Sunday, 1 March 2015

Rainy weekends, songwriting, electric guitar and looping pedal

I realised over the past few years that I've not given myself enough time to do the enjoyable parts of music making such as just chilling with a guitar and writing a new song. So have set myself a bit of a challenge to write a new song every week. 

I'm already running a little behind my schedule but the idea is to give myself time to experiment, get some ideas down and hopefully something good will come out of it. 

I've had quite a quiet weekend for a change with just one live show in so have been playing with electric guitar and a looping pedal, which are things that I've been wanting to play with for some time. 

Time will tell if anything useful comes out of me messing around with them but I can certainly think of worse ways to spend a rainy weekend. Next job: introduce myself to the world of guitar effects!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Happy Christmas

It's Christmas Eve and there have been a few fun news stories suggesting taking kids out to watch the International Space Station go overhead and telling them that it's Santa flying over.

I don't have kids and am on my own this evening but I wandered into the park by my house to watch it happen and it was surprisingly enchanting. It's great to watch it go over at any time but tonight the sun was taking the last of the light away with it and the moon was looking magical. So it helped to inspire a new song which I've called Space Station. It also gives a slight nod to a line or two in A New England which I've covered in my live set for a few years. 

I've recorded a rough demo on the iPad which I've uploaded to SoundCloud. Check it out on the embedded code below or visit 

Happy Christmas to all :-)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Alsager Music Festival today

I'm playing at the Alsager Music Festival today. My main show is at 3pm at The Meir Inn but this morning I've been busking around the town. Lots of fun!

Had a great time at the festival last year (check out for the videos) when I was playing the Sunken Garden Stage on the main festival site, Milton Park, with Dan Logan. This was all despite having heatstroke!

Thankfully feeling great today and looking forward to a fun day of music :-)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Gigging in Newcastle

I'm playing a wedding gig today at Blackfriars in Newcastle upon Tyne. I've rarely been to the city centre and as far as I remember haven't played here before. 

It's a lovely venue and a wonderful crowd here too. I'm playing totally acoustically as the venue isn't able to have amplified music which has made a really nice intimate atmosphere. Some really nice acoustics in the room too!

Violin time

I've been playing the violin tonight. I don't play as often as I'd like - party down to time, partly down to it being quite a loud instrument, party down to not being as good as I'd like to be - but always have fun when I do. 

Tonight I've put the scores aside and just had a mess about trying to play some of my songs that I'd usually sing. 

It's been really interesting to see the songs in a different light and also to see how some of the things I do vocally translate into different fingers and strings when moved to an instrument. Really gives me a good idea of how much is involved that I don't often realise. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014


Today was a rare day off for me. Much needed after gigging in Newcaste upon Tyne yesterday. I was playing totally acoustically at a wedding at Blackfriars in the city centre. It was a lovely venue and wonderful audience involving busking requests (acoustic YMCA anyone?) along with the usual covers and originals. Lots of fun but a very late drive home and had to be up early to take the hire car back. 

So today has been a mixture of sleep and rest, feeling as though I should be doing more. I did get chance to play the bouzouki for a while though (though still seem to be struggling to move away from the same few chords) and had a mess about with my Alesis SR16 drum machine which I've had for years but never really got to grips with. 

It got me thinking that it's likely that, due to changes in technology and especially the advent of digital recording, I probably have a more sophisticated recording studio set up than was used in either of the two studios I used to record my Still Life album, in terms of flexibility, amount of channels, ease of editing etc. Yet I'm still not recording as much as I'd like to and certainly not anywhere near as much as I did when I was a teenager with just an Atari ST, cheap Yamaha keyboard connected through MIDI, and a Tascam 4 track using compact cassettes.

Back then I used to dream of having a portable studio like I'd seen in some recording magazine which was really little more than a little MIDI keyboard with recording facilities for its own sounds. These days I have that much capability and much more in the form of the iphone I carry everywhere and the ipad I often have with me. Yet still use them far, far less than I would have done back then. 

It's partly down to lack of free time, working several jobs and travelling nationwide (and sometimes internationally) to play gigs. And I suppose partly down to an odd lack of motivation. 

So now I've realised this I feel as though I need to address it. I have some ideas of how to make that happen. Collaborations will hopefully be part of it and also creating a form of pressure as I'm well aware that I work much better to a deadline. 

Watch this space!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Score writing

Following on from my recent long post about wanting to learn to be better at reading and writing music I've tried to score a reasonably new song using my iPad. It's not going well so far! This is about an hour's work and it's only vaguely right. No idea at all how to notate the strummed tenor guitar part. 

Still, if you'd like a sneak peak of a new song from me then here's a taster: :-)