Tuesday, 13 January 2015

"Happy Old Year - Resolutions and Chores"

"New Year, much the same as before. Happy Old Year, resolutions and chores..." This quote constitutes the 1st (public) lyrical extract from my next solo album ;-) But don't read too much into those isolated words, eh? Context is king.

For much of 2014 I openly blogged about the album "making-of" process because my private enthusiasm compelled me to say something about what I was doing. No regrets there, however the downside to commenting publicly about a project-in-progress is that any shared enthusiasm by generous readers leads to inevitable queries regarding release dates, and external assumptions that the thing is about to hit the 'shelves' of record stores (real or virtual)... Well it's going to be quite a while yet as I'm not working on it full-time, plus some contributors are still yet to be added to the recordings due to people's busy schedules / lives. What I can say is that it should be completed by (or soon after) my next end of / beginning of the year blog :-) Meanwhile I'll continue to sporadically post titbits of info if and when the fancy takes me.

Here's a mini update on proceedings: After several months with no major activity the album project burst back to life just before Christmas with further recorded contributions from Cathy Stevens (violin, viola and 6-string Violectra), grand piano courtesy of Bill Harbottle (aka: Billy Bottle, of The Multiple), and Tony Levin's bass parts. Having been on the road (with Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Stick Men and The Crimson ProjeKCt) throughout much of 2014 Tony was finally at home long enough to track his parts in the days leading up to Christmas – In fact I received his final set of files on Christmas Eve! :-)

For trivia fans out there the piano we used (for Bill's overdubs) belongs to renowned jazz pianist / composer Mike Westbrook – The session was recorded at his and Kate's Devon home, for which I'm extremely grateful. The photo above was taken by myself midway through a take.

And for completeness here's a Tony Levin 'selfie' that he took during the sessions for my tracks:

There'll be another pause in proceedings as I'm currently producing a couple of singles; one for Billy Bottle & The Multiple which we're (tentatively) aiming to complete later this month, and another for an artist that I'll talk about another time. Sorry to be 'mysterious' about the latter, but I'll post details when it's more appropriate.

So, 2014 was a mixed bag of a year – Aren't they all? I've already blogged about some of my music-related highlights (including Kate Bush's 'Before The Dawn'... The hairs on my neck still tingle at the memories) so there's no need for repetition - They're all here for you to read. I attended more live gigs than usual (for me) and experienced a lot of wonderful music, some of which formed part of the monthly 'A Message From' series in Exeter. In October I met another of my favourite guitarists, the wonderfully unique Reeves Gabrels, when he performed with his Imaginary Friends (band) in Birmingham. Professionaly-speaking I donned various audio 'caps' and contributed to twenty musical releases over the past twelve months, plus several others that are yet to be publicly released.

Here's Reeves and I larking about post-gig, (snapped by chum Matthew North who played on the same bill):

2015 may turn out to be a milestone year for me when I get around to completing the solo record, plus I'll be aiming to redress the balance in a number of professional areas. "Aiming", though not necessarily succeeding. One can but try ;-)

Huge heartfelt thanks to everyone who takes the trouble to read these blogs, as well as my posts on social media (when I'm not taking one of my frequent online sabbaticals). When you comment on a post, share an article, send me private messages, and especially listen to (or preferably buy) the music it makes a difference :-) I hope the work that will come this year (not only my own compositions but several productions / collaborations) will bring you a little pleasure...