Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Liverpool Acoustic at the LIM Fest.

Photo by Adrian Wharton.
 Aug 24th 2014

Another gig in Liverpool, a city which never ceases to amaze me in terms of it's positivity. The whole place is has a great vibe! Thanks to getting there a bit early and some very good friends who turned up, I had the chance to have a bit of an explore and everywhere there were fab and unexpected sights and sounds. What a place! If I had to live in a city, this would be the one.

I was guest of the great team and live music promoters Liverpool Acoustic and this was one of the many gigs going on as part of the Liverpool International Festival, this gig being outdoors in the courtyard of the very impressive Bluecoat building which functions as a vibrant arts center, Liverpool's creative hub, no less.  Luckily the monsoon season held off for it. 

A lovely, listening audience made it a pleasure and I was also lucky enough to be snapped by the talented photographer, Adrian Wharton. 
Many thanks to all who came along and all involved! 
A lovely atmosphere in The Bluecoat garden.

The Narrowboat Sessions.

Aug 22nd.

Facebooking music fans should definitely check out The Narrowboat Sessions

Well I unfortunately missed  Mark, Kira and the boat Carriad IV when they went passed my own boat, but I caught up with them in Llangollen. They have been in the process of traveling around the Northern canal network, recording all manner of acoustic artists and bands with a view in the run up to an eventual release of a live CD to raise finds for Cancer Research.

I'll post more on here if and when any photos or a video is published from the day (I took a couple of pictures but they wouldn't save for some reason).
Anyway check them out, some wonderful artists videos shown, a fantastic idea & cause too!

LATEST; The Narrowboat sessions official fb post and video of this is HERE.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Heard a lot about this place, The Tiger Lounge!

With thanks to Tuesday Tony for the gig
and the photo!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Attachement Theories - Preview tracks and pre-order the download and/or CD!

Monday, August 11, 2014

New live video!

You may remember I played at Enzo Coffee shop recently. Well the lovely folk at Orchard and Warble recorded and videod this respectively. 
It was a particularly hot and sweaty early evening (and to reduce the sounds from people outside, the door had to be shut for the recorded song) so I'm a sweatygonzalez!

Another lovely garden-party gig.

Last year I had the pleasure of attending a lovely garden party hosted by the equally lovely Martin.
Well it's all happened again thanks to his hard work and he played host to several wonderful acts. It was particularly fab to see Paul Howard Ellson perform again. I look forward to his poetry book coming out - wonderfully moving and insightful material.

Incidentally, house-party gigs have really taken off in the states, there something I am more than keen to do more of, if this interests you, please ask about it by email at :)

The wonderful Paul Howard Ellson
performing a poem.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Attachment Theories - About the Cover Photo.

This is the photo I'll be using for the album cover. It's by the brilliant Shropshire based-photographer, Verity Gray (check out her Flickr-stream HERE).

I love Verity's work, all her photos seem to have a tremendous kind of soulful consciousness. They are often from an unusual angle (sometimes literally) providing unexpected insights. With this post in mind, I emailed Verity to ask her to say something about the photo and she simply said "Grand Central Station, New York at it's finest!".

I can look at this photo for long periods and I still see new things in it. The scene depicted here, is to me on the one hand very alienating; a bustling, all-artificial environment, people are rushing so that they are just a blur, the crowds are such that individuality is hard to engage with, no particular faces or expressions stand out. People into the far distance are swarming like ants. Shadows are as true a form as people themselves.

However, part of this photo's duality, it's innate contradiction, is that as well as being an alienating environment it remains at the same time a compassionate one. This is also why I feel it fits in really well with the musical and lyrical themes of my album... There is not just loneliness in the crowd but friendliness, perhaps even love. The light from the middle window at the back, leading to that of the famous station clock, via the intense light from our 'other' photographer's equipment within the photo itself, then reflecting off the flooring material, clearly draws our attention to the two characters hugging each other. Perhaps the photographer in the photo was a passing stranger who was kind enough to capture this affecting moment, joining and sharing this brief period of warmth. From the crowds come points of empathy and kindness. As you look around, perhaps another couple are about to be photographed hugging too. Everywhere there may be groups of old friends and new ones, sharing adventures. This is a great, or literally "Grand" railway station, thus a portal to great new adventures or the culmination of adventures coming to their thrilling conclusion, people dizzy with fresh memories or expectations. The built environment also can be seen as stark, dark, shadowy, devoid of all non-human nature, hard but simultaneously as having an old-world charm and warmth.

I particularly like the aspect of this in which we can see this as a photograph of a photograph being taken... or 'our' photographer who gives us our eyes into this world is also now also possibly within this scene, as a blurry background image for the photographer or couple in the center of the scene. This has the effect of re-aligning us from our outside, viewing, detached, alienated observance of the scene and bringing us into it. We may be touched or thoughtful about the multitude of human interactions within the scene and at the same time are somehow within it ourselves, no longer the detached people-watcher, now we me be the watched as well. 
We are innately connected to, and within the scene ourselves. We are as surrounded by camaraderie and warmth, or as alienated and lonely as the people within it.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Solo Album-title announcement! "Attachment Theories".

A Headspace Holiday

Yesterday I returned to TLC studios, aka Tim Lee's place, to put some acoustic guitar tracks down for the album of great songs he is currently working on. 

Taking this "day off" from working on CD sleaves, thinking up promotional schemes and trying to figure out the best album launch event options (none of which comes easily to the average artist in my experience - we just want to make music!)... made me realise just how stressed-out about all of the above I have been lately.

It was a genuine honour to play on 3 of Tim's tracks, hopefully my bits might even make the final edit! Tim's a great singer-songwriter. If this had been 30 years ago perhaps a record label would have snapped him up and people all over the world would have been moved by his songs. The internet is both a blessing and a curse for music and musicians. I'm thrilled for example, to have people from all over the globe who are never likely to be able to come to one of my gigs, 'follow' me and say nice things about my music and what it means to them, but on the other hand you find yourself in a vast sea of people all shouting for attention, many of whom have money to pay for pluggers and other forms of influence. Anyway, i'll cut my rant off at this point just to say  If you look Tim up Tim HERE you have the chance to enjoy his music and check out where he's playing. 

Photo by Tim Lee.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

A great little pub by The Railway.

I had a bit of fun last night in taking part in Dan & Pete's inaugural hosting of a new weekly Monday night jam/open mic nights. Quite a crowd turned up eventually and a fair few joined in before I had to get a train. The Railway Inn, Alsager is a great pub too with yummy beer!

Dan & Pete host the night.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sefton Park, Liverpool, as part of the "Artisans in the Park" event.

A few mins before the start -my rather nice office for the day.
I'm never happier than when under a large banana plant :)
Liverpool seems to have transport about right, very little car-trafic,
a bike scheme, underground, trains.
This is the Catholic Church or the Shuttlecock as I call it.
The incredibly foreboding dark lump of rock that is the Anglican Church.
I used to be able to see this on especially clear evenings from all the way from Scholar Green, near the Staffs border.
Liverpool is beautiful, some of it on less-than-conventional ways.
Some "rock-guitar cases" outside of a LIPA building.

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Cycle Junction Return.

July 31st 2014.
Me in the foreground - Dan snuck into the corner!
Many thanks to Julie Bacon for this photo.
Some places do it so right!

If every town had a couple of places run by people with the same attitude as Mike and his family at The Cycle Junction, I have no doubt whatsoever that a culture of live, original music would be thriving. 

Some of the typical problems facing artists today are that all too many venues expect them to play as a sort of privilege, free entertainment for them but resulting in significantly increased bar-sales, with complete disregard to the many hours of work that go into that one performance let alone the countless hours in total that have lead to it. I think you, dear reader, might well be very surprised how little even household-name artists go out for, making a living yes but many are probably making a lot less than say a junior manager in an organisation - the love of, passion for and ultimately the undeniable compulsion to write, make and perform music is far greater than those to earn an easy, steady income for the musician, as with other types of artist. I'll stop moaning about this now but if this issue interests you, it's worth having a read here.

Back to the super-positive, and as I say the Cycle-Junction folk do it so right! Yet another sold-out show and as a headliner on my previous appearance here,  it was my turn to support this time as per another cool policy of the place. Once again Dan played percussion for me, bringing quite a large kit which he incredibly managed to wedge into a corner of the tiny space available, we were supporting the stupendously entertaining Baxter. As an opener, owner Mike as half of the duo KwalaParla with Ryan, played some of their engaging tunes, beautifully played and you can download them for free via the link below! The audience, as always here, listened intently, did lots of spirited joining in and were just bloomin lovely!

If you were there and are reading this, thank you so much! You are what makes all the effort that goes into this so worthwhile! xxx

Check out the hugely entertaining, brilliant vocals of Baxter HERE.

Free downloads and more from KwarlaPara here...