Updated: Feb 1
Last month saw me take to the seas, well St. Katherine’s docks by the Thames to be precise, aboard Grand Cru studios. An 100 foot dutch barge boat fitted with a state of the art recording studio, that until recently operated as a private studio for the Who’s Pete Townsend. I was there to record a single and B side with my band of Eric Young and Raf Ruocco, under the expert guidance of producer Myles Clarke. Myles is a old friend and extremely talented guy who’s worked with some big names in the industry such as The Who, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, and Rod Stewart. And I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. To be honest this was my first real experience working in a studio of this magnitude so I was keen to prepare as much as I could before hand. I recorded a demo at home to work out the arrangements and spent an evening rehearsing my band so we all new what we were doing on the day in question. But I needn’t have worried, the three days that I spent recording and sitting in on the mix were easily the most enjoyable time I’ve spent in a studio and I was extremely happy with the end result. The first day was the most challenging, as we set up in the live room and worked out the arrangements and best way to capture our sound, but after that it was plain sailing. (excuse the pun) The first two days were spent recording and the last day was spent recording guitars and backing vocals and sorting the mix. Out of the session we recorded two tracks ‘The Colour of my Blues’ the B side to the single ‘Rambling Man’ which is to be realised on iTunes, apple music and Spotify in the next month or so.
After that we all got together to play as a band at an annual beer festival held at the Ivy House pub in Nunhead. The event it’s self took place over several days on the weekend and we took to the stage on Saturday night. The organisers had told me before hand that this was usually there busiest day of the year and they worn’t wrong, the place was absolutely heaving! Although the crowd were pretty rowdy (and drunk) we went down a storm with the punters. The venue was quite unique in that it faced closure a couple of years ago and instead of the local community letting it go under, everyone chipped in to buy the venue and it’s now community owned. That spirit really shined through in the attitude of the regulars and the friendliness of the staff.
Which leads me on to the last minute solo gig I did for ‘Folking Around‘ a few weeks before hand. This is a monthly folk night that’s held in Woody’s Bar in Kingston upon Thames. As a musician you have a moment now and again when you realise why you do what you do, and all the shitty gigs, set backs and obstacles pail into insignificance. And the opening set I played at Folking Around was one of those moments. Wether it was because the crowd were expecting just a whimsical folk singer or because my
style is quite different from the norm, but everyone was taken by surprise and absolutely loved it. Each song was met by rapturous applause, people starting dancing, and a group who were out celebrating a birthday went totally crazy for it. The reactions I got from people afterwards when I went around collecting emails was amazing, and frankly took me a little off guard. Ultimately it was a touching experience which confirmed to me that the path of a musician was the correct one for me, and if there were any doubts in my mind that I was doing the right thing they were totally forgotten. And as I face the summer and my impending tour of the US, I’m ready to take on whatever the life of a musician throws at me next.