End of year update:
During November and December I did 23 live performances and started the search for new songs and the next project.
08/10/16 - Dream video posted up on You Tube:
I built three different sound stages out of Lego to help tell the story of 'Dream'. It was a complex piece of work and a tough song to make a video for.
July, August & September - Update:
I took a bit of time out and had a great holiday in Italy. I have been working on a complex video, using Lego for the song 'Dream' and will be posting it up in early October. I have done plenty of live work and am now working on some new songs.
06/06/16 - Standing Room Only is officially released today on iTunes & CD
17-31/05/16 - Update:
I finished the artwork for the CD and produced a Booklet to go on iTunes that includes a full set of lyrics. I collected 100 copies on CD. The album will be officially released on iTunes on 6/06/16.
I've been working on the videos - 17/05/16: Zero Fahrenheit - 24/05/16: The Question - 30/05/16: It's only my time - 2/06/16: Toast for one
14, 15 & 16/05/16 - Standing Room Only:
I spent the first two days in the studio with Rupert and Andrea finishing the fine detail mixing of each song. Rupert then mastered the album and sent it over. It's now full steam ahead finalising all the artwork and sorting the release on iTunes and CD. I will be putting the first video up on Tuesday 17/05/16, featuring the song Zero Fahrenheit.
06/05/15 - Update:
I have been liaising with Rupert over the mixing and we have been looking at what extra instrumentation might be needed to help finish the album. I'm determined to get the finished recordings to sound as good as possible and attention to detail at this stage is a vital part of that process.
30/04/16 - Update:
When my friend Simon Farmer (Gus Guitars) did the video shoot with me for 'Zero Fahrenheit' on 11/04, he'd just supplied a wonderful purple and gold guitar (which I have played) to Prince and we had a long chat about what this could mean for his business. With Prince's untimely death on 21/04, Simon has been bombarded with media work - he was even on the ITV News at Ten. In a slightly perverse way, Prince's tragic death has given Simon's guitar making business a huge boost in public awareness and this hopefully will help keep his order books filled for some time. In a world of lookalike guitars, dominated by the classic Fender and Gibson shapes, they really are very unique and the level of craftsmanship is fantastic. Simon makes everything himself (with the exception of the machine heads), including the pickups.
21/04/16 - Video Shoot:
I've been working on all four videos and have nearly completed the first two ('Zero Fahrenheit' and 'The Question'). I did some filming today for 'Toast for one' at the Ostrich PH in Robertsbridge, I then ate the subject of my film, a Croque-monsieur!
11/04/16 - Album Cover Photo Shoot:
Mark Eason and I headed into an old railway tunnel in Heathfield for the album cover photo shoot and along with the photos, we also shot the film footage for the 'Zero Fahrenheit' video. Some of Mark's shots can be viewed on Facebook.
04/04/16 - Standing Room Only:
Whilst Rupert is doing his thing with the recordings, I've started work on some videos to promote the songs. I want to do something different and after quite a bit of research, decided to make a couple of films using Lego. I've built the stage and sorted the characters and have adopted the role of the white clown.
I'm making two Lego films, featuring the songs, 'The Question' and 'Dream'. I will also feature some Lego work in the video for 'Toast for one'. There will be no Lego in the film for 'Zero Fahrenheit', but I will be made up as the white clown and will use this look for the album artwork.
23/03/16 - Standing Room Only:
I'd finished the physical recording and now needed to sort the mixing and mastering. With every part having been played live, the mixing was going to be a big job and not something I could scrimp on, as I wanted to get the best out of all the great work done to date. I'd considered various options and decided to approach Rupert Cobb, with whom I'd recorded my last album. We had a meeting and Rupert agreed to mix and master the album. I handed over the files and sent him a detailed brief about each song.
15/03/16 - Day 25 recording - Standing Room Only:
The final recording session with Bob - Dave was in and completed his backing vocal work.
12/03/16 - Day 24 recording - Standing Room Only:
Jayne was in to finish her backing vocals and to redo her lead vocal line on 'Mr Songwriter'. Lisa then joined us to complete her final two BV parts. Bob had done a new lead guitar part on 'Toast'.
- King of the flies - Jayne new BV
- Mr Songwriter - Jayne new lead vocal & Lisa BV
- Dream - Jayne & Lisa BV
- The question - Jayne BV
- Toast for one - Jayne BV & new lead guitar
01/03/16 - Day 23 recording - Standing Room Only:
Two-hour session to redo my lead vocal on 'Part 1' and do some work on 'Toast'. I also visited the studio on 3/03/16 with a new Flash Drive to do some file housekeeping and backups.
- Life Sentence Part 1 - Lead vocal & import electric guitars
- Toast for one - electric guitars
28/02/16 - Day 22 recording - Standing Room Only:
John Oddie was in to do a Dobro lead guitar part on 'Xeroxed armies'. After John had finished, Bob and I spent most of the rest of the session working on the song. We also imported French John's multiple guitar parts for 'The Question'.
- Xeroxed armies - Dobro & bass guitar
- The question - electric guitars
25/02/16 - Day 21 recording - Standing Room Only:
We'd had a few technical issues with sound quality on Dave's previous BV session. So Bob had got him back in to redo them. We had a great session, with Dave doing nine backing vocal parts and that just leaves three more songs for him to sing on. The BV parts are really filling out and adding some wonderful colour and beauty to the songs.
- King of the flies - New BV
- It's only my time - New BV
- Zero Fahrenheit - New BV
- Road Song - BV 2
- Standing room only - New BV
- Dream - New BV
- The question - New BV
- Life Sentence Part 1 - New BV
- Toast for one - BV 3
18/02/16 - Day 20 recording - Standing Room Only:
A 10-hour session - Bob and I focused on file housekeeping and getting each song ready for the mixing process. I did four new lead vocals and we went through each song to see what was needed to complete them. French John has a couple of tracks to complete and I have a couple of bits of guitar to do. John Oddie is going to do a Dobro slide part on 'Xeroxed Armies' and there is quite a bit of BV work still to be done by Dave, Jayne and Lisa. It's taking shape nicely and I can see the finish line, though attention to detail at this stage is paramount and that means spending time on everything!
- Road song - Vocal & BV 1
- Dream - Vocal
- Mr Songwriter - Vocal
- Life Sentence Part 2 - Vocal
15/02/16 - Day 19 recording - Standing Room Only:
We've been trying various lead guitar ideas for 'Toast' and they're just not working. Bob added a BV to Lisa's original BV and we restructured the song making it just 2:30 long! Xeroxed Armies: I had one more song I wanted to add to the album and we recorded the basic guitar and vocal part and Bob added a bass. We spent the rest of the session working on the BV structure for Dream.
- Toast for one - BV 2 and song structure
- Xeroxed armies - Guitar, bass & guide vocal
- Dream - BV 2 structure
09/02/16 - Day 18 recording - Standing Room Only:
With all three backing singers having completed their first session, it was time to start evaluating what I've got and what is still needed. I did two new lead vocals and now feel that the first four songs are nearly complete. We have a few small technical issues to sort and then it'll be time to take these songs to the next level of production work. It's a slow and sometimes painful process, but I'm determined to get each song as I want it and I'm very excited about the overall feel and sound of the album.
- Zero Fahrenheit - Vocal & Production work
- King of the flies - Production work
- Standing room only - Production work
- It's only my time - Vocal & Production work
- Toast for one - Production work
I found myself in Sevenoaks with three-hours to kill, so I headed down to Riverhead where I grew up and had a nice meander down reminiscence lane with my GoPro - each shot is a memory. When I got home I edited up the numerous clips and added the quirky, 'Playing with myself (a winter's instrumental)' that featured on my album, Me and my Martin and published it on my music You Tube page. Click to view Riverhead the Movie!
04/02/16 - Standing Room Only:
I've built a new Facebook Page just for the new album - please visit and give it a like. Along with this website it will keep you up to date with progress and developments - plus, I'll be posting more photos there.
04/02/16 - Day 17 recording - Standing Room Only:
Lisa Jackson was the third of my fantastic backing singers to hit the studio - we had a great session working on six different songs. They are now really begining to take shape and the layered voices are sounding wonderful.
- King of the flies - BV 4
- It's only my time - BV 3
- Zero Fahrenheit - BV 3
- Standing room only - BV 3
- The question - BV 2
- Toast for one - BV 1
30/01/16 - Day 16 recording - Standing Room Only:
John has been hard at work in his French Cave and had sent over some great guitar parts for 'Life sentence Part 2' and 'Toast for one'. Bob and I focused on getting the guitar parts right on 'King of the flies', which will be the opening track on the album - Bob also added a BV. We then focused on 'Toast for one', redoing some of the acoustic rhythm guitar. Next up it will be Lisa Jackson to start work on her BVs. The album is building nicely and I'm now trying to get the parts complete for each song. I'm also thinking about the mixing and ideas for videos to promote the songs.
- King of the flies - Extra electric guitar and BV 3
- Toast for one - Extra acoustic guitar parts
27/01/16 - New Song: I wasn't intending to write any more new songs, as I have all the material for the new album and just wanted to focus on getting it recorded. It was a grim day and I wasn't getting on with anything that needed doing, so I locked myself in my study with the heating on and wrote a new song called, 'Xeroxed Armies'. I then tried it out that evening at a local open mic night. I now need to decide if I wish to add it to the new album, which is already over 50-minutes long - decisions, decisions. As a side-bar: I'd never written a song that began with the letter X, so I did a Google search of words starting with X and liked Xerox. I checked that it could be used generically, rather than as a specific product. This is allowed, so I completed the song.
23/01/16 - Day 15 recording - Standing Room Only:
Jayne Ingles was in to start her backing vocals - we had a great session, putting down some lovely parts, which really add to the songs. Jayne is sharing the lead vocal duties on, 'Mr Songwriter'! Next up, it's Lisa Jackson, who will bring more colours to help complete the BV jigsaw.
- King of the flies - BV 2
- It's only my time - BV 2
- Zero Fahrenheit - BV 2
- Standing room only - BV 2
- Mr Songwriter - Lead Vocal
16/01/16 - Day 14 recording - Standing Room Only:
Dave Moore, despite being on the mend from a nasty cough (which is not good for a singer) was in to start the backing vocals. For me, the BVs on this album are going to be a very important part of the big picture sound. Bob & Dave were both coughing profusely between takes, but we got some great stuff recorded. Next up, it's Jayne to build on Dave's tracks and add some sweet female tones to the album.
- King of the flies - BV 1
- It's only my time - BV 1
- Zero Fahrenheit - BV 1
- Standing room only - BV 1
- Dream - BV 1
- The question - BV 1
- Life Sentence Part 1 - BV 1
15/01/16 - Day 13 recording - Standing Room Only: Ben Armstrong was back in the studio to finish off his drum parts. After Bob had sorted a few nasty technical issues with the machinery, it was down to business and Ben knocked out the drum tracks like a real pro. I can't compliment and recommend him enough, a couple of listens and a brief from me and he nails it first take and then does a second version to give us options. The drums are now complete, so we can crack on with the lead vocals, BVs and electric guitar parts.
- Life Sentence Part 1 - drums
- Life Sentence Part 2 - drums
- Toast for one - drums
- The question - drums
- Dream - drums
07/01/16 - Day 12 recording - Standing Room Only: The first session of 2016 and we imported various electric guitar parts from John (in France) for 'King of the flies' & 'Mr Songwriter'- and spent some time editing and deciding on which parts to use. I'd been working on the final song for the album, 'Life Sentence Part 2' and we recorded the basic guitar part and a guide vocal. Next up, it's time to get Ben back in the studio to do the drums on the final six tracks. I'm meeting up with Jayne, Lisa & Dave on Saturday (9/01/16) to work on the BV ideas and then hopefully, I'll be able to get them into the studio to start recording their parts. Lots to do, but I wouldn't have it any other way! x
- King of the flies - electric guitars
- Mr Songwriter - electric guitars
- Life Sentence Part 2 - guitar & guide vocal
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