2014 Round-Up

    Playing Live

  • I did 68 live performances in 2014
12 videos made for You Tube

30/12/14 - Album Cover Photo Shoot: Mark Eason and I headed off on foot down the Cuckoo Trail - along with the photos, we also shot some film that should appear in 'The Man' video. Some of Mark's shots can be viewed on Facebook.

It's been a great year for me on the music front, and it will be full steam ahead in January to get the album out, complete the new website and produce some new films for You Tube.

Happy New Year
The Last Song Album Cover photo - 30.12.14
On location with Mark Eason - 30.12.14
The Last Song is finished - 23.12.14
The Last Song is finished - 23.12.14
Rupert at work - 23.12.14
23/12/14 - Session 21: Since my last session, Rupert had done a lot of great work on the detail and mixing. Today we completed the final mastering and the album is now finished. We will both give it a good listen over the next few days, to check if there are any final tweaks needed - and then, it's onwards and upwards with sorting everything for release. I'm extremely proud of the finished recordings and must thank Rupert for helping me make this album.
Next stop: album cover artwork, release date, You Tube videos and the tough bit; marketing!

17/11/14 - Session 20: Today was my final session in the studio. Rupert and I worked through my 'to do list', tweaking various songs in preparation for final mixing. I've loved my time in the studio and having scrutinised every detail, I'm real pleased with what we've achieved - I think we've produced a great album. It's now over to Rupert, who will weave his magic and do the final mixes and mastering. I can then review each song and we can do any required remixes - and then, it's done, my fourth album since setting out on this journey on 26/09/12.

  • Insomniac's Dream - detail
  • Tree - detail
  • Music of the road - detail
  • On Paper Wings - detail
  • Fun of the Fayre - detail
  • Bicksie Bear - detail
14/11/14 - Session 19: After last week, I'd played the rough mixes to couple of good music friends for their view, which was very positive. I've decided that the recordings and lead vocals are now complete, so it's time to do some fine detailing and start the final mixing.

I'd had some positive feedback from the USA re my song 'The Man' which featured on my previous album, 'Stories to be told' - and based on this, I thought it might be interesting to get Rupert to do a remix, which involved adding some light (Nashville) drums and giving the lead vocal a bit of a tweak. I will put the remixed version of The Man on the new album - and we'll see if it works for the good ole US of A.

  • The Man - remixing
  • Insomniac's Dream - final tweaks & detail
Rupert working on a remix of The Man - 14.10.14
Still Life
Rupert remixes The Man - 14.11.14
Who's that drummer
Wurlitzer & Yamaha
05/11/14 - Session 18: Spent the session doing new vocal and detailing on Quiet Man.

  • Quiet Man - new vocal, detail and mixing

04/11/14 - Session 17: Most of the session was spent doing a new vocal on Mendacious Cowboy and working on the arrangement.

  • Mendacious Cowboy - new vocal & mixing
  • Quiet Man - trumpet parts & detail
Rupert records the fat trumpet parts on Quiet Man 4.10.14
29/10/14 - Session 16: We focused on the sounds and arrangement on Fun of the Fayre and then did a new vocal on Diary.

  • Fun of the Fayre - detail and mixing
  • Diary - new vocals

28/10/14 - Session 15: We used the session to work on the arrangement, detail and mixing on Funked up Country.

  • Funked up Country - detail & mixing
16/10/14 - Session 14: We used most of the session re-doing the vocals on Tree.

  • Tree - new vocals and detailing

15/10/14 - Session 13: I'd written another song (eleventh). This takes the album length to over 40 minutes, and it is definitely the final composition.

  • On Paper Wings - guitar, vocals & arrangement
Rupert doing the trumpet part on On Paper Wings - 15.10.14
On Paper Wings - 15.10.14
On Paper Wings - 15.10.14
Studio - 16.10.14
Guitars - 16.10.14
08/10/14 - Session 12: We focused the whole session on the album title track, The Last Song. Vocals, BVs and production details and mixing.

  • The Last Song - BVs, detail and first mix

01/10/14 - Session 11: With the basic tracks all recorded, it's time to focus on the detail and start the mixing process.

  • Insomniac's Dream - detail and first mix
  • Diary - detail and first mix

24/09/14 - Session 10: Most of the session was spent on recording a new vocal for Bicksie and sorting the song structure and detail. I then did some electric guitar on Quiet Man, this will be the only use of an electric guitar on the album and is a nostalgic throwback to my younger influences.

  • Bicksie Bear - vocals & musical arrangement
  • Quiet Man - electric guitars
Telecaster ready for Quiet Man - 24.09.14
Ready to record Music of the Road - 17.09.14
17/09/14 - Session 9: We've reached the tenth and final song. I now have the full album sketched out - 10 new original compositions and from here; it's all about how much time (expense) and detail to put in, to get them just so. I am very pleased with each song and the overall sound is very cool and different from my previous albums, which is always my ambition.

  • Music of the Road - guitar, vocals & musical arrangement
  • Bicksie Bear - vocals
03/09/14 - Session 8: The Last Song was inspired by meeting up with a special friend from long ago. It will be the album title song.

  • The Last Song - guitar, vocals & musical arrangement

27/08/14 - Session 7: I'd written Diary on the previous day and my brief to Rupert was Frank Sinatra meets Bob Dylan and I think it worked.

  • Diary - guitar, vocals & musical arrangement
  • Fun of the Fayre - vocals & musical arrangement

20/08/14 - Film Work: I finished the video to go with my song, 'Tick Tock' and uploaded it to You Tube. It's the fourth film featuring material from my album, View from a window.

Rupert and his trumpet with Stone Lined Mic-A-Mute for Diary - 27.08.14
13/08/14 - Session 6: We started a new song that had been partly inspired by the sad death of Robin Williams and the arrangement is a bit of homage to Lou Reed.

  • Insomniac's Dream - guitar, vocals, bass & drums
  • Quiet Man - vocals and musical arrangement

06/08/14 - Session 5: We focused attention on another pair of songs, doing vocals, adding colour and looking at some of the detail.

  • Mendacious Cowboy - vocals and musical arrangement
  • Bicksie Bear - vocals and musical arrangement
Trumpets at the ready - 6.08.14

05/08/14 - Film Work: Last night I attended the Lewes Wanderers Cycling Club Hill Climb up Firle Beacon and shot some film on my GoPro camera. I edited it up today for You Tube, adding two instrumentals (Autumn & Winter) from my album, 'View from a window' as the soundtrack. I now have four cycling films featuring various bits of my music as the soundtrack.

29/07/14 - Session 4: After a four week break it was good to be back in studio. Having sketched out six songs it's time to start focusing on them individually. We worked on the musical ideas and instrumentation - it was a really good session.

  • Tree - vocals and musical arrangement
  • Funked up Country - vocals and musical arrangement
02/07/14 - Session 3: I'd been working on two more new songs and we recorded the basic tracks. We now have six songs on the drawing board and will start to add some colour at the next session. Rupert is taking the lead with production ideas and I'm very excited with the direction and sound of the new material.

  • Quiet Man - guitar, vocals, bass & drums
  • Fun of the Fayre - guitar, vocals, bass & drums

01/07/14 - Archive Work: I've taken some old live video footage of my band Red Delta from 1991 and synced it to the original studio recording of my song 'Remember'. I used some long zoom fades and various other visual effects to create the finished video for You Tube.

18/06/14 - Session 2: We laid down the basic tracks for two more new songs and were joined by Andrea Hunnisett who added some great Wurlitzer electric piano.

  • Funked up Country - guitar, vocals, piano, bass & drums
  • Bicksie Bear - guitar, vocals, piano, bass & drums

10/06/14: Tony Sinnett has finished the final edit of our film for, 'Social Media' - I've uploaded it to You Tube. It's the third song from 'View from a window' to have it's own YT film.

Andrea Hunnisett adding some Wurlitzer electric piano - 18.06.14
04/06/14 - Session 1: Another album, another studio!

Rupert Cobb plays the wonderful trumpet part on my song, Ghosts and has generously agreed to work with me on my latest project, 'The Last Song'.

We had a great first session, laying down the bones for two new songs and Rupert is going to help me push the boundaries with the musical arrangements.

  • Tree - guitar, vocals, bass & drums
  • Mendacious Cowboy - guitar, vocals, bass & drums
Rupert Cobb in his studio - our first session - 4.06.14

03/06/14: I visited Tony Sinnett's studio to finish the filming for my next You Tube video, Social Media. We used a second puppet (Jester), complete with shades from one of my son's childhood teddy bears and a model mic and mic stand, kindly built for me by Richard Meed.

We shot the scene as Stop Motion Animation and hopefully, interlaced with the footage filmed at my house (a few weeks back) and some period photos, Tony will edit up a really cool film that tells the story of the song.

22/05/14: I've edited up some live footage from my Six Bells gig on 18/02/14 and synced it with the album track I like to be sad for You Tube.

08/05/14: View from a window released on CD and iTunes. Ghosts film up on You Tube.

Social Media and the two main characters - 3.06.14
03/05/14: Collected 100 copies of the finished CD. I have been hard at work, sorting the artwork, updating my website and getting everything ready for the release date. Tony has finished editing the Ghosts video, so that can go live to coincide with the official release of the album on iTunes.

25/04/14: Kevin had completed the mixing and mastering process and I made a final visit to collect the finished CD and say goodbye, as he's leaving Sussex behind and heading back to his homeland (Swansea). It's a real shame, as I've enjoyed working with Kevin and am very happy with what we've produced.

23/04/14: Mark Eason did the album cover artwork photo shoot at the Gibraltar Tower and the rest of the day was spent filming footage for the Ghosts and Social Media videos with Tony Sinnett, who'd built the puppet to represent a young (18-year-old) version of me. And we had lots of fun using dry ice!

Photo shoot for album cover artwork - Photos by: Mark Eason

Is it safe? Tony Sinnett prepares the Skeleton to play the trumpet!
Photo shoot for album cover artwork with Tony Sinnett & Mark Eason
Richard Meed built the Van Gough style chair, whilst I did the seat using waxed string
Tony Sinnett built the puppet as a representation of me when I was 18
16/04/14: I went to Richard Meed's workshop to build a sound stage for my marionette film for Social Media. Richard, who'd previously helped me out on the Paul video and had recently built the Van Gough style chair for the upcoming Ghosts video also knocked up a miniature ladder for use by my puppet in the film.

15/04/14 - Week 17: Today was my final visit to the studio to sort various bits of detail, including the electric guitar track for Autumn, which featured John Oddie - this was the last piece in the View from a window jigsaw.
Richard Meed building the stage for use in the video for the song Social Media
Time for mixing - Kevin Jones at his Eastriver Studio
I'm happy with all the sounds and have scrutinised every detail. It's now over to Kevin, who will weave his magic on the console and do the final mixes and mastering. I can then review each song and Kevin will complete any required remixes - and then it's done - QED!
Next stop, album cover artwork, release date, You Tube video with Tony Sinnett and the dreaded marketing!!

04/04/14 - Week 16: Today could be my final session of recording for the new album. I started by laying down a subtle funky rhythm part on Winter with my old Shadow electric guitar and Wah wah pedal, I then added a bit of lead as a top line. I gave the old Martin a final outing doing some high arpeggios on Tomorrow's Children. That's all the recording completed, with the exception of Autumn, which I'm hoping to get one of my star guests to do a top line for. The rest of the session was spent going through each song and sorting sounds and details and signing them off for mixing.

  • The Four Seasons - Part 4: Winter - electric guitars
Kevin can now start the mixing process, whilst I need to crack on with sorting the artwork & marketing and getting everything ready and planning a release date, which should be in May.

Mark Eason is going to do the photo shoot for the album artwork and we are using the Gibraltar Tower (in Heathfield Park) as a location.

I'm also working with Tony Sinnett (again) on two films featuring songs from the new album, the first of which (Ghosts) which will go live on the same date as the album release.

Shadow & Wah Wah on Winter - 4.04.14
27/03/14 - Week 15: The first job of the day was to lay down the basic track for Winter. This is the fourth and final piece of the Four Seasons jigsaw.

Tick-tock was written whilst playing along to my metronome, so it needed to feature on the track - and it did a great job! I also tried a top line for View from a window, using my Ebow on the old Telecaster - I think it'll work. The rest of the session was spent on detailing, including upping the tempo on the Social Media drum track.

  • The Four Seasons - Part 4: Winter - acoustic guitars
My metronome being recorded for use on Tick-tock - 27.03.14
Ebow & Telecaster on View from a window - 27.03.14
20/03/14 - Week 14: Kevin had been working hard on getting all the various backing vocals in shape and John Oddie had done his guitar parts on Tick-tock and Scrapheap blues. I spent the first half of the session going through the songs with Kevin and making decisions about how close each one was to completion. I then worked on Autumn, the third of the three short instrumentals that make up The Four Seasons.
  • The Four Seasons - Part 3: Autumn - acoustic guitars
14/03/14 - Week 13 Parts 3 & 4: Lisa Jackson joined us and recorded backing vocals on six of the tracks, including some great add-libs on The Man & Scrapheap Blues. Next up was Mark Eason (Eagu), an old friend from the 70's, who I'd asked to do a punk style backing vocal on Social Media.

With a huge personal thanks to Jayne, Dave, Lisa & Mark, I now have a fabulous collection of backing vocals, which bring real life and energy to the album. Next up, I've got to crack on with Autumn & Winter and add a few extra guitar parts to finish my recording work. John Oddie is playing lead & slide guitar on a couple of songs and then it'll be time to get stuck into the mixing etc!

Mark Eason doing the punkesk backing vocals on Social Media - 14.03.14
13/03/14 - Week 13 Parts 1 & 2: With the album rushing towards completion, I'd booked two days in the studio. First up, it was just Kevin and me working on the component parts for the Four Seasons instrumental. I'd given it (yet) another rethink and had finally settled on the idea of making it four separate pieces of music spread throughout the album. I'd also decided to edit them down to just two minutes each. The first session was spent getting Spring & Summer into shape.

We were then joined by 'Banjo Dave' Moore who'd very generously agreed to do some backing vocals on the album and try out a bit of banjo on a couple of songs.

Lisa Jackson laying down some wonderful backing vocals - 14.03.14
Week 13: A busy couple of days in the studio

Kevin Jones hard at work driving the desk - 13.03.14

Wah wah for Winter
Banjo Dave Moore switches from backing vocals to banjo - 13.03.14
06/03/14 - Week 12 Part 2: I decided to shorten the Four Seasons instrumental and was therefore in need of a final new song to complete the album. I'd watched a bit of TV on Johnny Cash recently and felt inspired to write a song that he could have sung. 'The Man' is about the juxtaposition between faith and schizophrenia.

  • The Man - acoustic guitar & vocals + piano & bass
03/03/14 - Week 12 Part 1: Jayne Ingles was in the studio with me and recorded some beautiful backing vocals.

  • Ghosts - backing vocals
  • Tick-tock - backing vocals
  • View from a window - backing vocals
  • Leaf - backing vocals
  • Scrapheap blues - backing vocals
Jayne recording some beautiful backing vocals
27/02/14 - Week 11: The new album is really taking shape and it's time to get my guest players to sprinkle some of their magic on the recordings. Rupert Cobb has recorded an amazing trumpet part to go on the album opener, Ghosts. Kevin has been working on Spring, the opening sector of my 12-minute instrumental (Four Seasons). Today, we recorded the two main acoustic guitar parts that make up the Summer section - next up, Autumn & Winter! Helga joined us later in the session to play some beautiful flute on Leaf and Spring.

  • Four Seasons - Summer - acoustic guitars
  • Leaf - flute
  • Four Seasons - Spring - flute
Helga recording some great flute on Leaf and the Spring section of Four Seasons
20/02/14 - Week 10: I needed one more song to complete the album and had been working on a simple guitar, vocal idea over the last couple of days. We recorded a single picked guitar part and the vocal. I now need to decide if we should leave it as a stripped back song, or add some subtle extra instrumentation.

  • Tomorrow's children - acoustic guitar & vocals
13/02/14 - Week 9: We started the session with the main vocal for Scrapheap blues - that (probably) completes my vocal parts for the album. I haven't used my red Shadow guitar on a recording this century, so it was a nostalgic feeling to play it again, despite the less than pristine strings - they were new last July! I put down a couple of parts on both View from a window and Social media. Social media is a throwback to my early rock days and a long way from my normal acoustic guitar based compositions - it's easy to forget how much fun playing an electric guitar can be - good session.

  • Scrapheap blues - vocal
  • View from a window - electric guitar
  • Social media - electric guitar
The red Shadow - used on Red Delta 3 - Photo shoot with Simon Smith in 1994
07/02/14 - I'd used my new GoPro Hero 2 helmet camera to shot some footage from my bike for use in a You Tube video for the song Sanity. I also shot some night footage on foot and then edited it all up to create the finished video.

Next up, it's my second project with marionette maker Tony Sinnett. We were intending to make a film for the Stories to be told title song, but are now looking at doing a couple of films that'll featuring songs off the new album, View from a window.

06/02/14 - Week 8: Used the bulk of the session to record the final song for the album. All seven songs are now down and at various levels of completion, which just leaves the closing track (a 12 minute instrumental) to finish writing and recording. I am now arranging for various guest players to do there bit and hopefully, each will add a bit of sparkle and magic.

  • I like to be sad - acoustic guitars, vocal & drums
GoPro Hero 2 helmet camera used to shoot footage for my Sanity video
30/01/14 - Week 7: With six new songs already started and at different levels of completion, I decided to use this session to try some ideas out for my extended instrumental, Four seasons. I'd worked out the main musical themes and ideas for the opening three minute section (Spring). We recorded the Martin playing the various parts and then started cutting and pasting them to create the track. This process is a bit different and more experimental than traditional song recording - by the end of the session we had the basic track down. Plenty of work still to be done, but, I like it and think it'll work. For me, the album is now really taking shape and heading in the right direction. Next up, I'll need to sort 'Summer' and this despite the relentless rain outside my window!

  • Four seasons - main acoustic guitar - started piano & bass
Working on the Spring section of Four Seasons - 30.01.14
23/01/14 - Week 6: Started Scrapheap blues. Used the rest of the session to work on Social media and do the acoustic guitar part on Ghosts. Six songs underway and I have a seventh on the drawing board - the album will close with an extended instrumental called 'Four seasons' which I've started work on and is a really exciting challenge.

  • Scrapheap blues - acoustic guitar, guide vocal & drums
  • Social media - lead vocal, acoustic guitar and real bass
  • Ghosts - two acoustic guitar parts

16/01/14 - Week 5: Started View from a window. Used the full session to get two guitar tracks with the Martin and a vocal. Five new songs now well under construction, that's half an album.

  • View from a window - two acoustic guitar parts, vocal & drums
09/01/14 - Week 4: Started Social media and then focused on getting guitar and vocals down on Tick-tock. Four new songs now started - need to write some more and/or maybe revisit some of my older songs.

  • Social media - guide guitar, vocal & drums
  • Tick-tock - lead vocals and two acoustic guitar parts

03/01/14 - I completed and put up on You Tube the video for Wrong place wrong time. I'd spent a lot of time sourcing and carefully editing original archive footage from the First World War to accompany this song. It's a truly brutal subject and my choice of film is intended to remind us of the lost generation and the utter insanity of it all.

I have two more films to make for songs off my album Stories to be told. Next up it's a film to represent the song Sanity - I'm looking at using my GoPro Hero 2 helmet camera to shoot footage for the video. Then it'll be my second project with marionette maker, Tony Sinnett. Tony is currently building a puppet to play my miniature Telecaster on a film based on the album title song. I'm really looking forward to pushing the boundaries and exploring ideas in the making of this film.

02/01/14 - Week 3: Focused the bulk of the session doing the lead vocals on Leaf and Ghosts. (I think) I'm pleased with the finished results. We also looked at the songs in general and explored some of the production, style and sound options.

  • Leaf - lead vocals
  • Ghosts - lead vocals
Two Telecasters - they will both feature in the video for Stories to be told

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