25/11/18 - 'Panyan'
from my album, Journey Part 1 is now available on You Tube.
Gathering dust, Panyan sits silently on the shelf. To a casual observer he's just a tatty old panda, a stuffed toy designed for children to chew, and yes, this panda has been well chewed.
It's been a real challenge getting 35 original pieces of Panyan art from my family & friends, but the finished film makes this the most rewarding and satisfying of all my videos. Thank you to the Panyan artists, each piece gave me a huge smile. The verses from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám are beautifully recited by my son, Matt. x
13/11/18 - 'Hanging on'
the fourth song from my album, Journey Part 1 is now available on You Tube. Sadly, You Tube have pixelated my video and despite making four versions, there's nothing I could do to get a true representation of the film as I'd produced it. I had similar problems with the films for 'Journey' and 'Another journey'. You Tube just doesn't seem to like grass, trees and long cross fades - lesson learnt! For me it's about the song, so please listen and let the films wash over you. x
28/10/18 - 'Fantasy'
the third song from my album, Journey Part 1 is now available on You Tube. It features: Panyan, the dancing panda - Matt Martin as the narrator and extracts from my answerphone messages going back 15-years.
Panyan celebrated his 60th birthday back in June and has his own song, which will feature in an upcoming video. But, craving the limelight, he decided to show us his dancing moves whilst holidaying on Skye and then he couldn't resist doing a bit of panda boogie in the studio.
14/10/18 - 'Another journey'
the second song from my album, Journey Part 1 is now on You Tube. I've used road signs to illustrate the song.
Road signs: I teach children cycling (Bikeability) and part of the course is a test on the meaning of road signs. Since starting this work I've found myself looking at road signs in a new light and see them as art. I've built a photo library of different road sign - this sometimes involves stopping on busy roads to capture new examples!
07/10/18 - 'Journey'
the opening song from my album, Journey Part 1 is now on You Tube. It's a simple film of light and shadows.
I like to make films for You Tube featuring my songs. Rule 1: is to try and do this on a zero (or minimum) budget, i.e. use the tools I have and capture images fuelled by my imagination. Therefore, during spring and summer I had been shooting film footage on my GoPro and iPhone - I'm enchanted by light, shadow and nature - they represent true beauty and contrast. Some of this footage will be used in upcoming video releases.
Journey Part 1 - Recording - 28/03/18 - 04/10/18
04/10/18 Album Finished:
Kevin brought the finished master over to my house. I gave it a listen and am very happy with it. Recording over, so now it's time to sort artwork, CD production run, release date, iTunes upload, videos and do some marketing.
25/09/18 & 02/10/18:
Dropped into the studio to re-do the guitar part on 'Shining knight' and sort a few details on 'Fantasy', 'Panyan' and 'What's in a life'. Kevin then sent me over the new mixes and I signed it all off as finished. He will now Master the finished album.
09/09/18 - Session 18: Simon Farmer
recorded a wonderful sax part on 'What's in a life' and we added another voice to 'Fantasy' from the answer phone. The recordings are now complete and Kevin will start to mix the album and send the final mixes over to me for sign off. I'm very pleased with what we've captured and am looking forward to the finished album. I'll now focus on album artwork, video production and sorting a release date.
06/09/18 - Session 17: Heather
recorded a flute part for 'Wreckage' and we added a few extra sounds to the same song.
29/08/18 - Session 16: Bits and bobs.
Worked through various bits on 'Fantasy', 'Wreckage' and 'Routine'. Added some extra guitar on 'Panyan', 'Out of the blue' and 'What's in a life'. Later in the day, Kevin added some BVs to 'Out of the blue'. Eight songs are now complete and ready for mixing, with the other two just needing a bit of colour instrumentation. Really excited with the sound and feel.
20/08/18 - Session 15: Matt Martin
was in to do his vocal work on 'Panyan' and 'Fantasy' - he did a great job. I returned from holiday yesterday and will now crack on and get the last bits of recording done, ready for mixing and mastering. I have also been working on the album cover art and three videos for use on You Tube when the album is released.
18/07/18 - Session 14: Nearly there.
Recorded vocal on 'Out of the blue' and some acoustic lead guitar for the intro of 'Routine'. I've finished my parts and am now having a holiday before getting my guests along to do their bits. Kevin is also working on various songs. I can see the finish line and I'm liking what I hear.
09/07/18 - Session 13: Out of the blue
is the tenth and final song for the album. It is also the 100th song I've written and recorded. It took a long time to write and we got the guitar parts down and a guide vocal. Kevin had also been working on 'Routine' which is really getting there - I want to do an electric guitar part, which should be an interesting and fun challenge.
27/06/18 - Session 12: Back in the studio.
We focused on 'Shining knight' - I'd written a new lyric about addiction. We built the new track using my original guitar and adding choral voices, bells, tympani drums and a big gong - I then recorded a lead vocal. The songs is now complete and just needs a few tweaks prior to mixing.
06/06/18 - Session 11: Shining Knight
was originally recorded for my album, Standing Room Only, but due to various reasons was never finished. Kevin has imported my original guitar track and guide vocal and we are giving it a major re-work, including new lyrics. Kevin had done quite a lot of work on 'Hanging on', which is sounding sweet. We are going to take a three-week break from the studio, allowing me to recharge and focus on one more new song and start looking at who else is going to feature. Back in the studio on 27/06/18. x
31/05/18 - Session 10: Bits and bobs.
I did some guide vocal work on 'Fantasy' and we completed the structure of the song. We also reviewed most of the songs, noting what we needed to do next on each one. Kevin will undertake various bits of work before next week.
24/05/18 - Session 9: Fantasy.
I'm looking at a dance/rap feel, which is very different from my normal approach to putting a song together. We sampled a couple of bars off my version of Going down the road feeling bad (Me and my Martin) and built a drum loop. I used voices off my answerphone which I have saved up for over 15-years. Great fun and I loved the experimental aspect of it all. Need to sort the words and a bass line and crack on next time. Pushing the envelope. x
16/05/18 - Session 8: Hanging on.
We recorded the rhythm guitar and vocals and tried out some drum ideas. I'm enjoying the sparseness of the songs and am keen to keep them like this and not get bogged down adding too many colours.
09/05/18 - Session 7: Another journey.
We recorded the basic guitar part and vocals and looked at production ideas to help drive the song. Another really good session.
26/04/18 - Session 6: Routine
is about the mundane stuff on our journey. We recorded the rhythm guitar and vocals and worked on finding a suitable drum & bass track. I had a bit of a cough, which made the vocals quite hard to do, but I'm happy with the outcome. I will now look for a suitable grungy electric guitar part to compliment the feel of the song. It's important for me that each number is different and distinct, whilst still contributing to the overall big picture that makes up the Journey.
13/04/18 - Session 5: What's in a life
is about the journey, but in a light-hearted and slightly silly way - it will close the album. We recorded the guitar and vocals and then focused on finding the right drum track. Kevin will add a simple country style bass line and I'm looking at options for a feature instrument - maybe some sax.
10/04/18 - Session 4: Wreckage.
I finished writing the song a couple of days back and we recorded the guitar and vocals. We also looked at a suitable drum and bass track and will use some 'dark piano' to add to the mood - this is a very dark song and I want the instrumentation to be sparse, but still to express a sense of foreboding.
05/04/18 - Session 3: Panyan.
Me and my panda (Panyan) will be 60 this year, so I wrote a song about our journey through life. Mum gave me her copy of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (English translation by Edward FitzGerald 1859) when I was at school and I've selected some verses that she had underlined to go with the song. We recorded the guitar and vocals and added some bells and looked at other colour sounds. My son, Matt will do the spoken verses.
30/03/18 - Session 2: Journey.
Kevin had done some work on Journey, whilst I have been focused on the big picture - ie the style and sound I want for this album. I've decided to keep it sparse with acoustic guitar and vocal and let the song do the talking. We will be adding some colour, but I'm keen to keep it intimate and real.
28/03/18 - Session 1: Journey.
In 2014 I recorded my album View from a window with Kevin Jones, he then relocated to Swansea. At the end of last year he moved back to East Sussex and started building a new studio in his garden. We met up in December and agreed to record my new album together. This was the first session in Kevin's brand new studio and we recorded the guitar and vocals for Journey, which will open the album.
Playing live in January, February and March:
Whilst waiting for the new recording studio to be ready, I busied myself doing plenty of live performances. They allowed me to polish and develop the new songs and fine tune my guitar technique ready for the demands of the studio.
27/02/18 - 'Standing room only' is now on You Tube:
I had an idea for a film and thought it lent itself to the title song from my last album. There are now six videos featuring songs from the album.
January - February - March
The studio opening date was put back due to various issues, not least the fierce winter, which featured incessant snow, ice, rain and cold.
In 2017 I started making little films, mainly for fun and set up a new You Tube site for them. I'm now adding various bits of live performance footage. It's an eclectic mix of stuff, but they all feature my music. There's currently 22 different films
01/01/18 - Looking back & looking forward: For the last couple of months I've been writing new material and planning the next album, 'Journey Part 1'. I've found a new studio and hope to start recording it in February, or March - watch this space.
2018 Diary - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012