me after the show) I had the amusing situation of having to negotiate making my bed in the dark whilst 12 other people were sleeping. I like random. I woke up pretty early and walked out the door to see the Thames and for a little saunter across London . It was a beautifully lit morning…
If 2012 is all like this I will be HAPPY! I urge you to check out Bob’s Folk Show. If you’re into decent, high quality acoustic music that’s not generic…..
As my final mail of 2011 I mainly wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported and enjoyed what I’ve been upto creatively this year whether it be music or art. Cheers! And thanks to those I’ve shared the gigs with. It’s been a great and varied year. My favourite!
2011 started off with my album released and ready to gig. I spent the year sending messages to magazines, reviewers and radio shows and got a significant amount of positive feedback. All the reviews i’ve had so far are on my website and I’ve had some great local help from Seven Streets, LSU, Liverpool Acoustic, Radio Merseyside, Nerve and this month Good Vibrations gave me my final review of the year.
Nationally I had positive reviews from FATEA, R2, MU Mag, The Girls Are and Americana. In terms of radio I had a fab experience on ICON Radio, KVFM and ‘Folkscene’ on BBC Radio Merseyside after being invited by Mr Stan Ambrose. As his only guest I had the whole show and had my entire album played. Definately a moment of pride and acheivement. There’s has also been great support coming my way from Bob’s Folk Show to the South!
Over the last 12 months my gigs were a little chocolate box of mixture. December culminated in two great gigs, the penultimate in LLanberis, Wales after which I went mountain biking in Snowdonia and the final gig of the year at Sound Women in Huddersfield, which was preceded by a traffic-laden, 4 hour journey from Liverpool!
Work – wise I’ve spent an incredible time building up my guitar students and also taken on more commissions art-wise. The most recent two being illustrations for a childrens book and a painting for a present I’m half way through for a customer in USA.
My plans for 2012 are of the writing kind. New music for the new year and the forming of a tour, possibly Europe. I’ll definitely be gigging as ever around the UK. Plans for the capital city are afoot. 31st Jan I will be playing live in session on Bob’s Folk Show. http://www.radiowey.co.uk
The shows I’ve done and art I’ve created will very soon be on the site!
Again, many thanks and I wish everyone the best for the end of 2011 and most definitely 2012!
See you there
Well in all honesty considering I’m bearing a hangover, post 80’s-themed birthday party of friend, even if that hour hadn’t been taken against my will for season transition reasons it probably would have been lost in sleep anyway…the phantom hour of spring. The positive is that it kicked me right into gear to appreciate the beautiful peaceful Sunday vibe and do a little writing, (motivated by ‘Tick tick tick. That’s the sound of your life running out’ :))
GIGS AND REVIEWS. Last week brought me 2 great gigs and this week has brought me 2 great reviews!
Friday 18th I played in Vinyl Basement on Lark Lane. FESTIVAL EXPRESS, run by two great people Terry Gray and Hayley Blackledge. It was noisy but I knew it was a music loving crowd, this gave me greater license to be louder and more dramatic 🙂 Eye of the Tiger! It paid off. I sold a CD before I’d even put my guitar down and got some great feedback in the way of a guitar geek convo about tunings etc, love it. I love playing gigs on the Lane (most of the time), it’s like being at home; it’s where we filmed the vid for WAVE. There’s a proper buzz of creative talent around here AND it’s just round the corner from my house, perfect. Terry ended the night with some ace covers like James ‘Sit Down’, Candi Staton ‘You got the love’. Tunes that I had 7inch vinyl singles of when I was growing up. Ah shame he didn’t do Betty Boo!
On Monday I was at Studio 2 Parr St for Women’s Poetry evening. Run by Val Walsh it comprised of a varied group of ladies doing original poetry. All ages, all styles. I went down tired and left completely inspired. I played Ropeladder and Disclaimer totally unplugged and babbled nervously to my fully-attentive audience. Great! 🙂 These are the kinds of gigs that remind me of the roots of why I started writing songs, by way of expression and creativity. It can be easy to get caught up in the momentum of the business side of things. Grounding. I sold more copies of the album and had a great conversation about following your passion. I was recommended a book last year called ‘The Davinci Method’ which I found very inspirational. It had a quote:
‘Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and then go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive’ – Howard Thurman.
This really motivated my direction at the time and I ended up using it on my album cover.
The two reviews this week were awesome. The first one came on Friday by way of NERVE magazine in Liverpool by Richard Lewis and the second courtesy of Eddie Cooney for the national music magazine R2 (found in WHSmiths etc). I have to say thanks to these two gentlemen and also very glad they enjoyed the music. It’s a great motivator and it does feel that my time spent posting CDs, researching and emailing is all paying off bit by bit.
So rounding things up…
At this ‘ere party last night (in amongst people dancing in a circle wearing neon plastic in the synthesizer-infused air) a conversation was had by someone who has my CD. It was brought to my attention that I should ask people what their top 2 fave songs on CYCLE GRACE PULSE BREAK are. Great idea! My thinking is that I can do this and whichever song comes out #1 will be my next music vid…..watch this space, I’m gonna be needing your cooperation, or if you read this and feel like replying now please send me an email.
Right, I’m gonna go see if I can find this lost hour because I’m starting to miss it and I don’t want to wait until autumn to get it back..
Until next time!