Communication with a conscience effort can be easily omitted.
In today’s technical age, time can feel so fleeting and the time to let people know about ‘where you’re playing next’ or ‘when your next record is coming out’ can communicate factual but with less emotion and detailed description than interest should desire…
I sit here listening to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, edifying my musical appreciation and contemplating what to write that’s interesting and yet informative about the upcoming months in my 2015 calendar.
Well…over the last couple of months I’ve been working with engineer Sara De Clara to record a selection of new material I’ve been performing live since the middle of 2014. This material forms my upcoming EP entitled ‘Fragments’. This selection of 4 tracks have been purposely stripped of any additional accompaniment (except a few harmonies here and there) and predominantly consists of me and my acoustic guitar, fingerpicking and singing.
Each track on the EP conveys something emotional to me, whether an experience or observation that feels meaningful or poignant. I try to write to capture an emotion that I can feel and revisit when I perform live. This concept influenced the title of the EP ‘Fragments’ – with each track, a fragmented overlook into my past….
The EP explores…
Musically, in particularly the tracks ‘Remedy’ & the single ‘If I Question’ released last Nov 22nd, I focused on a delicate and melodic approach to the guitar part to compliment the lyrics. Both tracks also contain slightly unusual time signatures – ‘Remedy’ being in 15/8 for the verse and ‘If I Question’ calls upon three different time signatures at various parts of the song – verse 5/4, chorus 4/4, ending 3/4.
‘Somewhere Called Nowhere’ – an allegory, describes an enticing figure alluring myself into deep water. This metaphorically suggests deceiving paths we can find ourselves on throughout our lives and the realisation how what we thought we were searching for, isn’t really there.
The track ‘I left My Heart Out In The Rain’ recalls events I’ve experienced as a musician…for example, I was asked by the job centre ‘what job would you like best?’ but no jobs for a musician appeared in their database for the whole of the North West of England. Also, being told to f#ck off to Johnny Roadhouse in a pretentious music store for requesting to play an instrument I was interested in buying contributed to a line in the song.
One of my aims with this record was to fuse my love of folk and soul music…whether achieved or not, the likes of Nick Drake to Smokey Robinson have massively influenced this record and both genres continue to influence me as a writer and musician.
Sara has done a wonderful job engineering the sessions and producing the final mixes that capture the intended feel I wanted to portray with the tracks. Her patience was also greatly appreciated throughout the recording sessions.
The record is currently in the hands of the manufacturers, and when I receive the physical batch, the release date will be set and announced in the not too distant future….Reason being, the last few times I’ve released a CD with a launch, how circumstances fell, I received them on the morning of the show…perfect timing but a few heartbeats missed.
Also, in conjunction with the recording sessions I enlisted the photography skills and director Jeff Hurst of Jeff Hurst Photography to capture the feel of the record in the artwork booklet. We shot in various locations around Manchester City Centre to find some interesting shots. The first day Manchester’s usual overcast skies demanded patience and creativity to generate a dramatic effect, but were achieved by Jeff’s skill and experience. The second day, venturing down to Castlefield, the weather was perfect. On a chilly February morning, with beams of sun penetrating uneven clouds casting shadows, the mood fitted beautifully to suggest the feel of the songs.
Whether playing solo or with the band ‘The Mind At Large‘ in which I feature in as the lead guitarist, you can catch me playing regularly in and around Manchester. Or twice in one night as in the case of the 7th March. Please take a look at my live dates page here. The upcoming months are filled with plenty of events…
Thank you to all the people in my life that continually inspire and remind me of what I love to do! Family, friends, fans & fellow musicians! Keep the dream alive!
Thanks for reading and I wish you a wonderful day!