Friday, September 20, 2019

Beautiful Years, out NOW!

*Post updated 27/09/2019

Last month, myself and Ftumch!! colleague Rob found ourselves wandering the great outdoors with Rob doing plenty of filming.

Well that film, along with our latest single, Beautiful Years is released September 27th, 2019!



Stream/Download HERE!



Seen wandering around the countryside recently...

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A special night in Sandbach, California.

It was always going to be a special night. A private gig to celebrate the joint birthdays of Martin and Elaine, who apart from being a lovely couple, have booked us to play their gorgeous annual garden parties over several years. Martin has connections in the music industry going right back to the heady 1970s and for this gig, he’d booked Barry ‘The Fish’ Melton from Country Joe and the Fish fame (part of Woodstock history!). Barry having been one of the most influential psychedelic guitarists from the 70s, having also toured with Dinosaurs.
These days ‘The Fish’ is touring with a 2nd guitarist, Frenchman Stephane. Together that make THE most laid-back, sunny Californian 70’s style music you could imagine, with some soulful French numbers thrown in too.
Truly sublime!

Like the other acts on, many of our musical and poetic friends did a turn, we played a short set before Barry and Stephan took to the stage, but we gave it some gusto, both we, and the crowd, seemed to really enjoy it. Thanks to Mike  Aichison of We Are Nomad, who played a lovely set, for the photo of us. 




*This post may well be updated on receipt of any further photographs etc from the night.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Hatching a baseline.

Today I’ve been involved in bass-playing capacity to do some tracking on Tim Lee’s next album, along with partner in musical crimes, Rob. Top producer in these parts Glyn Sutton of Colossus Productions.
The day started unusually with a 2nd brood of chicks requiring some help to get off the bow of my boat and into the canal with mum (where 2 of them has already made it). Thankfully this proved easy, and the recording session that followed proved just as smooth, unflappable, without too many quacks.
I know Tim likes a quick turnaround from recording to release, so I imagine this will be out in a matter of months.
Should be good, some great songs on there!

Rob (left) and myself.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Broken, but a blast!

The Blue Yellows at the Alsager Music Festival.

Having had a weird virus giving me the strangest bunch of uncomfortable and exhausting   symptoms since May the 3rd on and off, it was nice, at last, to play a gig while feeling well (though the virus had ‘gone under’ for a couple of days at a time in the past before returning with renewed vigour so... touch wood!).

In an ideal world, bands would get an hour or so to sound check, and I’ve even worked with pro bands who have taken up to two and a half hours to perfect their sound to the venue and iron out any problems, so these festivals we often play where you get a really quick turnaround, it’s a big challenge to try and get it right for all involved, and our sound engineer Matt, stage manager and whole team did a great job!

However, I did manage to snap a string in the first few seconds of the opening song (first time in quite a while as I’ve been using these NY Elixir strings which have an extra carbon component, and so are extra strong ((and expensive!)) ). So while I ran off stage, grabbed the spare guitar and tuned it, Em played the intro to the next tune over and over for a bit, until I was ready.. such pros, this lot on The BYs

We also got a brand new song into the set, ‘Who put Bella in the Witch Elm?’ and the gang played it so well, sounded pretty raucous from where I was anyway, in fact the whole set did.

It was great to catch good friends in The Dying Lights who sounded more laid back and melodic than usual, but in a good and groovy way. Good friends were all around the seating areas in fact, so nice to see you all and have at least a tinsy catch-upette. 
The Dying Lights on flowering form.

It was a blast!

Spot the new song?


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Dialing it in at the Altar of Sound.

I guess you're not supposed to plug straight into a brand new PA that you've never tried out before, minutes before you go on, but first impressions are good!

This was a quirky, unusual gig for us but good fun, taking place as it did at the fabulous vinyl-emporium, cafe and community hub for like-minded-folk that is The Electric Church ! A place I can't recommend enough. When you get the chance - go!

It was also a significant one for us because we (by which I mean Em!) had collected for us a brand spanking new PA system!

We only bring our own PA for gigs like gigs at pubs, cafes, hotels and the like whereas many of the gigs we do are at festivals or bespoke music venues with a house-PA system and engineer. Our original PA system plus all the important stuff that goes with it like mics, mic stands, leads and so on was bought in n incredible hurry just before we got our 1st pub gig. We'd never been entirely happy with it's frankly quite 'muffly' sound (a factor which was really brought home to us when we tried to play some MP3 files through it for some 'walk on music' but it just sounded way too aweful). The speakers are incredibly heavy too which doesn't attract any further love from us before and after a gig!

Although Em checked the PA had worked and so on last night at her home, at this gig we were literally plugging all our instruments in, setting everything on 'center' choosing what kind of reverb we wanted (an unavoidable choice to make), then doing a volume-only-level check for a quick sound-check, then a quick toastie and an epresso and we're on. NOT the way to do it really, but we got away with it! 

Happily the vocals sounded clearer than ever before with the old PA, and I'm sure after a forthcoming rehearsal where we can get to dial in the right settings for each instrument, things will only get much better still.

Our good friend, indeed producer of Kitchen Sessions and occasional BY, Tim Lee wrote his  own blog post on the event on his site at https://timleesongs.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/the-blueyellows-live-at-the-electric-church-22-06-19/  (Thanks Tim!) You won't be repeating yourself if you've read it as I've mainly blurbled on about the PA (look, it feels like Christmas, OK!!?).

Many thanks to Jimi and all at the fantastic Electric Church and all her lovely church-goers!

A happy upshot of the gig (originally scheduled for release week) is that you can now buy CD copies of Kitchen Sessions



Thursday, June 06, 2019

The best thing since sliced bread?

Watch the brand new video for Toast The Night!
Premiers June 7th, 2019 at noon.




Monday, May 27, 2019

All kinds of Audlem!

By which I mean 'awesome' of course...

And IT IS; from the very enthusiastic, friendly crowds who braved the 'traditional' Bank Holiday weather, to the wonderful team of music professionals who do everything possible, to not only help this festival punch far above the weight that any picturesque country village of this size ought to, but a with a helpful team who can and will do everything to sort everything possible for the artists in a calm and thoroughly 'unflapped' way, giving us a great sound of course too. Thank You!

Our good friend and collaborator Tim Lee was among the familiar faces in the crowd, and he composed his own blog post on our set at https://timleesongs.wordpress.com/2019/05/27/the-blueyellows-live-at-the-audlem-festival-2019/ thank you Tim!

Audlem - we love you, and hope to be back soon!
Rain didn't stop play

Crowds already gathering at sound check.

Pic by Tim Lee

#YC19 Festival

We were festival virgins for Your City Festival, set among the still fairly numerous (for today) music venues in the centre of Stoke On Tent.
For those who don't know, the city centre is Hanley, though most from other parts of the country have never heard of it, confusion added by the fact that the town of 'Stoke', though in Stoke On Trent, is today a bit of an offshoot from the main centre of things in Hanley. On top of this 'the D-Road' is an A-road duel carriageway... Oh I'll shut up now..

Anyway it was a pleasure to play #YCF19 in the tasty environs of Mart's Brewhouse and Tap and we felt like we were on form and playing well, albeit just to other musicians who had just been on, or were about to go on.
Good fun nonetheless!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Video Killed a Barbeque Star.


Last night we descended on the location for the first video-shoot for The Blue Yellows   since  'No Tobacco'. The setting was a real-life BBQ at our very own drummer Dave's place with Rob and Ang behind the cameras.
I travelled there with Rob and Ang who, like me both suffer from Social Anxiety,  so normally the thought of going to something like a BBQ could be quite a daunting ordeal. In addition Ang and Rob were both exhausted after full days and I was still feeling ill(!).
Nevertheless our lovely hosts and jovial atmosphere made it a joy, now the real work begins, the endless hours of editing for Rob! Thanks mate!


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Thank you Dr Stage!




'Dr Stage' refers to the phenomenon known throughout the music industry (and, presumably, the other performing arts) whereby no matter unwell you are, once you hit the stage the adrenaline, public expectation, nerves and excitement will mean you can still  perform with great gusto, in spite of how you felt moments before. There is also of course the famous adage, 'The Show Must Go On'. You just don't cancel a gig unless it is a physical impossibility. There are just so many people you would let down, it's just a no-go unless it really is impossible.

This wasn't the most Ill that I've been on stage either, that was at a Boxjam event a few years ago when I really thought I might collapse on stage at times.

Having done the previous gig with a sore throat and general achyness (see previous post), by this one the virus (assuming that's what it is) has developed into something really quite weird, while having general aches all over, in addition to this I seen to have one tendon somewhere that is so sore, I can barely use that part of the body, yet the next day it is completely fine and another area is afflicted... Well weird!
I'd so far had a left arm that couldn't even lift an empty bag, on gig-day it was absolutely fine but my right wrist really hurt on show-day. As I write now (the day after the gig, though technically it finished this morning) my right ankle is so sore it feels as if I've badly sprained it and can hardly put any weight on it, though my wrist is fine.

Anyway, this was the big city bar of Flanagan's Apple on the famous Mathew Street in that mega focus of music worldwide, Liverpool, with Rickety Wireless
It was a long gig, 10pm until 1am but I like that, bring more like this on, and consequently we had rehearsed a whole extra bunch of tunes to perform, in fact the 'newest' ones seeming to go down best with this big, raucous party-mad crowd. The crowd were really, really up for it, even getting worryingly raucous at times with stage invasions and some (really bad) singing by uninvited guests on stage,
Great fun over all, thanks to everyone there!

Of course the second I stepped off stage I felt as if I'd just been in the ring for 3 hours with a selection of histories greatest heavyweight boxers, and even stepping back onto my floating home in the early hours was something of an agonised move. 

One reason I do this though, is that every gig is something of an adventure, and long after the shivery skin, the aching bones, the waking in pools of sweat has gone, the memories of this great night will live on.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sublyme in the Windy City.

Photo by Pete Alcock

Soundcheck-selfie by Dave
L-R; Me, Em, Simon, Dave
Although May, and following some exceptionally warm weather, the sunshine belied the freezing cold Northerly winds, exacerbated by the fact that this part of the world is very hilly, windy and has it's own micro climate. 
This was the Lymelight Festival in Stoke On Trent, we arrived early, some using the extra time to catch a local cafe. Both Em and I were a bit under the weather, Em with some stomach pains and me with a sore throat. This didn't effect my singing though at one point, in between verses I thought I felt my throat feel as if it were about to disintegrate or something, but it lasted the set, thankfully, though not the following day!

Harder to deal with was finger dexterity for playing, I don't think I made any mistakes but may have missed out some of the 'notes in between the notes' sounds and the like. The weather also ensured that the crowd was both smaller than you would expect and very wrapped up! I should've worn my extra-warm beany hat, I'd assumed the sun would've managed to make a bigger impact on the temperature.

Nevertheless, a well organised gig and a great sound on stage too. Thank you Lymelight!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Party Central.


Rickety Rehearsal space.
Frogs and toads have their spring mating frenzies, the Easter Island crabs have their thing and the people of Cheshire and beyond have the Nantwich Jazz Festval, an incredible 5 day Easter Party that not coincidentally, generally comes along with the return of the warmer weather.
I played here again for Rickety Wireless, having not played together for months, so we booked out the afternoon for a rehearsal.
It was a great fun gig and we even managed to put some extra tunes in.










Thanks to Tim Lee for this photo, read more about Nantwich and this festival on Tim's blog post at https://timleesongs.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/nantwich-and-me-a-love-letter-easter-weekend-at-the-nantwich-jazz-festival/








Thursday, April 18, 2019

From here to Ftumch!!

Download the brand new debut track by FTUMCH!!



Rob Collins was first (to me) a photographer who appeared at one of the Words and Music Fest events, I then got to know him as a festival organiser, a Ukulele tutee and a friend. He has been involved in music for a long time, not least as the bassist in the awesome award-winning punk band Imbalance.
Somehow, Ukulele lessons evolved into getting involved in this exciting new music project with Rob as a co-writer. Rob is a prolific creator/producer of tracks, tending to release about a track a week.
I think it's fair to say, that what we have started doing with Ftumch!! is some kind of music that neither of us would come up with individually, which it makes all the more exciting to be involved with.

Tuesday's video shoot, with help from Ang (and watched by pusscats)..

..and here's the result..


Back in December, producing the track (more to come..)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Mixing it up for Neve.


25th March 2019

Music for Team Neve Fundraising Night
Bar B at The Market Tavern, Sandbach

To many in music, Neve is the name of a classic mixing desk/console, and The Blue Yellows were certainly mixing it up with some very diverse acts for a special fundraising night for Neve, a young child with a number of very serious neurological conditions (please see the link at the bottom of the text) for which money is needed for support from specialist American medical institutions on top of the quality health care she is receiving through the NHS.

Typically, a musical evening might be of cover acts to provide easily accessible entertainment or original acts for a more discerning music-loving crowd with an ear for new sounds. However the mix seemed to work really well, with the audience lapping up the new music along with the classics. As well as my gang, acts included host for the evening as well as sound-engineer, stage manager and singer-songwriter Dayve Dean, Tim Lee, Luke Stephenson, Bitter and Twisted, and Footsteps who also kindly lent their cajon, thanks guys!

Although Monday-night gigging provides an incredibly tiring prospect, having not yet recovered from the weekend, and having to get back into my routine of working hours through the day and night through the week as well, I'm expecting to look back on this with fondness when (if) I recover.
Please see the Team Neve crowdfunding page at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamneve


Fabulous turn-out of charitable music-goers for a Monday Night!
Thanks to Tim Lee for this pic of The BYs

Pre-soundcheck

Saturday, March 09, 2019

A flood of nice words!

We've just had this ace review from one of the most highly respected music blogs around, Here Comes the Flood;

"Eccentric, funny, tongue-in-cheek vaudevillian garage rock. with enough musical references to keep the music geeks at bay, like the Take Me To The River bit in Spiral Dive. Singer Jonathan Tarplee is an old fashioned balladeer turned indie rock musician, but the band's secret weapon is Emma Alcock with her uncanny knack for syncopation on both accordion and keyboards give the music an off-kilter quality that make the songs jump up and down in a good way."

Read the full review at https://werksman.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-blue-yellows-kitchen-sessions.html



Saturday, March 02, 2019

Release.

March 1st 2019 - The Blue Yellows 'Kitchen Sessions' release Show.

If you're an unhealthy combination of worrier and control freak, then the many months of build up to meeting all the deadlines on the way to the successfully release of an album on time are a prolonged struggle comprising of garnering various people, software programmes, organisations, materials, third parties and so on... all against the relentless progress of time, any one thing threatening to cause a postponement of release-day and therefore scuppering months of promotional drip-feeds, press packs sent to music press, photography, conventional press releases and so on. Such a delay would then either end up being one of many months so that it can promoted properly again, or resulting in a bit of a non-event.
So it's a real sense of contented release I find myself in now, knowing The Blue Yellows can go back to being a gigging band again. Easy! 😉

What a lovely night you lot gave us at Tom's Tap and Brewhouse though, much of the talk afterwards while signing albums and so on, was how the young duo The Bugs owned that stage and played so well, these comments coming from a very knowledgable 'music-crowd' that really know their stuff. Pretty amazing for youngsters Owain and Dylan still at primary school!

Tim Lee, the brilliant singer-songwriter, friend and producer of the new tracks on this album, provided a similarly pitch-perfect tone for the night with his honest, emotionally and texturally rich songs.

The audience was full of familiar faces from near and far, many coming from Manchester as it worked out, and from further afield, some really good friends too, the only problem at an event like this is really having hardly any free moments to speak much.

To those of you there, thanks for giving us such a great night and sharing the happiness, contentment, new tunes and sense of... release.

This is a set-list pic from Tim's own blog-post on this event which you can read, in full HERE.

Tim Lee on superb form, photo by Rob Collins

Joined for the finale by Tim and The Buggs, photo by Rob Collins
You can now get to the new album on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer or whichever is your favourite streaming or download site, or order the limited edition CD, before they go, below!