Monday, June 27, 2016

Recording begins with The Blue Yellows; Session 1.

26th June 2016

Our friend, top-songwriter guy Tim Lee kindly offered to do some recording for The Blue Yellows. A large and windswept haunted hall near the Cheshire/Shropshire border was the setting.
An inspirational message had been left for us on the door.
 The only downside of the whole thing was that Dave, our poor drummer was really suffering with terrible back issues, lugging equipment about and drumming itself, doesn't help. Get well soon! Em wasn't available yet at this stage, having recently given birth to little Heidi but will add her keyboard parts and any backing vocals sooner or later. :)

Tim Lee in Red, mixing for us, Simon prepares on the bass
while Dave runs through a track up on stage.
The night before, Tim had been preparing the
guide tracks I had made.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Magnificent Middlewich! (2 Festivals in 1 day, Part 2)

June 18th, 2016

I have often played the wonderful Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival, one of my very favourite festivals of all, and often had the pleasure of being able to take in many of the other artists, bands, stalls, boats and very lively but friendly atmosphere. Not this year sadly, as my rushing from a previous festival, in Chester, and limited time prevented me from enjoying much time as a punter. Similarly, there was no time to take the boat (I live on a narrowboat, do keep up p-lease)!... this year and both use this as a base, and an excuse to really feel a part of it.

The organisation, atmosphere, lively but music-mad audience could not be bettered though.
Shortly before 'kick off'.

 Many thanks to the lively audience who were up for a bit of fun, and even on-stage hugs in some cases! The organising team were a friendly, calming and proficient bunch in spite of working night and day to make this happen. The Stage organised by and around the lovely folk at Middlewich Narrowboats, seating area and surrounding stalls and bars made a lovely sheltered zone for enjoying live music with the family. 

I was lucky enough to catch The Roamin' Jasmine, a fabulous band on tour from New Orleans to sunny Middlewich playing some dixieland standards to a very high, well,  standard - as you would expect from 'the real thing'.

A special mention too must go to ace songwriter Tim Lee (do click on his name to treat yourself to details of his music and live shows), who not only helped me out but also took some of these photos. Keep an eye on this blog for more about him, in collaboration with The Blue Yellows very soon!

Thank you - you lot! The audience around the Middlewich Narrowboats Stage.

Many thanks to Tim Lee for this photo.

With 'Red Severn'.
Photo by Tim Lee.

With 'Small Blue'.
Photo by Tim Lee.

It was great to make
Middlewich Music's
'Picks of the weekend'.@middlewichfolk 😊

Chester Live Festival (2 Festivals in 1 day, Part 1)

June 18th, 2016

First festival off the day was a very laid back one at the friendly Piper in Hoole for the Chester Live Festival where I had time to enjoy a small bucket of chips and a very fine real ale before soundcheck. 

It was, as it always is, lovely to have a really attentive, listening audience. You were a lovely lot!

Top sound came via Ed from LA1 Audio, thanks!

Loads of great acts on, but sadly I couldn't hang around as I had to head for festival 2...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

SHHHH! It's a clucking library!

Poet Helen Kay, in performance mode.

I love doing unusual gigs, and this certainly fitted the category. I have had the pleasure of supporting the Poet Helen Kay before, at a bookshop.

This was at Whitchurch Library (the Shropshire one, there are a few Whitchurchs about). I did some improvised guitar work to one of her pieces from A Poultry Lovers Guide to Poetry and a couple of brand new songs of my own, which I'm hoping to get onto my next album. I am not intending to perform the songs from this album until it's on sale, but as one of the songs was specially written for Helen, inspired by this work, and one has a poetry theme, I couldn't resist on this occasion.

Helen's book. Peck HERE to buy.

Unusual 'backstage' area & seating!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Great, Groovy Wedding. Wedfest 2016.

Later on would be the gig itself L-R Me, Dave, Simon.
Simon (L) and me (R) reminding ourselves how to play one of the newer tracks before soundcheck
Photo by Rachel Humphreys.
Biggest fan of the weekend.
Thanks to Kit & the Icefish for coming to the
rescue at our soundcheck with an icey fan at our soundcheck, which was
a sweat-drenched affair.
The Green Room?
No, entry to the massive Tipi where all
the music happened.
The Blue Yellows were honoured to play at our own drummer's wedding. Yes Dave 'The Groove' Coomer got hitched to the lovely Julie. As the high octane engine of our band, it was no wonder that Dave's influence on all this made it not only a beautiful wedding in a stunning setting on a Cumbrian hillside, it was also, of course, a music festival no less.
We met some lovely people including musicians from the other bands that played, Kit and the Icefish and The Barrellroll Hillbillies who also played really enjoyable sets.

We were playing as a three piece of course because Em couldn't make it having just given birth a few days before to a beautiful baby girl.

What a time for the band family! XXX

The Happy Couple!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

An evening of Songwriters at Ethical Artisans.

Introducing the last song of the evenng, I invited all up for a jammed rendition of No Tobacco.
L-R Martin Rivers, Dayve Dean, yours truly, Jaqui Kidd and Louise Mather who we persuaded onto the stage!
Many thanks to Deborah Edgeley for the photo.
May 31st, 2016

In the past couple of years, I've played several coffee shops, a book shop, private house parties and of course the infamous bike shop of the shop-sessions fame. Some of them have been among the best solo gigs I've played, and such was case with Ethical Artisans, a mini community arts hub and artisan shop outlet in Alsager.

As in the aforementioned cases, this venue involved an invested, listening audience, an intimate 'you could hear a pin drop' type of atmosphere and caring organisers who looked after the artists and public alike, in other words the perfect setting really for the singer songwriter.

I decided it must surely be more interesting to bring some talented songwriting friends along rather than hog the whole few hours for myself, so I had my special guests Rivers and Kidd and Dayve Dean. Martin Rivers confirmed he has completed his 'Different Skies' album to be released in July and Dayve is currently working on songs for a space-themed album, so both very much fitted the bill in terms of contemporary and songwriters, and Kidd, namely Jaqi Kidd, provided wonderfully ethereal backing vocals to Martin's tunes.

A lovely night, thanks so much to Alistair and Jo for organising things and to the lovely folk who turned up and made it special!

A cryptic instruction I noticed on one of Martin's song-sheets.