Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recording Day 3. Solo album. Tracking guitars (and a banjo, and more).

May 28th 2014

The final day of tracking at Orchard... GUITARS!

Sound-wise, guitars are my personal favourite thing as I feel I can truly express myself with a guitar much more fully than I can vocally or in any other way for that matter. This is especially so with electric gutars for me,  through the huge array of sounds which can be bent and squeezed out of them in all kinds of exciting ways and with their power to produce some incredible sounds that make the instrument produce a kind of super-voice or rather voices that can be screamed, squealed, roared, cried, sang, or just whispered out of them. Anyway this felt like a particularly artistically pleasing day which took me and Dan in some exciting unforeseen directions!

Dan and I played my black Strat 'Il Pirata', a studio Les Paul style of guitar, a Tanglewood acoustic and Dan also played banjo on one song.

I say "played"... I played my Strat for lead guitar parts in a more or less conventional manner whereas the 'Les Paul' and Tanglewood were more cajoled into getting lots of feedback out of them by strumming, twanging, waving, shaking and generally moving them in and out of the zone in front of  the Marshal amp. Dan then did some magnificent painting with these feedback sounds through and around a song, it's going to sound amazing. For another track some harmonic sounds I played on my strat found a new meaning and almost bell-like tones which strike the right feel in a couple of places in another song.

Thinking one particularly quirky song needing something... we just weren't sure what, Dan came up with the idea of a mandolin, but couldn't find the one he thought was around so tried a banjo instead. This turned out to be an inspired unintended-choice as it was perfect for this particular song and intertwined nicely with a nylon-string guitar track I'd already put down. Mr Logan really had his producers head on, and made lots of suggestions about my approach and things to try as well as coming up with plenty of sound and thematic ideas. This was great for me as it gave me confidence in what I both was aiming for and how the songs would end up sounding. 

Dan trying something out on the banjo
As you can tell, I'm not giving too much away (you'll have to buy the album!) but another song which has been kept pretty simple (just a live guitar/vocal/percussion sound) has been given a thematic soundscape in the background. Again, it will make perfect sense when you hear it!
Radders, as always lovely company.

All done! Now just the mixing.

For another track (not mentioned before in this post). My lead-guitar
sound was blended through both a Marshal & this tiny thing!
(Note the size of this amp in comparison with the mic).

Recording preparation Part 1
Recording preparation Part 2
Recording preparation Part 3

Recording Day 1
Recording Day 2

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Audlem Music & Arts Festival 2014

This Festival featured my first live show with Dan Logan on percussion. Thanks to Verity Gray Photography.
Rain cleared for Bank Holiday Monday
View from near my "mobile hotel"
 This brilliant festival in the apparently quaint village of Audlem belies it's ability to organise and host what must be one of the most enjoyable festivals in the country. It was also my first live appearance with Dan Logan on percussion. Regular blog-readers will know Dan is my producer on the solo album I'm currently working on, more of which soon! 
A signature gratuitous-foot-photo from Verity Gray ;)
The floor mic on Dan's foot-stomp-box meant socks seemed a good idea.
(Castelli cycling socks for connoisseurs).

Video shot by The Shopshire Star Newspaper for an online article.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Warts and All.

You may remember I wrote about a the lovely night at the Cycle Junction gig I did back in March? Well now the whole of my show, warts-and-all is available on youtube. I guess it's the nearest thing I've got to a live DVD so far!

As you know if you were there or read this, the night was very 'purist' in the sense that it was entirely unplugged with no mics, amps or P.A. I was luckily enough to be supported by the outstanding talent of Hayley Strangelove who joined me on No Tobacco. (I'm looking forward to returning the favour at the same unusual venue in July when she returns as half of Baxter). The Warts-and-all aspect of this also refers to the fact that I was brave -or foolish- enough to try out some brand new songs and ideas. You decide!

Set List
There She Moves
Big Low Copper Moon
Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits cover)
Hard Times (Ray Charles cover)
California Earthquake (Mama Cass cover)
These Bikes are made for riding (based on a song by Lee Hazelwood!)
Forget Her (The Forces of the Night)
No Tobacco No Jesus (joined by Hayley Strangelove)
City of Indifference

See the full gig-list for the Cycle-Junction shop sessions HERE.

Monday, May 05, 2014

The Lymelight Festival 2014

A busy festival in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire saw loads of great bands plus craft-stalls, drumming workshops in the street and more.

We felt on form and the PA sounded great. All good! Organised by The Hippy Hippy Shake company so thanks to them and everyone who came along, danced or did air-guitar!

Note to self- don't forget to take a drink on stage again, my voice was soon suffering!

I think this band were 'In The Cards'
Nothing like a good street Djembe workshop!