Show at Common Grounds, Northport 11.7.18

Only just over a week to go until my show at Common Grounds with Ted Fordney. Looking forward to playing some new songs and covers and playing my first full show for a year. My hands are finally recovering after the medical treatment and I have new hard tips to my fingers !!
Hoping for a good turn out from our American friends and a good night.
Tickets can be purchased on-line:
Click Here

New Live show Confirmed at Common Grounds 11.17.18

After a summer recovering back in the UK I will be back in Florida in the Autumn with a new intimate live show at Common Grounds in Northport on Saturday 17th November .
Once again I will be joined by the fabulous Ted Fordney on Double Bass.
The show is called Stories , Ghost and Giant Rabbits and all will become clear on the night.

This show will feature songs from “Harvey” along with a selection of older material including some rarely played songs. In addition it’ll be the very first chance to hear a number of brand new songs .
Looking forward to being back performing again after a very quiet and difficult 12 months.
Tickets are available from :Common Grounds 11.17.18

The Map

All of you who’ve purchased my new CD Harvey will have found a hand drawn map in the centre of the cover and I though it was worth giving a bit more of an explanation of some of the places on the map and what they meant to me.

Fairfield Park : The area of Bath I grew up in is called Fairfield Park. Although within the City, it had a sort of Village feel to it and you could buy everything you needed in the small independent local shops. There was a Butchers at the end of our street and a short distance to the greengrocers and on Batstones Corner a family run general store , for everything else you would get from  a supermarket these days

Queenwood Avenue: I grew up at 25 Queenwood Avenue , a small terraced house on a very steep hill.My grandparents (On my Fathers side)  lived at number 29 so we saw lots of them whilst growing up, and also two other relatives ( Great Uncle and Aunt) on the opposite side of the street. In those days you knew and spoke with all your neighbours, and it was a very friendly community. My best friend Colin and his Sister Josie lived at the top of the street in Evelyn Terrace  , and although the house is still there a road runs through the Garden we used to play in.I kept in touch with Colin and still meet up for a drink with him when I am able to.

My First musical adventures took place in back garden of Queenwood Avenue , where I used to do a Freddie and the Dreamers impersonation with shaggy wig and ukulele banjo. Not sure it’s a great look !

George’s Hill: At the top of the back lane behind the houses there was a gravel road leading to the Green , a small area of trees where we built dens, climbed trees and used to have battles throwing stones at each other ( Perhaps not the most sensible option).Leading down into the green was Georges Hill a steep stone and gravel road and there we used to race karts made from old prams, trying to stop at the bend at the bottom without falling off or crashing into anything.Again this seemed like great fun at the time, but in hindsight with no protection perhaps wasn’t the safest  hobby although I don’t remember any major injuries , just lots of minor ones.

The Woods and the Common: Many evenings were spent heading up through the woods to The Common on Beacon Hill, where we would play football ( Soccer) or play on the swings and roundabout which were there. We stayed out until it was starting to get dark before heading home through the woods. I guess these days kids miss out on the opportunity to have this much freedom, as it is considered too un-safe. Final mention is of Perfect View which was at the bottom of the woods and a small terrace of houses which had the best view over the City of Bath and as we got older we used to go down there and sit and walk into town. Sadly I went back there recently and a row of trees was planted 20 years ago after a planning dispute and this now cuts out most of the view which is a great pity . Maybe one day a man with a chainsaw will restore this view to its former glory.

 

 

Ulterior Motives

I was updating my Bandcamp site to prepare for the arrival of the Harvey Download when I was reminded of the link to my former bands Bandcamp site.

If you go to www.ulteriormotives2.bandcamp.com you’ll be able to listen to the two albums we recorded in 2001 and 2005 which I still think sound pretty good in the main, and give an idea of my musical history.

I played with Pete Young, and Gus Mills for over 20 years on and off and we had some good times shared with 4 different drummers ( David Key, John Hedgecock, Adey Gray and Jim Stewart). We played gigs all over the the UK and had quite a few adventures which one day will make interesting reading , or perhaps a song !!

Album Update

Well the album is all mixed and mastered, with a lot of help from my friend Andy Boyd, and I am really pleased with how it sounds. Decided to release it on Friday 18th May now to celebrate finishing my chemotherapy, which seemed like a great way to hopefully close this chapter !

Track listing is now finalised and as follows :

1. Angel in the Night

2. Harvey

3. Stonetown

4. The Artist

5. Silent Hero

6. From Afar

7. Hunting ( How did we get this Far ?)

8. Rose Tattoo

9. Overload

10. Wind Across the Water

There will be a few surprises in the production as some of these are very different from my solo versions , but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

On a separate note I’m busy writing new material as my good friend Ted Fordney set out a challenge to write one song a month in 2018, which I couldn’t resist taking up and so far I’m just about on track.

Watch this space for new song demos coming shortly !

News Update

Well I’m back in the UK whilst I get my health issues sorted. Taking the opportunity to mix and master the new album with Andy Boyd. Plan is to finally get this released as a physical CD and download by the end of April. Provisional title is Harvey after the track of the same name , but that may change !. The album feature 9 new tracks and a brand new recording of Overload  and is a lot more of a Rock/Pop album than the last few releases with some great contributions from Derek Wille. As on previous albums my daughter Josie is working with me on the artwork/cover photography, which promises to be fun.

Will keep posting progress on this page  !!

Live at Common Grounds Videos 11.11.17

Thanks to Andy Boyd for shooting and producing a video of the recent show at Common Grounds in Northport . Here is just a taster of the song Wind Across the Water .

To view the whole show please go to the links below :

First Set

Wendy’s Set

Second Set

It was a fun night as ever at this intimate venue , and a big thank you to Ted Fordney ( Bass), Mickey White (Keyboards), Rick Hardeman ( Flute) , Wendy Kaneko for a great set of original songs, and Rick St Germain (Sound)   . Also Bud, Mindy , Andy, RJ and everyone else at KDW Radio  who work so hard to keep  Common Grounds  going as a genuine listening room, as these places are rare in this part of the world.

New show just confirmed – Common Grounds Northport 11.11.17

I’ve just confirmed another show at Common Grounds in November and I promise to have a few different songs and surprises. Joining me on Double Bass for this show will be Ted Fordney, and hopefully a few other guests as well. Opening the night will be my good friend Wendy Kaneko. Tickets will be available through the Common Grounds website as ever, just click the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alan-maskell-iii-tickets-36796709950

The Stories behind the Songs

As there were no formal sleeve notes to the “Live at Common Grounds “ CD, I decided to post some background notes to each of the songs featured ,here.  In part this was inspired by the Songwriters Concert back at Common Grounds in June where I played the tracks and talked a bit more about them.All of the songs on this recording are very personal to me and significantly influenced by my family life , in particular over the last few years. I had originally intended to call this CD “Up Close and Personal ” and I guess that’s exactly what it is . 

“Angel in the Night” – This song was originally thought up on a drive across Alligator Alley from Fort Lauderdale to Venice after dropping Sandie at the airport. This is one of the most boring sections of road I know at night, with few lights and nothing to break up the darkness for around 70 miles in a straight line, so nothing else to do but think about writing a song ! At the time my Mum had just moved into a care home back in the UK and this was weighing on my mind, and I guess the thought that she was out there and still looking out for me .

‘From Afar” – A few months before she died, I was talking to my sister on the phone and she mentioned that she had some song lyrics that she’d written.She wasn’t sure if they were any good , but said she’d send them to me to see if I could do anything with them . Shirley had always written the occasional poem and a children’s book or two, but never song lyrics. A few days later I received a notelet in the post with these lyrics on, which I parked in my to do folder  and didn’t really get around to looking at before suddenly she was no longer with us, and songwriting seemed unimportant for a period . A year or so ago I felt able to look at the song again and with some editing and minor changes I wrote some music to create this song. The style of playing on this song is quite unusual for me using open tuning ( DADGAD) and very sparse chords.

“Rose Tattoo”– I grew up on one of the seven hills which make up the City of Bath, and both the street on which we lived and St Georges Ave ( an un-surfaced  road where we raced home-made karts without brakes) were frighteningly steep. Our childhood was spent mainly out doors, climbing trees building dens, and having fights of varying scales with a close group of friends and our siblings . I’ve had the chance to return to these streets a couple of times and everything appears on  different scale, to my memories as a child plus “the Green” is no longer trees but a private drive, Georges Hill has a tarmac finish , and my best friends garden is now a roadway. The verses of this song tell a bit of that story , and the chorus is me reflecting on the times spent with Shirley growing up. After she died I would often sit out in the garden at night with a small glass of whisky and drink a toast to her. The Rose Tattoo was created by my nephew who is  a tattoo artist . He created the design and tattooed it on his Mum’s wrist a number of years ago , and it formed a lasting image for me.

“Life in Words” – This song was written for my Dad. We had a happy childhood with lots of fond memories and he was a  big part of those. He was a natural artist , but after attending Art School, he served in the RAF during the war and then took up an apprenticeship as a compositer with the Pitman Press in Bath, where he worked until he retired. In those days books were printed using Letterpress , so every page was created in from individual lead type letters assembled in a print frame . Apart from being very laborious everything was backwards so he became skilled in the art of reading backwards .  There are lots of references in the song which hopefully this explains : ” Tinkers to Turrets” = the title of my Dad’s autobiography of his early life and experiences in WW2 .   ” Frailty and Pain” = A song I wrote about the effects of arthritis , which had been played at his funeral. “Bonfire night” = November the 5th in England where we celebrate  Guy Fawkes and a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament . ” Bats and Jacks” = Two particularily exciting and dangerous fireworks from my youth . They inevitably were unpredictable and flew into the house where we were sheltering much to Dad’s amusement .Health and safety have unfortunately banned these now , and spoilt the fun. “Solsbury Hill” = The one made famous by Peter Gabriel, which was the view directly from my parents window and my Dad would sit and look out on it all day after he retired.

“Wind Across the Water” – The world our children are growing up in is clearly very different from the one we grew up in , with different dangers and challenges. I wrote this one day when I was not feeling great , and I wanted to write down the things that are important for them in life, and send a message that whatever they do , the most important thing is to enjoy it , be safe and be happy , but take the experiences life can offer . Hopefully they will always be able to think back to happy times and feel they have a “home”  they can return to with us. This concept of home is not about the physical bricks and mortar but more about people and memories . It’s intended as a positive note to finish the CD.

 

NEW CD RELEASE

After a successful show at Common Grounds Meeting Hall in Northport in November 2016, Ted Fordney and I returned one day to an empty hall to record a number of songs “Live”.

With RJ Malloy in charge of the desk we recorded 5 original songs as single takes with just guitar, vocals and double bass . The sound quality and clarity is pure and unadulterated giving an intimate feel to the songs.

This limited edition ep is subtitled “Up Close and Personal”

None of these songs have been available before on CD and the track listing is:

Angel in the Night
From Afar
Rose Tattoo
Life in Words
Wind Across the Water

CD’s are available from June 16th onwards at any of my shows for $5 , or can be  downloaded from my Bandcamp site.