I have spent a lot of time and energy producing 4 cds during the past 5 years! Most of my friends have probably given up hope trying to get in touch with me these days. This recording and performing mission is something to do with being nearly 60 and not wanting to depart this mortal coil leaving behind little more than a bizarre trail of karmic footprints across the planet and an attic full of jiffy bags stuffed with songs and lyrics. I don't have children, and have probably left it a bit late now, so these songs and CDs are a kind of legacy for me. They are what I want to be remembered by.
The singer-songwriter boom has been supported by the prolific development of new music software and hardware. This has made it possible for almost anyone to record and publish very good quality CDs from their home studio and, suddenly, the world is brimming with new CDs and songs and the landfills... But, learning to use the software is not for the fainthearted and I have spent many endlessweekends grappling with the Boeing 747 cockpit of Cubase - foolishly upgrading to vista too soon - endless crashes blips and farts as the software collapsed under the onslaught of dodgy vista code. After 5 years, I have just about got the hang of it, but it has been a big learning curve. And now, they dare to release Windows 7... oh god...
Trusted friend and musician Celia Duplock appears on all of these CDs. She told me recently we had known each other for nearly 20 years - bloody hell! Suddenly, feeling the years - but this couldn't have happened without her belief in the music, her amazing voice and astonishing talent for finding harmonies. She is a joy to work with, regularly trekking 60 miles to lay down tracks and chat in the garden between songs, sharing what this music means to us and inspiring all these songs to happen.
My partner, Sarah suffers having the studio in the cellar of her house and me disappearing for long Cubase-crashing filled weekends. Then, she calmly appears to record some lovely cello lines, as well as producing beautiful artwork for the CD covers (click on the Ebb and Flow cover below). Without her support and encouragement, this music could not have happened.
The first three CDs are collections of songs from the past 40 years – just 30 songs out of hundreds squeezed out of life experience - lifted from hundreds of cassette tapes – I found some quirky Tascam 4-track recordings made in various bedrooms across the country. Leafing through old copies of lyrics, I even found one song I wrote while walking the dog when I was 14 - a folk influenced version of The Ballad of Reading Gaol - I remember singing that across the local playing fields, and that did my growig soul a lot of good!
CD #4, Badly Drawn Buddhist (click on the cover), is a bit of a departure from the style of the first 3. I think I had live performance in mind and have written much stronger rhythm parts, and simpler arrangements.
The CD also expressed and purged some of the spiritual conflicts and angst I have been feeling during the past few years, thus the title Badly Drawn Buddhist.
New songs have continued to arrive the past few years, enough to make CD#5, tentatively titled "Indian Ink". This will, hopefully, make it's appearance sometime at the start of 2011. Again, these new songs feel like an even further move away from my earlier, more folk-tinged music. The recordings will also be less digital and, with any luck, have some live recordings by members of the new band we are currently forming - The Fridge Mechanics Union.
I am happy to present the music from all these CDs here. You can listen to clips, and buy tracks if you like them. I am giving the latest CD for free to my closest friends, but is also available to buy here for £5.
Click here is you want to listen, I hope you like the songs ...