Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mind over Matter.

For some reason I felt more relaxed than usual before taking to the stage for MindFest 3.
I, along with my fellow band-family The Blue Yellows seemed focused and relaxed enough to take some big musical risks, some of which payed off. It's something I really love about live music, the chance to go for completely playing with your gut instincts, surrendering to the groove that you and your fellow bandees are creating with it's inherent, overpowering emotion, and simply going for it, all out! Drummer Dave for instance spontaneously came up with a whole new drum pattern/rhythm for the final chorus of No Tobacco and it was great from where I was standing.

Many thanks to Rona, from awesome prog/folk band We Are Nomad for this shot of The Blue Yellows
The whole festival was for the important mental health charity MIND. Mental Health issues are close to the heart of most (if not all?) creatives (note, for instance, some previous witterings on my Social Anxiety) and I think part of the reason for the supportive feeling in the room might have been down to this. It was also great to see some really good friends, though again, as usual at a gig, I hardly get to speak with them
I was lucky enough to catch some great acts including Rivers and Kidd, Hayley Stangelove and Tim Lee, who all seemed on especially good form (sorry about the crappy pics, guys, see below!). It was fantastic to hear, for instance, 'Chains' by Hayley, one of my favourite songs, not just by Hayley, but one of my favourite songs of all, by anyone.
The whole weekend is a great testament to the hard work of Glyn,  Tess and all the team at Colossus Productions putting on such a huge two-day event for the important work of this charity. Well done folks, and thanks!

Drummer Dave managed to get back from his hols in time to make
rehearsals the night before, plus a bit of impromptu football!
Back stage at The Box, Crewe where it all happened.

Rivers & Kidd brought their quirky songs and were on great form.

Cathartic new songs from Tim Lee's much anticipated 'Into the Woods' album.

The hugely powerful and beautiful voice of Hayley

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Everything but the plums.

Thanks to original Riot Grrrl Steph for these photos.
Sometimes music making seems as easy as the proverbial falling off a log (a true proverb I can attest to, by the way) and so it was today.
I was though, just playing a small part in a big project. Jose is making an album of 'caravan sessions' consisting of recorded songs, all or many of which he is co-writing.

Jose is a super-talented producer as well as musician,  better known back in Spain where he has won awards in short films for soundtracks he has composed and recorded. He sent me a song a few days ago, one that has a long history in fact (which I may go into when it comes out), perhaps three quarters written. I added some lyrics and a 'bridgey part' and today we met up, in said caravan, to record.
Super-smoothly it did go: After a bit of working out who would do what and how we would transition from one part of the song to another we went for 4 takes in all, and now left him and Steph to work out where it goes from here. Steph had already started experimenting with her backing vocals on this track before I left, she is also playing a major part in terms of writing and recording on this whole project/album and I can't wait to hear it in it's entirety when it's all done.

So, a brilliant afternoon, the only downside being some offered, but forgotten plums! They have a tree for which our rainy/sunny August has worked wonders, resulting in a ... swarm(?) of plums... a plumage(?)... I'm sure one of you will provide the collective name, anyway, more than can be consumed by a household alone, but I sadly forgot to remind them about some of the offered surplus!
Thanks, you two, for having me along for the ride on this part of the journey, it was a great experience today!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Blooming Beautiful!

Aug 6th, 2017

Another August and another lovely invite to Martin and Elaine's friendly hospitality and mini-festival no less, in their gorgeous back garden. Playing with The Blue Yellows of course, or at least 3/4s of us while Em is away on holiday.

I feel I let the Yella Fella's down somewhat with a voice totally under-powered and under-tuneful almost from the off, however... something I realised later might be partly down to being generally dehydrated from having run out of drinking water at home (I live on a narrowboat, keep up!) and not having had time to replace it, or, therefore, drink very much at all that morning, my own stupidity at not realising this getting in the way then, really.
Nevertheless, it was a truly lovely, gentle day again in the most gorgeous garden, yummy food and very good company.

One of the most memorable performances came from songwriter Tim Lee, in fact I had that experience of completely forgetting where I was and totally existing inside the music as he played his song, 'A Curious Cure'. This is a common experience I have regularly when I play music (in fact I think musicians should aim for this state) and quite often when listening to great music alone, but rarely when feeling more nervous and conscientious when I'm with people. Anyroadup, Tim also made a really comprehensive write up of the whole day, and some very special performances, right HERE if you want to read more.

Many thanks to all involved and especially Martin and Elaine... Special!