Back in the UK

Well we’re back in the UK now after 5 mainly enjoyable years in Florida.
We made lots of great friends who we’ll miss, so will have to make trips back to visit them periodically.
I plan to have a quiet summer musically although I played at The Seven Stars in Bristol with Pete Young on the 11th August .
For those that missed it the show was recorded by Andy Boyd and can be seen here :Seven Stars 11.8.19

I just starting work this week on a new recording project which will be a return to a much more acoustic sound than Harvey . I provisionally have 10 brand new songs, a couple of older songs to be re-visited and a surprise cover, in the working version of the album. Working Title is “Wildflowers” but that may change .
We’ve temporarily converted our living room at the barn to a studio and Andy Boyd and I are recording day long sessions over the next few weeks .This room has a great natural ambience and sound for recording. On Monday we completed the basic tracks for 4 songs , set up templates and a working protocol, as well as the odd demo for Pete to use to develop a piano part.
Plan is to use a variety of guest musicians over the next few months to add some variety to the tracks, and news of some of those will follow !

News Update – Shows and Recording

It’s a while since I posted so thought I should put something new on here.
I’ve been back in the UK for a while and getting used to the Bouzouki whilst playing a few open mics and meeting up with my old musical partners Pete Young and Gus Mills and even Jim Stewart before his departure to India.
Here are a couple of clips from those nights courtesy as ever of Andy Boyd !
Full Psychedelic Set from the Swan Christmas Open Mic
Overload at the Shoulder of Mutton

This saturday I’m playing the Seven Stars in Bristol, which for those that haven’t visited is an Old Pub near Bristol Docks with historic associations with the Slave Trade . It always has an ever changing selection of great and unusual beers and on saturday and sunday afternoons features acoustic music shows which have been hosted Alfie Kingston for more than 10 years.There is always a good mix of some of the best local artists who are all booked to play 30 minute slots. Saturday I’ll be playing with Pete Young on keyboards for a mix of old and new songs and possibly even a Russian Folk Song.

On March 9th I’ll be back at Common Grounds in Northport , Florida, but this time playing Mandolin and guitar on a few songs with Wendy Kaneko. Wendy has her own show that night called “A Journey of the Heart” and will also be joined by Rico and Kate on percussion and bass.Wendy is a great original and emotional singer and songwriter as well as a good friend.
The following weekend on March 16th I’ll be playing a show at the Elixir tea rooms in Sarasota. This is a small , intimate, but very relaxed venue and the chance to play a few rarer covers and original songs.
Looking forward now to the sunshine and warmth of Florida for a few weeks !!

Guitar Bouzouki

During September and October 2018, I was lucky to be able to spend a month in the Workshop of Richard Osborne, a luthier in mid Wales(website), learning the art of guitar building. During that time I built a Guitar/Bouzouki which is a beautiful instrument. The soundboard is Sitka Spruce and the back and sides English Cherry , which is beautifully figured and will develop a rich Orange colour over time.

After we finished building , we went for a curry and some drinks, returning to the workshop late at night to collect and play our instruments and here is a video of Cornelius ( a friend of Richards) playing it on some traditional tunes.

Finally, I had about 24 hours to play the Guitar/bouzouki, before I flew to America, so I recorded a version of my song “Taken Away” on my phone , which although it’s in the wrong key and lacks bass is taster of what’s to come:
Taken Away
Looking forward to getting back and really playing this instrument now !

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 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 !