2015 Round-Up

    Playing Live

  • I did 115 live performances in 2015
  • 07/04/15: Started the Sussex Songwriters group with Lisa Jackson
Eight videos made for You Tube

27/12/15 - You Tube - Four-Song Medley: I used various ideas and bits of film footage shot during the year. It features extracts from four of the songs off my album, The Last Song: Diary, The Last Song, Music of the Road & On Paper Wings. It is the seventh video featuring songs from the album.

21/12/15 - Day 11 recording - Standing Room Only: The final studio session of 2016 and we imported various electric guitar parts from John (in France) for 'Road Song' - and spent time editing and deciding on which ones to use. I'd been working on my ideas for 'Shining Knight' and we completed the structure of the song and I did a guide vocal. I'm thinking about making the song just voices with some percussion and I want to try a Gregorian chant thing with layered vocals!
  • Road Song - electric guitars & bass
  • Shining Knight - guitar & new vocal

18/12/15 - You Tube - On Paper Wings: We'd shot this footage earlier in the year. It is the sixth video featuring songs from my album, The Last Song. The published film looks very (too) dark on my iPad - it's fine on my PC. YT clearly effected (compressed) it when it was uploaded. Nothing I can do about it now, so I'll just leave it as it is - mysterious!

14/12/15 - Day 10 recording - Standing Room Only: I'd been working on another new song (Shining Knight) and decided to add it to the new album. The lyric is not complete, so we just recorded the basic track and I can now use it as a guide to help me sort the final lyric. I also did some detail work on 'Zero Fahrenheit'.
  • Zero Fahrenheit - lead guitar & detail
  • Shining Knight - guitar & guide vocal

13/12/15 - Standing Room Only: Jayne, Lisa and Dave came over to my place to work on the backing vocal ideas for the new album. We went through each song and hopefully, after another session we will look at booking some studio time. I've got three great and contrasting singers and am excited about what colours they will bring to each song.

09/12/15 - Sussex Songwriters: Lisa and I have been running the Sussex Songwriters group for nine months now. During this time it has been supported by a small band of regulars, along with various other people who have dipped their toe in the water of: 'This is me and this is my song'. I really enjoy the evenings, as they are very relaxed and we mix up playing with plenty of chat about each other's songs and there's always a healthy debate about songwriting in general - like all topics of discussion, there is plenty of opinion and contrasting views.

Each month I've set a subject for a song and have been hugely impressed with the material people have been writing. It's very rewarding to go round the room and listen to each new composition based on a specific brief. The general feedback is people have enjoyed the challenge and the pressure to write on a given subject and in a limited time frame. With the new year just around the corner, the brief for next month is a song about 'New beginnings'. Why not give it a go and join us on Wednesday 13/01/16 at the May Garland in Horam.

I'm also thinking about the future direction of the group and my ongoing ambition to promote original material. We can continue as we are and hopefully pick up some more regulars and/or we can look at other ideas, including playing our songs to an audience. Next stop: find an audience who don't want to just sing along to well-known tunes and watch guitar players move their fingers very fast up and down their fretboards. Happy New Year x

07/12/15 - Day 9 recording - Standing Room Only: Two new songs ready for the studio, that's ten up and running, leaving just one song (Life Sentence Part 2) to be written. I'd met up with Jayne and Lisa the previous day to start work on the backing vocals and will hopefully be getting together with Dave very soon, who is a key part of the BV team.
  • The Question - guitar, bass & guide vocal
  • Toast for one - guitar, bass & guide vocal

30/11/15 - Day 8 recording - Standing Room Only:

It was time to focus on the lead vocals and getting the songs ready for BVs.

  • King of the flies - new vocal
  • Standing room only - new vocal
  • Life Sentence Part 1 - new vocal

24/11/15 - Day 7 recording - Standing Room Only: Keeping this one purely acoustic
  • Zero Fahrenheit - guitar, guide vocal and bass

23/11/15 - Day 6 recording - Standing Room Only: Time to 'Dream'

  • Dream - guitar and guide vocal

21/11/15 - Day 5 recording - Standing Room Only: After a five-week break, it was great to get back in the studio. John Cratchley had been busy laying down some atmospheric electric guitar parts in his basement studio somewhere in the middle of France. We imported his tracks and spent the session working with them.

  • It's only my time - electric guitars & fretless bass
  • Standing room only - electric guitars

18/11/15 - Sussex Songwriters: It was our quietest session yet, but the big plus with small numbers is everyone gets a healthy chance to spotlight their songs, their thought process and ideas about the art, or is that the craft of songwriting. We all had a 'dream' song - I'd only finished writing mine earlier in the day and I enjoyed everyone else's interpretation of the subject - it's very rewarding hearing the new songs each month. We don't all agree on the recipe for a good song and that makes for a healthy exchange of ideas and an interesting and enjoyable evening. We will be back at the May Garland next month on Wednesday 9/12. Please feel free to join us and bring us a new song.

October - November catch-up: After my last session in the studio, I've been focusing on writing new material and road testing the songs by playing them live at various open mic nights. I'm back in the studio on Saturday 21/11 and I've got two new songs ready to record. My friend John, has been hard at work in his French basement studio recording some great atmospheric guitar tracks and through the magic of IT he can send them straight to the studio. I'm really looking forward to adding his parts to each song.


17/10/15 - Day 4 recording - Standing Room Only: I'd been working on 'Life Sentence Part '1 for quite a while, it's a true story and I'd been struggling with the lyric and the concept of what I wanted it too say. We used the rest of the session to get the existing tracks ready for extra instrumentation. I am getting my old friend John Cratchley to do some guitar, which involves sending him a brief and files via Dropbox to his home studio in the middle of France.
  • Life Sentence Part 1 - guitar and guide vocal

14/10/15 - Sussex Songwriters: With three of the usual suspects unable to make it due to some lurgy and or other commitments, I was worried we might be a little light on the ground - but, six of us had a great evening of playing, listening and discussing each song and song writing in general. I really like the evenings and am very impressed with the effort and quality of the material that people are producing each month and the fact that they are enjoying the challenge and developing as songwriters. One day, covers will be dead and everyone will play their own songs - Ok, maybe that's just a dream!

With this month's theme being 'Story' songs, I'd been working on mine for quite a while and gave it a first outing. For me it's something different, as it's my interpretation of a true story and I use the main character's actual words in the second half of the song - this is tough to do, because you can't edit them or make them rhyme etc. The song is called 'Life Sentence Part 1' and yes, I will do a 'Part 2' to complete the story. I'm in the studio with Bob Melrose on Saturday and will start recording it - in my head it's finished, but there's a lot of work and studio time to reach the point of having a finished recording.

Lisa and I will be back at the May Garland next month on Wednesday 18/11 (TBC). The mission should you accept it, is to write a song about 'Dreams' or a song for 'Eurovision'. Now, there's a challenge, why not give it a go and join us.


13/10/15 - Day 3 recording - Standing Room Only: A great session, with Ben Armstrong putting down the drums on the first five songs. See Facebook for some more words and photos.
  • Standing room only - drums
  • It's only my time - drums
  • King of the flies - drums
  • Road song - drums
  • Mr Songwriter - drums

10/10/15 - Day 2 recording - Standing Room Only: Three more songs sketched out and next up we'll be getting the drummer in.
  • King of the flies - guitar and guide vocal
  • Road song - guitar and guide vocal
  • Mr Songwriter - guitar and guide vocal

04/10/15 - Playing Live: I've completed my mission to do a live performance during 2015 of every song I've written & recorded - I've now played all 71. Falling from glory (click for the original studio recording from 1989) was the final song, which I performed at the Elephant and Castle in Lewes.


03/10/15 - Day 1 recording - Standing Room Only: I'm very excited to be back in the studio and working with Bob Melrose on my next album. It's been a while since I finished 'The Last Song' and I've kept busy with the live stuff and writing new material. I've got six songs ready to go and a further four partly finished. I'm keen to get some of my friends on the album and the plan is for everything to be played (no programming). It's going to be a return to guitar, bass & drums, plus some sweet BV work.

  • Standing room only - guitar and guide vocal
  • It's only my time - guitar and guide vocal

01/10/15 - A bit of Archive work - Live Evil: Having intended to do it for many years, I finally linked an old audio cassette player to the PC and transferred some recordings from 1976 & 77 into the digital world. I was amazed the cassettes still worked ok! There is a total of 14 cassettes to work through and eventually I'll put together a compilation CD featuring the best of the material.

I took a recording of an early band composition, 'Lost my mind' and added some photos and slides, that told the tale and have put it up on You Tube.


21/09/15 - Playing Live: My mission to do a live performance during 2015 of every song I've written & recorded is getting close to completion. I've currently played 68 different songs and have three to go. They are: A face from the past, Falling from glory (I do love this song, but its very odd!) & Haunted by the night, which is the only song that's not 100% mine, as it features words written by Mark Healy - I used his words and wrote the music & melody. It was great working with a lyric that would never come from me.

09/09/15 - Sussex Songwriters: Thanks to everyone for turning out and for putting yourselves on the line with songs about 'music'. It's great to hear what people are doing and I can appreciate the amount of midnight oil that is being burnt to get the songs completed. I really enjoy hearing all the different styles and approaches to both the lyric and the music. Lisa and I are currently working on ideas about how to get our songwriters in front of a live audience.

We will be back at the May Garland next month on Wednesday 14/10. The latest song challenge is to write a song that tells a story. I've started work on mine, it's called 'Life Sentence Part 1' and yes, there will be a 'Part 2'. Please feel free to join us - it is a relaxed evening and all about mutual support as we go in search of our next song.


12/08/15 - Sussex Songwriters: A great night of original songs - Thanks to Tony, Keith, Stephen, Chris L, Milly, Jayne & Glyn for sharing their songs. My co-host, Lisa, was away on her summer vacation and I'd set a bit of homework at the previous meeting (see below). Everyone had risen to the challenge and each delivered their song on the subject with a mixture of humour, autobiography and lurid detail - Superb all round.

Lisa and I will be back at the May Garland next month on Wednesday 9/09. I've set another song writing challenge and have deliberately made it a very large pallet. Write a song about 'music'. See you next month and I'm looking forward to hearing your new song on the subject.


04/08/15: I'd ridden the Lewes Wanderers Hill Climb on Monday 3/08 and had shot some footage from my bike and of the other riders with my GoPro camera. I edited up the footage and used my song Mendacious Cowboy (from the album The Last Song) as the backing track. Click to view the finished film on YT.

08/07/15 - Sussex Songwriters: Another relaxed and successful meeting - The advantage of a small group is we all get a chance to play a few of our songs and have time for some proper feedback. I've set a challenge to write an original song for next month's meeting based on Jim Steinman's (writer of Bat out of Hell) quote: "I wanted to write the ultimate car crash song, I wanted to write the ultimate car sex song. Those are two important mythic icons of rock and roll." Back in 1991 I took the challenge and wrote Little Red Car.


10/06/15 - Sussex Songwriters: The third meeting was a quiet affair (numbers wise), but it was an enjoyable evening. Everyone had a chance to play several songs and there was plenty of time for feedback and chat about songwriting in general. Lisa and I will continue to develop the evenings and I'm still very keen on setting up and running a regular songwriter's showcase night.

I played my latest song, 'King of the flies' and also revisited two older songs, 'Remember' and 'All of the time'.


2015 Playing Live: I've been focusing on trying to perform a live version of every song that I have written and recorded. Its going well and as I revisit each song they bring back specific memories. Like a child, every song is special and it's a great journey. I played Remember at the Underground Theatre on 14/05/15 and for numerous reasons this is a very important and significant song for me.

11/05/15 - You Tube: I edited up some footage and posted up a video for Music of the Road.

06/05/15 - Sussex Songwriters: For the second meeting of the Sussex Songwriters we'd got a room at the May Garland Inn in Horam. This is a good space and Lisa and I are hoping to develop the evenings over the coming months, including running the first live performance nights featuring local songwriters.


07/04/15 - Sussex Songwriters: Lisa Jackson and I have been talking about running a songwriters evening for a while and we'd been sounding out people who could be interested and searching for a suitable venue. Much of the local open mic scene is about covers and jamming and we're both passionate about writing our own material and finding likeminded people and an audience for original songs. We held our first get-together at my place and each person played a song, or something they were working on. This was followed by a group chat (feedback session). A great first night, very relaxed and everyone said they enjoyed it and found it productive. I played them my new song, Standing Room Only. We have launched a Facebook page (Sussex Songwriters) for the project and will be looking at venue options and other ideas to help take the project forward.

March - update: I have been working on some new video ideas for a four-song medley from The Last Song album and I've also been playing plenty of local Open mic nights.

12/02/15 - You Tube: Tony has finished his wonderful film for Bicksie Bear and I posted it up on YT.

03/02/15 - You Tube: I finished editing and posted up the video for The Man.

29/01/15 - You Tube: Tony Sinnett came over and we spent the day shooting film for a video to go with my song, Bicksie Bear. Tony is going to do some more filming back at his place, before editing up the finished film.

Tony took this pic for use with the film titles
Two of the featured characters
Tony frames the shot
Fiddle player
It's time to light the fire
Bicksie Bear and the Wooden Man

13/01/15 - New Album: The Last Song is officially released today and is available on iTunes. I collected a production run of CDs from the printers.

11/01/15 - You Tube: I finished and posted up the video for Funked up Country.

07/01/15 - New Website: I have been building a new website over the last few weeks, with a new domain name (www.cjmartin.info) - it was launched today and will tested over the next few days.

06/01/15 - Video for You Tube: I am focusing on getting a video finished for the song, Funked up Country and getting it up on You Tube as a taster, ahead of the official release of the album.

05/01/15 - Album Cover Artwork: Working with the pictures from the photo shoot we took on 30/12/14 - I have produced the artwork for the CD cover. Next up, is to sort a limited run of CDs and get the album up on iTunes.

The Last Song Album Cover

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