Spring is Here

Well spring is upon us and life is stumbling towards a sort of post-covid normality as live music comes out of hibernation.

I’m keeping playing open mics regularly around Hereford and occasionally further afield along with a few up and coming gigs .

May 1st : Die Koffee Pot, Hereford : this will be a full 2 hour set of mainly original acoustic songs . It’s a great outdoor venue for the summer and this time I hope the sun is shining . When I played in February it was so cold after 2 hours that I could hardly move or feel my fingers !!!

May 29th: The Seven Stars , Bristol : After the disappointment of having to cancel couple of weeks ago due to the impact of Covid , I’ll be back there with Pete Young on Keyboards and Gus Mills on bass for an upbeat afternoon which promises to be fun as ever .

In the meantime just to whet your appetite here is a video of Gus and I playing a recent open mic at The Shoulder of Mutton in Wantage, as a warm up for the gig that didn’t happen.

The most exciting gig coming up is a solo set at the How the Light Gets In Festival in June at Hay on Wye. I’ll be playing 1pm on Saturday 4th June in the Blue Moon Tent and this will be an original acoustic set .

Hoping to get some more dates later in the Summer , but my other news is that I’m returning to Richard Osbornes workshop in Wales for a month in April/May to build an Acoustic Guitar to use as my main live guitar, and compensate for my tendon issues in my left hand so I can hopefully keep playing as long as possible.

I’ll post a report and pictures on here at some point !!!

Happy New Year

Well it’s been a while since I last posted but I decided it was time to break the silence again and post an update on things .

2021 was a really mixed year although thankfully I was able to get out and play live a few times and hopefully that will continue now into 2022 .

I finished the year playing a set at The Seven Stars in Bristol with the complete Ulterior Motives lineup of me , Pete Young, Jim Stewart and Gus Mills in a stripped back format .It was a great afternoon as it was also Alfie Kingston’s birthday so there was a real party atmosphere . Here is one of the highlights from the day “Overload”:

If you want to watch more the whole set is on my Youtube channel.

I have continued to post demo songs on Soundcloud through the year and now plan to pull together a low budget on-line only album for release in the spring featuring many of these new songs after some re-recording and studio wizardry .https://soundcloud.com/alan-maskell-73896708

In terms of live dates up coming , the only immediate one is at Die Koffee Pot in Hereford as a rearranged show from last year on 16th January 22 between 1 and 3pm . This is outdoors so hoping for better weather than in November when it was cancelled due to high winds .

Live Shows

So after 18months in hibernation , including a house move and several lockdowns , venues are beginning to open up again and I’m getting back out playing . After several warm -up open mics to make sure I haven’t forgotten everything, I have two longer sets coming up :

Saturday 18th September : 7-8pm Wobbly Brewery Tap Room, Hereford

Sunday 10th October : 3-5pm ( 30 minute set ) Seven Stars, Thomas Lane, Bristol

Breakfast with The King

A belated posting of this , but I thought I’d already done it .

Early in 2020 a good friend of ours in Sarasota finally lost a long standing battle with Cancer . Tony was a poet with whom we shared a connection, as he was born in Cirencester before moving to the USA. I met Tony at a music party hosted by Jean Bayou in Sarasota, not long after our move to the USA, and later at various open mics , and we became friends .

When I was also undergoing Chemo we spoke on the phone on a number of occasions , and formed a sort of bond.

On our last visit to the USA in November 2019 we met Tony for breakfast in a diner in Sarasota which was famous for a visit by Elvis Presley in the 1960’s and it appeared to have not changed too much since !. We had a good time and were glad we were able to see him for one last time .

I wrote this song for him using some of his poetry, both as a chorus and interspersed in the song and it is my small tribute to him .

Breakfast with the King

This version features Ted Fordney on bass and Pete Young on Piano, but I have recently been playing a slimmed down solo version live , and it works equally well in that format.

SOUNDCLOUD

A few weeks ago I decided to reactivate my Soundcloud account .

I plan to use this to publish un-released demos of mainly new songs , but also occasional versions of Old Songs . The first recording I put up was a new Acoustic recording of Rose Tattoo with Ted on bass , which was entered in The Talent is Timeless song competition, and was long listed , but sadly made it no further .

I also added 4 new demos including a brand new song written about John Prine called Perfect Mistake .

You can listen here : Perfect Mistake

Rooks -20th Anniversary

Amazingly it is 20 years since Ulterior Motives released their first album “Rooks”. After playing together as a live band ,with occasional breaks , since the early 80’s we finally got together to record and release this CD in 2001.

The album features : Alan Maskell; Guitar and Vocals, Pete Young ; Keyboards and Vocals, Gus Mills ; Bass and Vocals , John Hedgecock ; Drums . Additionally former band member Graham “Snowy” Taylor guests on Saxophone on three tracks .

We recorded in a number of locations in and around Wantage, with much of the final engineering and production by Andy Boyd.

We chose a mix of material covering the bands lifespan including old songs like “The Trap” and “Where do we Go “right through to the newest material like “Distant” and “Underdog”

Back Cover – Track Listing

We always felt this album was underrated and were limited in the amount of promotion we were able to give it .

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary, we decided to make Rooks available on all the commercial streaming services ( Which didn’t exist in 2001 ) so please give it a listen.

If you like you can also buy a download from our Bandcamp Page :https://ulteriormotives2.bandcamp.com/album/rooks-2

When I go back and listen to it the album still retains a freshness and invention , but retaining the tight sound of a regularly gigging band.

Who knows, we may even get out there and play an anniversary concert if we’re able ………………………

Live from Common Grounds again !!

On Wednesday 7th April I’ll be broadcast a 30 minute “Live ” solo set as part of the Common Grounds weekly open mic on www.KDWradio.com .The set was recorded in a single take in my Shepherds Hut in Herefordshire so is complete with mistakes etc but felt that was the best way to capture it. The songs range from a re-vamp of the first song I ever wrote through to some less familiar tracks and a couple of older favourites .

As the show is broadcast in the middle of the night in the UK, I’ll put the show up live on my YouTube page the day afterwards through the following link : https://youtu.be/SO6IAMVR1K8

Moving On and Perfect Mistake

A couple of new Demo recordings this month :

Way back when I first started out playing music and songwriting as a teenager in Bath I wrote my first song “Moving On ” as a straightforward electric blues song .

I’ve played with it periodically over the years and recently rewrote and updated it some 45 years later.

I recorded this track in a more acoustic style , to try to create an “old time ” feel with Ted Fordney on bass.

Moving On 2021

As lockdown continues here I’ve carried on my recording projects and tried to try different things . This is a new song which grew out of an instrumental developed on my newly built tenor guitar

The song and title “Perfect Mistake” came from an interview with John Prine that I listened to a couple of months ago, after his sad passing due to Covid. He was a fantastic songwriter who I only re-discovered 3 or4 years ago, although he featured on the 2nd album I ever bought back in the 70’s .

This recording features Tenor and acoustic guitar along with Ted Fordney on Double Bass.

Perfect Mistake

A Little bit of History

One thing that the periods spent in Lockdown has enabled me to do is to revisit my computer hard drives and music archives and re-look at tracks that might be of interest .

I initially transferred my oldest band recordings from some very old cassette tapes into a digital format . After cleaning them up I re-mastered a few of the most worthwhile tracks and this is one of them, and I think it still captures some of the energy of that period.

Loving You isn’t Easy was recorded a studio in SouthHill Park in Bracknell in 1978 by Stolen Goods . This was one of two tracks from that session and featured the lineup of :

Alan Maskell : Guitars and Vocals

Alison Mountjoy : Vocals

Linda Allen : Piano, Vocals

Jan K├Ânig : Bass

David Key : Drums

I wrote this song during the summer of 1976, and although I began a brief difficult relationship at that time, I’m not sure it actually refers to it.

Loving You isn’t Easy

Just to add some embarrassment and illustrate the fashion failures of the time here is a band promo picture from that year . This was just before punk really became an influence.

The second track I rediscovered was much more recent and from a session in 2003 although I don’t actually remember where we recorded it . At the time it was shelved and personal circumstances took over for a while and by the time we re-grouped in 2004 to record the second Ulterior Motives album “Simple Schemes” it was forgotten.

Anyway Sleepless Nights as a song dates back again to the Summer of 1976, and had formed part of the Stolen Goods live set . This recording features :

Alan Maskell : Guitar, Vocals

Pete Young : Piano, keyboards , Vocals

Gus Mills : Bass

This was 3/4 of Ulterior Motives , but our drummer had recently suffered a serious heart issue and was on a compulsory rest , hence the use of a machine on this recording .

Sleepless Nights 2003

Lockdown Recordings

As we started the new year with another lockdown in The UK , I’ve continued the demo recording process for new songs .

50 Shades of Grey :This song was written at the end of 2020 , but doesn’t mention covid or lockdowns, instead focusses on tolerance and equality , which I hope will be given much more consideration ( particularly in the USA ) in 2021. It’s also about debate and the fact that many things are not black and white but have nuances ,and opinions should be open to influence rather than remaining entrenched .

Apart from that it’s a jolly pop production, and I’m joined on bass by Ted Fordney , socially distanced in the Florida sunshine .

50 Shades of Grey

For those that missed the live broadcast , my set recorded for Common Grounds is available to watch/listen to on YouTube :