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Bespoke Songs Now Available

September 2nd, 2014 · Bespoke songs, Music, Videos

-1I’m very pleased to finally be able to present the fives bespoke songs written in five days earlier this year and performed at Quay Arts on 26th April.

The concert was recorded by Jim and Rob Holmes from Studio Humbug and I’ve tied up their recordings to a film of the show taken by my friend John Rhodes.

I’ve also included the original demos of each song that I made at home as I was writing them.

 

SARAH MUSTON

 

 

 

LOIS PRIOR

 

 

 

ONEVAI PITA

 

 

 

SAM FARREN

 

 

 

MARA ROBINSON

 

 

 

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You probably think this song is about you…well it is!

March 12th, 2014 · Bespoke songs, Live, News, Up Here

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UPDATE MONDAY 21st APRIL

: The 5 winners are: Onevai Pita, Mara Robinson, Sarah Muston, Sam Farren and Lois Prior. I shall now go away and write your songs and perform them this Saturday evening at the Quay.

Ever wanted to be the subject of a song? Here’s your chance.

On Saturday 26th April I shall be performing with my band at Quay Arts in Newport on the Isle of Wight. As well as performing most of the new album ‘Up Here’ and a selection of songs from my back catalogue, I shall also be singing five new songs. Each of these new songs will have be written from scratch over the five days preceding the concert and will be based on the information provided by five successful entrants drawn out of a hat on Monday 21st April. The five successful entrants will not only have each of their songs performed on the night, they will also receive a recording of their song and, with their permission, the songs will be posted online.

I love the challenge of writing to a tight deadline. I also really enjoy the process of getting to know someone through song. I have done this on a number of occasions, creating a fully formed piece of work that hopefully represents some aspect of a person from just a few snippets of information.

The first time I did this was at the Larmer Tree Festival, where, as the in-house laureate, with the help of the audience I would interview two volunteers on stage each day at my lunchtime concert, then, following a frantic few hours writing, I would perform their songs that same evening. You can hear the results here. Subsequently I have received several commissions to write songs for people to be given as gifts, as well as being asked to write songs on various themes. Here’s an example of a song I was asked to compose for the ‘Folk Against Fascism’ movement: Flagbearers.

To enter, all you need to do is provide responses to at least fifteen of the following questions (as well as the first four which are obligatory) as well as any other other information which you feel I should know, and send your answers to me (any format will do) at youwillbelovedagain@gmail.com before the 20th April.

  • Name
  • Age
  • email
  • Occupation
  • First memory
  • Strongest memory
  • Life changing moment
  • Lowest moment
  • Happiest moment
  • Proudest achievement
  • Biggest regret
  • Ambitions
  • Hopes
  • Secrets
  • Dreams
  • Favourite things
  • Fantasies
  • Guilty Pleasures
  • Favourite song
  • Favourite poem
  • Favourite band/singer/composer
  • Favourite film
  • Favourite flower
  • Favourite book
  • Favourite food
  • Where would you most like to be?
  • Who do you most admire?
  • Who do you most despise?
  • Who do you love and why?
  • What scares you?
  • What Makes you laugh?
  • What makes you cry?
  • What makes you angry?
  • What makes you sweat?
  • What keeps you awake at night?
  • What satisfies you?
  • What is your motto?
  • Why are we here?
  • What happens when we die?
  • Tell me something I don’t know
  • Tell me something no-one else knows

 

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Kisses, tattoos and lots of friends.

March 11th, 2014 · Uncategorized

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 09.31.56Originally written for a close friend who was going through a very messy separation at the time, You Will Be Loved Again has proven to be one of the most popular songs on ‘Up Here’. I’m happy to say that the message of hope seems to have touched even the stoniest of hearts.

Inspired by the final few minutes of Cinema Paradiso where the now fully grown central character sits back to watch an entire reel of censored kisses collected from the cutting room floor over the decades, and the wonderful Godley and Cream video for Elvis Costello’s I Wanna Be Loved, I thought it would be nice to make a video compiled of kisses. What better way to do this than to use the social media at my fingertips to ask for contributions. Of course I knew what to expect but nothing had prepared me for the joy of finding a flurry of kisses in my mailbox each morning. A perfect way to start the day.

Trying to make sense of hundreds of separate films in many different formats with video editing software I’d never used before was not the easiest challenge I’ve ever set myself, but I bit my teeth, drank tea and managed to compile about a minutes worth of film! It was clear I’d need another visual element.

At school I’d always had the idea of getting tattoos, I even had them all planned out, but never had the spare cash to justify the expense; years later when I had the money, the world, his wife and even my mother were all getting inked so my contrary nature decided against it. However a few years ago I decided to surprise Mrs A by getting her name tattooed on my arm for Valentine’s Day, however on the way to my appointment I had a phone-call from the parlor to say they’d had to close due to sickness. This video seemed a good opportunity to resurrect the idea, and, as it’s for promotional purposes, get my tattoo tax-free!

I had no doubt about who to do the job, Rich Vine at Ravenskin is a top bloke and a couple of hours in his company was something to look forward to. Add to that the presence of my old friend Jon Nutter doing a sterling job on camera and it was a most pleasant evening.

I’m certainly no video editor but I fumbled my way through and had great fun playing, although I have a new found respect for the saintlike patience of anyone who does this for a living. It is unbearably tedious.

Just as I was thinking I needed one more element to make this video complete, as if by magic, a certain Mr David Godby arrived at my door with a pile of freshly gathered driftwood onto which he had stenciled the title of the song. Voila!

So, this video was made with no budget but the help and the goodwill of all those who contributed. There is a lot of love in it, and just a little bit of blood. I hope you enjoy it. Px

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Give me a kiss!!!

January 27th, 2014 · Music, News, Uncategorized, Up Here, Videos

downloadA song of hope for those without a valentine, You Will Be Loved Again is proving to be one of the most popular tracks from Up Here. To celebrate this I’ll be releasing a video to accompany the song on February 14th.

If you’d like to be in the video all you need to do is send a video of yourself or anyone you know blowing a kiss to the camera. The quality of the footage is not important, so it can be taken with your phone if that’s all you have to hand. Preferably a shot of just head and shoulders, but if you have more creative ideas then they’ll be welcomed to.

Just email your film(s) to youwillbelovedagain@gmail.com before or on Sunday 2nd February and I’ll do my very best to include them all. The more the merrier.

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Thank You!

January 10th, 2014 · Up Here

1425659_10151942178803971_1375801516_nSince the release of ‘Up Here’ earlier this month I’ve been overwhelmed with the level of support from both friends and strangers alike. I can barely keep up with the messages from well-wishers, happy to see my music getting some attention from press and radio. It’s been completely humbling.

Thank you!

It’s a small gesture that  doesn’t do justice to my gratitude but here’s a free download of The Speed of Clouds:

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A Happy new Year to you.

January 9th, 2014 · Live, Music, News, Uncategorized, Up Here

IMG_2321 A very happy New Year to friends old and new. And what a start!!!!! Up Hear has been released in the UK and already there have been great reviews in Mojo, Uncut and the Mirror. Folk Radio have made it album of the month and written possibly the best review I could ever hope to receive, and tracks from the album have even begun to pick up a bit of radio play.

The album is available from all the usual online outlets in cd and downloadable formats and also directly from me for £12.00 Add to Cart

I’ve some live dates in the Netherlands this month and further tours lined up for March (Austria/Switzerland and Benelux) and May (Germany). Closer to home I’ll be doing a solo show supporting Elephant Revival at the Lexington in Islington on February 2nd and some In-Store appearances with the band on the 8th February (3.00 The Union in Lewes and 5.00 at Music’s Not Dead in Bexhill On Sea) with possibly more Sussex activity on Friday 7th too.

Next Tuesday 14th January from 2.00pm until 4.00pm I’ll be the guest on Ian Mitchell’s radio show on the superb Angel Radio which only plays music over 50 years old, I look forward to that.

Here’s a track from Up Here: You Will Be Loved Again

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‘Up Here’ UK release details

December 3rd, 2013 · Live, News, Uncategorized, Up Here

upherewebpicI’m very chuffed to announce that Up Here is all set to get a UK release through PIAS distribution in early January 2014. To support this we’ll be doing a couple of live dates in December, the first on the 13th at Ventnor Arts Club  and the second on Monday 16th at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. Both are relatively small venues so buying tickets in advance is recommended. The album can be preordered here for £12 and any orders received before the end of December will receive a free copy of Songs Without Words when dispatched in early January. Add to Cart

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October Tour Dates

July 25th, 2013 · Live, News, Up Here

I’m very pleased to be able to share details of the forthcoming tour to promote the launch of ‘Up Here’ in October. There are several other dates to be confirmed and we haven’t even begun to look at UK dates yet.

All gigs listed here will be with the new band consisting of myself, Dave Godby, Rafe Spencer and Gaspar Sena, where possible we will also have my right-hand-man J.C Grimshaw in tow.

11.10.13 Bielefeld / Falkendom

12.10.13 Bugewitz / Kulturverein Weitblick
13.10.13 Hoppegarten / Haus der Generationen
14.10.13 Dresden / Dreikönigskirche (tickets here)
15.10.13 Hannover / Café Glocksee
16.10.13 Magdeburg / Weinladen
18.10.13 Berlin / Kugelbahn
19.10.13 Gera / Clubzentrum Comma (tickets here and here)
20.10.13 Montabaur / Atelier Kunst und Therapie
22.10.13 Tübingen / Arsenal Kino
23.10.13 Stuttgart / Café Galao
24.10.13 Köln / King Georg
25.10.13 Münster / CD Forum (@Plattenladenwoche)
28.10.13 Zürich / El Lokal
29.10.13 Wetzlar / Franzis
31.10.13 Kiel / Hansa 48
01.11.13 (NL) Leijden / q-bus
15.11.13 Wien / Bluebird Festival

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Up Here

July 18th, 2013 · Uncategorized

So…. the new album is mixed, mastered and being pressed up as we speak. Unfortunately, budgetary restrictions mean it will not yet be released on vinyl, but CDs and downloads will be available from early October. The cover is a painting by my good friend Florian Mitgutsch and portrays me as a middle aged superhero in mid-flight.

The track-listing is as follows:

1/ Shhh

2/ The Morning After The Storm

3/ Migration

4/ You Will Be Loved Again

5/ The First

6/ This Photograph Is My Proof

7/ The Bell-Ringer’s Hands

8/ The Speed Of Clouds

9/ Dust/Rust/Trust

10/ My Apology

11/ Passed

12/ Up Here

Recorded at Studio Humbug by Jim and Rob Homes, the lineup features Rafe Spencer on double bass, Dave Godby on lap steel, pedal steel, oud and hammer dulcimer, JC Grimshaw on mandolins and guitars, Jake Rodrigues on ukulele, banjo, piano, accordion and guitar, Rupert Brown on drums, Brian Sharpe on guitar, Paul Butler on sitar, charanga, kora, piano and horns percussion, Mari Persen on strings, Donal O’Riain on violin and Barklay McKay on piano.

 

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Uwe Schenk Trifft

June 11th, 2013 · Music, Up Here

I was recently invited to appear on a very interesting show called Uwe Schenk Trifft (Uwe Schenk Meets) in Stuttgart. Filmed in front of a live audience in a train shed/theatre, each show takes the form of a chat show/live gig focusing on just one artist. And what an eclectic selection of performers they have had, from legendary percussionist Nippy Noya to off the wall exponents of C64 keyboards Goto80. The show is funded by local sponsors and the two hosts with the in-house band perform live adverts for each of the sponsors in an irreverant and extremely light-hearted manner. It’s a delightful format built around the endearing personalities of the two hosts Andreas Vogel and his piano-playing sidekick Uwe Schenk, and the unbelievable talents of the musicians. Following the adverts I performed a 20 minute solo set of mostly new material which you can hear here, after which I was interviewed by the two hosts and then I got to perform a selection of my songs with the band- what a treat. When the show is posted on-line you will hear just what a great job they did, superb arrangements played by some top players. A complete indulgence. You can check out some of the previous shows here

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