Hope, poison, practicing

I think I’m not doing this whole music blog thing correctly, because I blather on too much. Should I be being more poetic? More charismatic?

Can’t, sorry. I wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes on the bottom of my manky shoes, which is why you get stuff like my new song Hope and Poison, which dropped on 19th May.

It was written after a tough start to the year [I formally restarted 2018 at end of February, you know, in my mind], when I needed and wanted to remind myself and people I love that everything was not just pure grief. It’s had a play on BBC Tees Introducing (thanks Bob!) and in my usual organised way I’m slowly getting it out there. Lyrics and links are here. 

It’s been a raw one to work on, so I’m giving myself a break for the next bit of recording and getting down an original song by someone else. It’ll be its first release, and it’s a fantastic tune, and I’m really pleased he’s letting me use it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be playing Hope & Poison this weekend at the Darlington Food and Drink Festival as part of my set for the Tracks Acoustic Stage. I’ll also be singing Oh Love live and as-it-should-be for the first time, because the divine Emily Whitfield has agreed to sing it with me. We had a lot of fun practising it, so hopefully will be doing a bit more music stuff together. More info on the Gigs page.

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Still here…

Hello!

So it’s been a while – because, well, if I’m honest, I won a writing award last year and spent much of the second half of the year buried in a manuscript. But that’s my other life – here are the updates on the music front for those of you that ever check this site out.

I released two more songs over the past several months. The first, So Long, was way back when. It’s available in all the usual places and I had grand plans for a video that never came to fruition. It’s a long-dark-night-of-the-soul song, so if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing, enjoy.

The second, Oh Love, I’d had sat in my back pocket for a while. It’s very trad, nothing like Done, nothing like Monster Food or So Long. On a whim, about three weeks ago, I slung it up on Soundcloud and on to BBC Introducing, just to do something with it. So not really a proper release. And I don’t play it live, because to do that with any semblance of being close to how it should be, it needs two more singers. TWIST: it made BBC Tees Introducing Track of the Week, and so soon I will put together some artwork and attempt to put it up on places beyond Soundcloud, which is where you can currently find it. Or just listen here.

Gigs I’ve done and enjoyed include the Festival of Ingenuity last year, and then a couple of weeks ago – following a cancellation thanks to the Beast from the East – I stepped in as the opening act for the inaugural ‘Noisy Daughters’ events put on by Tracks – where I also sat in on the panel AND I had a blast in the songwriting workshop with the Cornshed Sisters. It was a good day all round, with a really lovely crowd, and I’m hoping to do a full write up for Tracks (more on that another time) so that’s all I’ll say except check out the photos here (I warn you now, I do not photograph well – but the rest of the pics are gorgeous). The event even got a small write up in Vogue, with a cracking photo of Eve Conway included to boot! Closer to home – a review from Creative Darlington can be found here.

Turns out despite my bio being all ‘urgh argh performing oh nooooo’ I’m legitimately enjoying it these days, so I hope to be doing more this year.

Recording continues. As it turns out I have actual plans, and those plans should please both the people who prefer my stuff acoustic guitar-y, and those who like it all jazzed up and synth-y. Watch this space.

Videos, radios and gigs

It’s been a busy couple of months, so let’s take it in reverse order. First up:

MONSTER FOOD is out, complete with fab video.
It’s a mishmash jigsaw of old news footage, out-of-copyright films and other bits and pieces. I had a lot of fun picking out what to put in – shots used include Sibelius playing the piano, a couple of clips from George Melies A Trip to the Moon, and shots of the original Smokey the Bear from an old National Parks promo video.

You can buy the song on Bandcamp, stream and buy from Apple or Spotify, listen to it on Soundcloud, or check your favoured streaming site and it should be there. For all the links – and for the lyrics, if you want to check what any of them are – click here.

 

BBC Tees Introducing session

After Monster Food made Track of the Week at BBC Tees Introducing, Bob Fischer asked me on to the show to play a couple of songs live, so I took my trusty guitar along and had a bit of a wail into the microphones. I also aired some strong opinions on biscuits and had a short discussion about the Bane of My Life that is stage fright. I think the show itself isn’t on BBC iPlayer anymore, unfortunately, but here’s as link to the Facebook live video of the second song (So Long, which is coming out soon): https://www.facebook.com/bbcteesintroducing/videos/1640301222942151/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

And here’s a nice photo taken by the team at the station. Uncropped, because I am low on editing tools right now:16708469_1640350949603845_7804661538217590237_n

 

GIGS

I played my first gig at the Green Room in Stockton, for Mill Lane Management’s Venue Week showcase. Terrifying (see aforementioned stagefright), but I was lucky to be playing with the Bad Suits, Andy Jones, and Freeman – all of who were very kind, very welcoming, and walked me through my first soundcheck, gave tips after the gig and generally said nice things. It was a great evening. I cannot find a photo anywhere.

A couple of weeks later, I headlined Soapbox Sessions at the Hole in the Wall – way more intimate venue, in a pub, with a smaller crowd but no less lovely.(Double thanks to the people who came along to both gigs! Chris Helme was playing elsewhere in town, so a few people wandered in after that. Again, a nice evening and resulted in my first bonafide fan (shout-out to James!). Massive thanks to Marcus from Mill Lane Management and Dave from Tracks for asking me to play.

 

NOW

I’m back to writing and open-mic-ing for a while. Recording new work with Rob at the moment – a song that is unlikely to be released as any kind of single, and may just sign off an EP in future. So Long is due out in the near future – it’s had a couple of plays in its recorded form on BBC Tees. I’m working on a video in an attempt to get the song release and video out at around the same time! If you want something incredibly rough – a one-take, first-take reference thing, while I work on the piano part that’s going round it, head over to soundcloud and listen to me shriek some doomsday folk with some uncertainty (at least in parts). 

Monster Food: Track of the Week

As a relative newbie to actually releasing music, I still am – and probably always will be – thrilled when anyone broadcasts my songs, so I was really pleased when lovely Bob Fischer played ‘Monster Food’ (as he did ‘Done’) on BBC Tees Introducing this evening.
You can imagine I’m chuffed to the point of bursting that ‘Monster Food’ has been named Track of the Week and will be being played every day this week (commencing 15th Jan) on BBC Tees!

So this is a marvellous preview week, thank you Bob! The song will (should, fingers crossed)  officially be available to buy/download/stream from 27th Jan.

In the meantime, as the video is not even close to being done, here’s the artwork…

monster-food-artwork-v2

In other news, I came suspectedly dead last in a talent show last Sunday, but got to see a host of wonderful entertainers play. I swear I’m working hard on my live performances, so as to offer something decent IMV Week acoustic/folk style show I’m playing in Stockton on the 28th. (Acoustic means I’ll be wielding a guitar, so slightly different versions of the recordings, but please come along!)

 

Time for a quick update.

Thanks for all of the support for Done, which was played on BBC Tees Introducing and has had many nice things said about it. Lovely.

For the past few months I’ve been very slowly chipping away at an EP with producer Rob Irish; look out for that next year. Full of woe and misery and disillusionment, so I hope you like that kind of thing.

I’ve also got my first couple of non-open mic gigs coming up next year – mostly acoustic guitar, though if I can get a stage piano sorted out there might be some piano-bothering as well – so please check out the brand new Upcoming gigs page.