Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Musical "Best Bits" of 2012. What were yours?

There can only be one best or at least "most important"  bit of 2012 for me as a year which has seen the debut album release for my band, The Blue Yellows. Namely "All These Things Right Now"! We're very proud of it so please feel free to listen and download via this link below. We are more than happy for you to pay absolutely nothing at all for the download if you like we're just delighted for you to have a copy and listen.

January. Gigs at new venues including Oddie's Bar in Crewe and a new video for an old song in "Pleasure Machine" from The Applecause days.

February. Our first forays into the recording studio at Orchard. Read the studio diary HERE

March. More studio work including Mr Dayve Dean doing some guest backing vocals for us, read the March studio diary HERE

April & May Back to live rather than recording with some great gigs and my first ever gig, with the band at a favourite festival of mine, The Nantwich Jazz Festival.

June. Mixing "All These Things" in the studio and a fantastic-fun gig at The Middlewich Boat N' Folk Festival.

July. The Launch Show for "All These Things" with great support from Human Condition and Tim Lee of Suzie Does It fame. Thanks guys, and to the many who bought CDs that day and at the following shows. I also had this discerning audience, sat down ready and early for my solo set at The International Eisteddfod!

August.Great reviews came in from the good and the great in music journalism, Read them HERE Plus another great fun festival gig near Northwich which included fantastic musical friends Phil Maddocks and Sink Or Swim who had also played, in the audience.

September. All These Things T-Shirts became available. Buy one HERE.

October.Some great late festival gigs including Boxjam III and a solo set at The Levenshulme Festival.

November & December. More solo sets including my 1st proper show at the rather lovely Cafe Yes! and 3 of the 4 BYs including myself played a special send off by Liverpool's Albert Dock.

Thanks to everyone mentioned above plus many others for helping me have another fantastic year in music plus thanks to all of you who have come to shows, bought CDs, downloaded tracks or just followed my on the web. Special thanks must go to my fellow band-mates Hayley, Emma and Simon for giving my the highest of musical highs you can only reach playing live in a full band and to Dan Logan for his expertise in the studio.

2013? So far I've almost finished writing 3 brand new songs with a view to a solo album, have started having dates for my 2013 solo shows confirmed, have a video being planned for a Blue Yellows track  and will also be involved in the soundtrack to a new film, stay tuned right here to find out more!
Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true! xxx

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Trav'lin Troubadours.

Before: Arriving in central Liverpool and her dizzying bright lights, as viewed from Vincent, the van.

We had a lovely time last night, for the last scheduled gig of 2012, by "we" meaning me, Hayley, Emma from the band and 7 year old Soul making his live debut on additional percussion! The bittersweet occasion was the celebration of the life of Geoff, captain of the tall ship Zebu in The Albert Dock, Liverpool, who tragically died a few weeks ago. There were some heartfelt readings, memories of the man and an appropriately good time was jolly-well had by all of Geoff's shipmates and family.

At gigs we're used to getting free beer and free food sometimes, but this is the first time we had a password to secure our prized ale! "Live" is never averse to the odd mishap and on this occasion Emma's accordion was subject to a log-landslide no less. Luckily an accordion-tech was on hand (the place was full of sea-shantying types, many playing a song or two) to bring it back into shape and allow "D"  to be played again.  

I'm not aware of any "during" photos for now but here's a before and after at least.

After: Knutsford services in the small hours.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A low key rehearsal tonight.

Sometimes a full-on rehearsal with full stage equipment is what's needed, at others it's a low key affair like the one shown here (from a few weeks ago). The girls from the band and I are doing the same sort of thing tonight to prepare for a very special private event in Liverpool.

Hayley on mini-kit

Smiley Simon



More photos HERE

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Notes from a small Cafe - YES!

Me at Cafe yes, with the world's smallest gig-amp (unless of course, you know different?)

I would love to play more cafe gigs as part of my acoustic series of shows and here again, I got the chance to dip my caffeine-loving toe (what?) into such waters again, this time in Blythe Bridge's fab community cafe - Cafe Yes!, a friendly place which lived up to the community spirit suggested, not least because all the home-cooked food was available on a "pay what you like" basis. Nice :)
A recent trip to Preston meant an obligatory look around the local music shops and I came accross this tiny amp, sounded alright and I used it for just a little boost so I could get away with the more delicate finger-picking I do without feeling I had to thrash the strings.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Great at The Grapes

The Grapes in Stafford is to be highy recommended, great atmosphere, music-loving crowd, cool venue and fab real ale. I also felt the inspiration from my hero,Spidey,  vibing his image on my strat from the other end of the interior. This all helped in our fully recovered mode, we were ON FIRE! Also to be recommended, original Alt-Punksters Some-Day. Awesome stuff, check them out. Thanks to all the friendly people we met, especially those who bought CDs, hope you enjoy them. All in all great fun and a fitting finale to the current run of BYs gigs.

Spidey slumped above the entrance, lyrics to classic songs everywhere you look.

Alt-Punksters, Some-Day were our hosts, and they were GOOD


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Boxjam Phoar! (the show must go on and all that...)

The old show-biz adage "the show must go on" was very much to the fore of my mind as we prepared for this years' Boxjam IV, or perhaps "Boxjam Phoarr!" given the immensely talented bands and soloists playing, literally too many to mention without forgetting to leave out some of the best artists I've seen (ok heard) so, sorry in advance.... I'd pretty much been in bed since the Levenshulme festival (see previous post) with a fever and was still very much within it's grip.

Human Condition were on stage as we loaded in and sounding even better than before, I think Abbie's vocal confidence had grown allowing her to take flight over Mat's mega-keyboard sounds. Then we had the chance to really enjoy Benjamin Bloom, a real musical showman and talented pianist (throwing in plenty of classical references into this pop-oriented set) before our set, and Chimps On Death Row in full-on rockster mode after us. Hayley Strangelove introduced us on stage, herself a "must see" musical phenomenon. Our set was so short by our usual standards that it flu by (get it?) and I managed to enjoy a misery-free half hour just running on adrenaline!

Post-Chimps, I ambled  over to the Acoustic stage to see the wonderful George Borowski (allegedly "Guitar George" of "Sultans Of Swing" fame, which was a piss-take of the band seen by writer Mark Knopfler was it not???... but that's another story). Anyroadup... I'd "seen" George on youtube. It doesn't do him any justice at all. The man is a troubadour, a story-teller and something of a home-spun shaman. Go See!

Mahoosive thanks to Simon and Tina newbury of Simon J. Newbury Photography for organising, raising all the dosh for Oxfam and taking the black and white shots here. Hats off to you! x 

Thanks to Abbie from Human Condition (& "A band, A Badger & a Blog") for this pic.

Em giving it some keys. Photo Tina Newbury.

Hayley giving it some stick. Photo Tina Newbury

Me nearly giving it some puke. Photo Tina Newbury.

Simon Zenning the bass. Photo Tina Newbury.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Levenshulme Festival & a chance to wander.

Photo by Tony Gribbon (copyright
Yes it was VERY cold!
I'm a confirmed country bumpkin but oddly this gives me a child-like glee and excitement when I hit the bright lights of the big city, gasping in awe at every turn at the hustle, colour (i.e. not just greens and browns), the fact that you can buy more than just milk and sugar in the shops and the immense socio-cultural diversity it brings together. This being an afternoon gig, I had the chance to go for a wander, albeit in the exceptionally cold, sleepless, a little hungover and increasingly feverish state I found myself in (so I didn't get far!). Levenshulme turned out to be an delightfully friendly place by the way by the way. Lovely.  I also got to see some great acts including Zacc Rogers and Tracey Browne.
A Gorgeously sunny day but the 1st really cold snap of the winter.
Some very cool busking, 50 meters behind me, others joined in on djembes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Want to get signed? Why, why, why???

Photo by Dorota.
I continue to be amazed at the number of bands and artists who are desperate, yes actually desperate to be signed to a record label. There was a time not that long ago when to have a record deal was the only way you could possibly even dream about recording any of your music and getting it "out there". Now I can understand that there might be some good record deals to be had by organisations which will actually nurture you, promote you and allow you to develop your art over a reasonable period and give you masses of exposure, but I'm sure these are very few and far between. On top of this is the fact that any of you reading this I'm sure are quite capable of setting up your own record label, taking on some bands and trying to make money out of them one way or another (but what's in it for the artist?).  Surely, unless the dream-deal comes along.. the way forward must be "self-signed", "DIY", call it what you will. It may mean lots of hard work promoting, poster-designing, website management, distributing, constructing, shmoozing, hustling and so on, but at least you don't have to sign away your musical direction/image/soul away to the man. Here's a glimpse into the BYs factory, putting some CD copies of All these things right now together. Thanks for the photo Dorota x

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


We have a few T-shirts of a new design based on the EP cover. Some good friends of the band make things so much easier by offering to take on jobs that would eat hugely into what little time we have left after writing, rehearsing, day jobs, promoting -oh and blog... in a self-signed, independent band... in this case our mate Tim sorted these. Thanks Tim!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Toy.

I bought this recently from and as recommended by Neil from United Breaks. It helps me create very beautiful reverb sounds and dramatic looping effects. Coming to my solo gigs soon...

Talking of gigs;
Oct 27th - Levenshulm Festival, Manchester

October 28th - Boxjam Festival, Crewe (with The BlueYellows)

November 8th - The Grapes, Stafford (with The BlueYellows)

November 10th - Cafe Yes, Blythe Bridge

(full details via the widget on the right- get clicking)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The naming of the parts

Us guitar players like to give our favourite planks names. I decided a few weeks ago to call my vintage Tokai Strat 'Il Pirata' or 'The Pirate' as inspired by some of the antics of The Blue Yellows & friends, partly the colour and partly because of this guy, one of my heroes, albeit a troubled anti hero. Marco RIP.

This should be pretty exciting - and it's our 3rd Birthday.

The Band at Boxjam, Coming soon.
Please see for full details of this exciting festival in Crewe (opposite the railway station).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dedication, that's what you need.

We recently asked, via the band's facebook site, for fans of the band to send in photos of themselves wearing Blue Yellows T shirts. Here's a couple to start with, we have some more to post on an album on facebook, but do feel free to send us any pics of yourself photographed perhaps with the EP, in one of our T shirts, poster or in some other way connected with the band. You can post them to the facebook site ( or email them to Cheers, we really appreciate it! xxx
Superfan Tim in his home made T (based on the EP cover). Thanks Tim, we're going to have some more of these made!

A more glamorous one (sorry Tim) from Rachel wearing a "No Tobacco, No Jesus" T-shirt in Antigua

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recent reviews (updated to include Oliver Arditi article).

Been busy doing lots of nice gigs and festivals recently (see the FaceBook site for lots of photos). We've also been delighted with all the lovely feedback from you guys and these great reviews for the new Ep and live shows recently. Just click on the image to read the full review;
Here Comes The Flood EP review; "Lo-fi quirky folk rock from the UK...  Powerful voice... stand-out track is the jump blues rocker No Tobacco... take note of the good time music backing vocals". Click on pic to read full review.

Oliver Arditi EP review; ", big beats, open spaces, wide vistas and a pronounced but un-histrionic soulfulness.. commendably uninterested in fashion.. their songs are passionate, humorous, communal sounding expressions..Engaging" Click on the pic to read full review.

Radicals Rising EP review; "Rare vocal tone.. eerie guitar.. intense, delicate melodies" Click on pic to read the full review.

Stoke Sounds Live review; "These guys really do pack a punch... humour and acerbic lyrics". Click on pic to read the full review


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"All these things" CD launch

Tim Lee (2nd left) joined us on stage for "No Tobacco". Photo by Liz Wells, thanks Liz x
As I was quoted as saying in the local press “We have so many special friends and loyal supporters in Sandbach that it seems like the obvious place for a really friendly, relaxed, launch show for our record.... We’ve also gone for an afternoon time-slot so that whole families can come along, people who can’t always come to our evening gigs.” (you can read the full article here).

Well our friends and fans did us proud in giving us a great party as did two great acts; Tim Lee of Suzie Does It fame perfromed a great set as did our Mat and Abbie, who aside from giving us by all acounts the best sound we had ever had on stage, also performed a stonking set of 80s electronica classics as Human Condition (see video below). Many thanks to all! xxx

Human Condition made us all dance.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Another play at The International Eisteddfod

Had a great day at the Eisteddfod this year, major thanks are due to Neal Thompson for organising all the acoustic artists :)

This was the rather daunting audience who were 1st to turn up for my set on "the lawn stage"!  It turns out they were from the Delta Academy of Performing Arts and they put in a brilliant and hilarious performance a bit later on.

Mostly gorgeous weather and a great day out

If you want to find it.. follow the notes!

A mushroom omelet and double espresso in the local Italian cafe-bar beforehand

Monday, July 02, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Road to Orchard

We have done some great gigs lately including festivals in Crewe and the inimitable Middlewich Boat and Folk Festival. Maybe I'll catch up on posting some photos at some point (you can always check the oft'-updated band facebook page). Producer Dan sent us the awesome1st mixes for the EP on the summer solstice which seems very appropriate, more news on that, plus a chance to listen and download... very soon :) xxx

The road to Orchard Studios

Launch show party

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Band EP Launch Party is JULY 7th, SANDBACH!

Here's all my gigs at the time of writing, please note that the special event on July 7th has been revealed as follows;

The Market Tavern, Sandbach, Cheshire! Families welcome, free. 2pm-7pm
Thanks to Simon J. Newbury Photography for the official promo shot!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Back to Square One! (...but in a good way).

Taken in the exciting post sound-check, pre-show time.

Square One, the venue in Crewe that is! I felt really relaxed at this gig, really enjoyed it, the music flowed effortlessly. It's always a challange to play to a sort of pre-clubbing crowd rather than a musicistas but it felt like we rose to it. Exciting times with some really fun festivals being planned (and the EP of course!). In the meantime here's a little mini-songette of a ditti-intro type of thing...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Paw-Jive Jazz Festival (Nantwich).

I was a bit apprehensive about doing our debut at The Nantwich Jazz Festival without Emma, her keyboards being such an integral part of our usual sound & the Jazz Fest being an auspicious event with the likes of Cleo Laine, Wilko Johnson & Jacqui Dankworth performing, but as it turned out we had some additional musicians joining us on a one-off basis for this stripped-down, acoustic set. This included Louise Gibson (who has worked with Dave Dove, Geoff Mather and The Providence Jug Band among others) who provided some accompanying extra percussion and even more unexpectedly, Tash & Babooshka, two Cocker Spaniels in the audience who did some paw-jiving (with a little help from Duncan & Jacqui, their humans) and even some sing-along background howling!
Special thanks to The Angry Badgers for our sound set-up and Abby Wallis Photography for these great shots;-

Posing with an Angry Badger (over my sholder) and Dorota, our "Buscuit Manager", right.

 Links;             Angry Badgers creative Solutions                         Abby Wallis Photography